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Old 23-06-2016, 12:09   #1
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Solar Panel Mount

Hello.
We're installing 2-230 watt solar panels on our Alberg 30 and are considering options for mounting them. There are some single-pole designs that look really functional in terms of directionality, and are aesthetically pleasing, but really pricey and we wonder if they are strong enough to withstand high winds and heavy seas.
Would appreciate hearing others' opinions, especially anyone with first-hand experience with mounting panels on single poles.
thanks!
Shirley
Ariose Notes | We're a "north-of-49" novice cruising couple sharing our musings about life & learning on our classic Alberg 30 sailboat. Welcome aboard!
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Old 23-06-2016, 18:22   #2
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Re: Solar Panel Mount

I'm adding solar to my Alberg 30 currently. The cleanest install I have planned is one of these along the aft rail...

https://www.amazon.com/Shell-Siemens.../dp/B003DI6FU0

I plan to secure it with magma grill mounts which solves the curved rail issue.

I purchased an mmpt controller big enough to add a flexible panel or two to a dodger when I can afford to add one.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Paul.

P.s. I saw the long thin panel on an A30 aft rail in a youtube video and thought it looked better by a mile than anything else I've seen but I just looked and can't find it :-(
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Old 23-06-2016, 19:02   #3
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Re: Solar Panel Mount

I've opted to mount two semi-flexible panels on our dodger. They are unshaded most of the time, butore importantly the install is clean and unobtrusive.


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Old 24-06-2016, 20:36   #4
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Re: Solar Panel Mount

Just curious what panels you went with - there are so many out there it is hard to decide!
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Old 25-06-2016, 06:58   #5
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Re: Solar Panel Mount

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annieo View Post
Just curious what panels you went with - there are so many out there it is hard to decide!

I went with some low cost Chinese panels from windy nation. The reason for this was

1. This was to be, for me, a proof of concept.

2. The dodger fabric is nearing the end if it's life and I didn't want to add Solbian panels only to need to do the attachments over again.

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These photos don't show the finished product, rather the mockup and handrail relocation.


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Old 25-06-2016, 07:01   #6
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Re: Solar Panel Mount

I'm miles away from my computer at the moment, but if I remember I'll add some photos of the hard panels on the dodgers.


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Old 25-06-2016, 11:50   #7
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Re: Solar Panel Mount

Helpful hearing how others are dealing with their panels.

Pickpaul – great use of bbq mounts! that sure beats the ridiculous prices for custom mounts. Unfortunately, we’re wanting a lot more power (460 watts vs the 55 of your panels) so will need to go with another option.

Sailmonkey – your set up looks like it will work well. Our dodger is also at the end of its life, and is too small for the panels we need … but between you and Pickpaul, you have us thinking about possibly one panel out back and one on dodger? We were a little frightened off the flexible panels, though – have heard stories of their short lifespan. In your case, obviously, that wouldn’t be an issue.

Still wondering if anyone has experience with the single pole mount style for fairly large panels? The ability to tilt in any direction sure sounds appealing in maximizing the exposure to the sun, but again, we're concerned about how thry would stand up to heavy winds/seas.
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Old 25-06-2016, 13:33   #8
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Re: Solar Panel Mount

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Originally Posted by Ariose View Post
Still wondering if anyone has experience with the single pole mount style for fairly large panels? The ability to tilt in any direction sure sounds appealing in maximizing the exposure to the sun, but again, we're concerned about how thry would stand up to heavy winds/seas.
The Alberg30 has a lovely low freeboard and I think you are right to worry about windage. Rail/dodger is my ultimate solution due to asthetics in 2 stages due to cost.

For the power you need, maybe add a towed generator like on jean du sud for long trips?

http://www.cruisingworld.com/gear/green-power-passage

Engine alternator will contribute too while cruising.
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Old 25-06-2016, 14:03   #9
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Re: Solar Panel Mount

Shirley, I did think about using a single pole for my 80w panel but decided the weight and windage in a gale was too much. A 230w panel is likely to weigh in more than my outboard. How about using a pair of poles to spread the load. Probably have to be home made to keep the cost down. This is my solution for now. I am also looking at the spray hood for additional panels as the price comes down.

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Old 29-06-2016, 08:44   #10
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Re: Solar Panel Mount

Pete7, your set-up looks like a good way to keep the panel out of the way but secure.

We have decided against the single pole mount system - mainly because of concerns about it's security with the weight of larger panels, but also price (approx $1000 Cdn x2), and decided a larger frame also gives us some additional tie-on storage space

We also took a hard look at our needs, and decided we're willing to forego constant refrigeration if necessary, so that allows us to reduce our panel requirements to 170 watt x2. We live off grid now and are used to warm beer!

We're working with a local welder to make our own stainless frame. We've designed it with 4 legs, 2 securing to the deck and 2 angles slightly aft, securing to the stern toerail and some with braces to the pushpit. If the cost isn't prohibitive, we'll include a lever system to adjust the panels' angle. We're just finalizing design and getting a quote.

Thanks, all, for your input.
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