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Old 10-02-2009, 09:43   #16
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I am considering the 210w panels so I would also like to hear reports.

FYI---there is a 30% tax credit on solar panels for 2009.
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:53   #17
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I just checked with affordablesolar.com for internet pricing. 130's are under $600.

Here's a shot of my power plant of four 130's w/ a BlueSky MPPT controller


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Old 10-02-2009, 10:33   #18
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If you can get sunpower solar panels, those are the most efficient solar panels made. SunPower - Smarter Solar » Products + Services » Residential Solar Panels

Sunpower have a panel efficiency of around 18% and cell efficiency of around 22%, Kyocera has a cell efficiency of around 16% and a panel efficiency of around 14%. So you get about 30% more power. As to the warrenty information, clause K in Kyocera specifically states that it excludes damage due to salt. Sunpower has a similar exclusion if they believe that it was in direct contact with salt water. They both have exclusions for mounting improperly on vehicles or vessels. So obviously, everyone here would of course be only sending back our SHED mounted panels for repair and service after thoroughly flushing them with fresh water. No? BTW, I do know one person whose Kyoceras failed after 5 years, the factory replaced them.
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:33   #19
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In December I installed two 85 watt Kyocera Panels with an Outback controller all from Wholesale Solar as someone previously also reported they had also done.

Size and available mounting space with the decision for the 85's, I have space to add one more which I'll do on my next trip down in April giving me a total of 3. With the two panels I can run my AB Freezer and Refig 18 to 20 hours a day and it will freeze solid along with the typical lights and assorted light weight electronics, my GPS, instruments, fans, radios ( AM/FM and VHF), CD and DVD and chargers for Cell Phones and other portable radios. I have converted about 30% of lights to LED including the Anchor light and will complete the process this year for near total LED and reduce my power need several percent.

I'm adding a SSB and at least one more 4D when I add the 3rd solar panel. I'm still considering adding a Wind Generator since we typically have nice winds at night when the solar panels are off line and almost always when we have clouds with also have higher winds so it appears to be a good alternative.

Panels as large as 130's that I was looking at are just too cumbersome to install and mounting space is tight on a boat my size.

My set up has no ability to tilt the panels which I would have liked to have done. Discussions with fellow cruisers here seem to indicate those that can tilt 15 degrees or so gain about that amount of added effencicy.... IF they take the time to actually do the tilt and if your boat can operate with out boom interference with the panels. I'm on the Bimini and can not effectively tilt much if I had built in the ability.

All in All... I also wish I had added the panels and controller earlier. It should repay in under 2 years. My lose of Ice is almost 0 due to melt since the panels have been installed and no soft or spoiled foods probably will result in a pay back in less than I had calculated base only on engine use.

I'd recommend you go for it as soon as you select your best fit.

good luck!

PS. I'm flying back to the States from the West Indies tomorrow and having to de-ice the freezer. I had two water jugs in the bottom which were allowed to freeze and when I added loose Ice the entire thing froze solid after a day at the slip getting loaded and a day at sea. Never had any melt down even with a couple of consecutive cloudy days and minimal to no use of engines under way or at anchorages. I was also able to make ice when I wanted to but it is simpler to get a bag or block every few weeks since some places here offer free bags when you take a mooring... one at Saba Rock on Virgin Gorda's North Sound also gives 250 gallons of water! We found that going in every couple of weeks and only taking 80 gallons or so and a bag of Ice made life much nicer and cheaper!

Over the past two months I'v been in the Virgins, I've only felt the need to run the engine for battery boost twice, each after consecutive days of low sun light due to fronts moving through. I typically push in a min of 750 amp hours on the two panels in an average day. I have 3 house 4D batteries and a separate Starter battery in my 36 footer in a warm climate
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:52   #20
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Say what???

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. I typically push in a min of 750 amp hours on the two panels in an average day. I have 3 house 4D batteries and a separate Starter battery in my 36 footer in a warm climate
Hmmm, let's see...

750 Amp hours/ day, sun shines usefully say 10hrs/day...
that seems to suggest that you are getting 75 amps average from your two 85 watt panels

That's not bad...

Jim
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Old 10-02-2009, 12:22   #21
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In real world with out the Panels being tilted.... you only get about 4 hours of really prime time 11 to 3 and another 2 or so on each side of good power, even here in the West Indies.

I was initially very disappointed about how little to no power is generated from sun up until 9 or so in the AM and after 5 in the evening.... guess even solar panels need a Sundowner?

