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Old 24-07-2007, 05:29   #1
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Solar Panel Power Estimation

I have written a spread sheet backed up by a visual basic program that computes the solar power from a user specified rig on board a yacht. The program will compute the power at any latitude, at any time of the day and for any cloud cover. To my knowledge this is the first attempt to do this using any type of engineering sophistication other than a very crude estimate of amps times number of hours in a day. This program computes the azimuth and elevation of the sun, the insolation through the atmosphere, the projection of the insolation onto the solar panels and finally the output current for the user supplied solar panel for either a PWM or MPPT charge controller. Other useful charts include graphs of daily amphrs vs latitude, daily amphrs vs month of the year, daily amphrs for a rig that is perfectly aligned with the sun, daily amphrs for both the PWM and MPPT controllers and finally the total kilowatt hours over an entire year that can be expected. I have also included a unique solar panel mounting scheme for a Bimini that we designed that includes leveling screws and eliminates drilling holes. A special feature allows the user to compare his measurements from a link type monitor directly with the simulation. We used this feature to tune our rig on board the s/v Star and greatly improved its performance.

I would be very interested in comments on the operation of this simulation especially additional features that might be included. To get a copy go to Home
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Old 24-07-2007, 05:48   #2
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Old 24-07-2007, 11:49   #3
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I have a pair of 55 watt panels which sit on the "coach roof" aft of the mast and forward of the dodger. They rarely see no shade. But I do see up to 3.5 amps from them at times in Long Island Sound. They essentially maintain the batts with a trickle charge when we are away and can run the boat under sail.. auto pilot and instruments.

sv shiva
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