Did you install them yourself?
Where'd you purchase them from ?
Yes, we installed them ourselves. It was a bit of work, but worth it in the end. I meant to add a plug for where we bought our panels. I highly recommend Bob Williams at SALTService in Marathon, FL. He's been in the business for many years and really knows the industry. We bought a package from him that included the panels, controller, Air Breeze wind generator and all the wiring, connectors, etc. It was very complete. Bob was very willing to spend time talking about what I needed and putting together a package that worked for us. Good after sales tech support as well. No connection, just a satisfied customer.
Can anyone recommend a good physical connection for panels (or anything else) ? I'd like to be able to remove our panels and put them down below for hurricanes and the such. Chopping the wires and re attaching them is obviously possible but if there's a decent weather-proof plug I'd be interested.
Location: Currently cruising Southern Indonesia, heading for peninsular Malaysia
Boat: Wauquiez 45' (now 48') catamaran
Re: Solar Panels?
Originally Posted by PDA1
...I would like to add solar panels to my boat.
- What would be a good range of PV panel output?
- Where is the typical panel location?
- Which is better in terms on durability, output and longevity?
- Which is a better PV panel manufacturer?
PDA, we address these & several other issues on our Solar Panels page under our Cruising Info section. And welcome to the cruising world!
In the USA, SunPower seems to keep tight control over their products and only sell them through selected installers who have had special training. It appears that their panels are available for land based installations only. In fact, we have exhibitors at boat shows here selling solar for homes, (please don't ask why ...) using SunPower panels, but they will not/cannot sell individual panels for marine installations.
However, there are panels that use SunPower cells available in North America that that are designed and manufactured specifically for the marine market: Solbian semi-flexible panels, and Solara aluminum-framed glass panels. You can see them both here: http://coastalcoolaids.com/solar.html
Regarding installation, a friend of mine has a nifty little install of just a single panel. He mounted the frame to a single ss tube running the length of the panel, right down the middle. The panel can rotate on the tube 180*. Then the tube is mounted to the pushpit rail and it too can rotate on the rail. He can adjust the angle of the panel easily to pretty much any angle of the sun and do so very easily. Added bonus is that it is totally out of the way and takes up no useable real estate, (at least on his boat).
I have seen Kyocera panels are popular with some folks. I've been looking at getting a couple during a refit. My stern is rounded so I was looking at attaching on the stanchions on each side of the boat. the kits I'm looking at getting are at emarineinc.com where they have panels and mounts that I was looking for.
__________________ Daniel - Rhapsody Blog,
“A sailor’s joys are as simple as a child’s.” — Bernard Moitessier
"I don't need therapy, I just need my boat"
SunPower panels are the lightest, smallest and most powerfull. I have been using 2 x 230 watt, 33lbs each 31 inches X 61 inches X 1.8 inch panels for the last five years and you forget what is powering your boat. These panels even pump out power in foggy over cast days.
I live in the Northeast USA and had no problem buying 4 for a friend and myself.
Five of my friends have purchased the SunPower panels with no issues. Do not call a dealer or installer. Call an electrical distributor and they will sell SunPower panels to you tax free in most states.
Sanyo also makes a panel that is pretty good.
Remember with solar panels you want to do it right the first time, so go big or go home.
Last season I purchased 4 panels from Amazon that were sold in pairs. At that time they were advertised at 145 watts each, I think the rating somehow has increased with today's advertising. Anyway, the total cost for these panels delivered was about $670 if my memory is correct. And at that time, they were the least expensive (cost/watt) that I could find.
ON anchor on sunny days I enjoy charging my huge 12 battery bank at 25 amperes. Your boat offers a smaller footprint for panels. If I were in your situation, I would search for panels that gave the highest output rather than searching for the lowest cost/watt.