The real world is far different than many panel producers claim and many use optimum tracking of sun to boost effective angle for power. If you just looked at noon in most places and tried to use that number for a 8 hour power cycle the numbers would be huge.

I know of two people that spent big bucks on panel installation that allowed tilts of over 20 degrees front and back and side ways... and had really nice results but it got "OLD" after a few days/ weeks and they now "infrequently" change them from the Flat position. Also the larger heaver panels it is more of a problem and the mount hardware has to be heavy duty or it will jam when torqued by a good gust. Ever thought of how difficult it would be to optimally tilt solar cells in an anchorage where you have a 120 degree swing in only a few hours or less? Flat is good.... Flat is easy... Note actually Flat still needs some minimal tilt to allow water and "junk" to drain off or you end up cleaning them every few days!!
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Old 10-02-2009, 14:35   #22
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Reality,

Perhaps I wasn't too clear. I was suggesting that 750 amp-hours per day is not possibly correct for two 85 watt solar panels.

ON the subject of tilting panels... on I-one we had panel mounts with two degrees of freedom in aiming. When the boat was in a fixed position, we found we got around 25-30% more input than with fixed horizontal when we made 3 adjustments a day. Once in the morning, again mid-day and again in mid afternoon. We didn't find this too onerous, considering the gains. On I-two the panels are sadly fixed in the horizontal plane, and especially in higher latitudes where the sun angles are lower we really miss the adjustability.

Cheers

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Gladstone Qld Oz
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Old 10-02-2009, 15:39   #23
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You know what really sucks?

Kyocera KC130TM, 130 Watt Solar Panel
USA Price:
$ 564.00

Australian Price: $1260



Solar Xpress - Kyocera KC130TM d.Blue
Kyocera KC130TM 130 Watt Solar Panel - Home Solar Panels
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Old 10-02-2009, 15:47   #24
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I think these people will get my money

Have chatted with another cruiser down here, and he has had good success with these people.

Kyocera KC130TM 130 Watt Solar Panel with Junction Box

Cheers
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Old 10-02-2009, 18:59   #25
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what theroitical math are you using?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Reality,

Perhaps I wasn't too clear. I was suggesting that 750 amp-hours per day is not possibly correct for two 85 watt solar panels.

ON the subject of tilting panels... on I-one we had panel mounts with two degrees of freedom in aiming. When the boat was in a fixed position, we found we got around 25-30% more input than with fixed horizontal when we made 3 adjustments a day. Once in the morning, again mid-day and again in mid afternoon. We didn't find this too onerous, considering the gains. On I-two the panels are sadly fixed in the horizontal plane, and especially in higher latitudes where the sun angles are lower we really miss the adjustability.

Cheers

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Gladstone Qld Oz

No idea what theoretical math your using but getting 750 out of a MPPT network of two 85 watt panels in a day is more than reasonable.

Most distributors and some manufactures would have you believe you can get 85 watts per hour per panel or a total of 170 watts per hour and for 10 hours that would be 1700 watt hours in a 10 hour day... that would be impossible even with max tracking and 90 degree sun with no shadowing and even using MPPT.

Getting 750 watt hours per day for a network of two 85 watt panels in the tropics is reasonable real world results with MPPT controllers. After all that is well below 50% of what the marketers who claim they are selling a 85 watt panel are attempting to hint at.

Only in the detail do they more clearly state that you can't get 85 watts over a on going hourly basis in most latitudes even on sunny days.

Two 85 watt panels providing an average of 750 amp hours a day input to a battery bank is not only reasonable it is not even on the high end of expectations. Thinking you could get anywhere near 1700 would be.

Use of MPPT controllers help some but not that much.

Why would you think 750 amp hours would for two 85 watt panels over a day in the tropics would be difficult? It is much less than 50% of what the impressions given in marketing materials for non MPPT systems by the fact they are even called 85 watt panels????
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Old 10-02-2009, 19:05   #26
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....
Two 85 watt panels providing an average of 750 amp hours a day input to a battery bank is not only reasonable it is not even on the high end of expectations. Thinking you could get anywhere near 1700 would be.
...
You seem to be getting watts and amps confused. 750 amps at 12.5 volts would be 9,375 watts. Divide by 24 and you'd be getting 390 watts per hour. Unlikely.

Paul L
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Old 10-02-2009, 22:06   #27
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As Paul says, you've got your math mixed up... Two 85 watt panels are going to give you in the neighborhood of 51Ah per day. The Outback 60 won't even give you 750Ah per day if you had 24 hours of sunlight...
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:19   #28
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By means of comparison, I had on a previous boat I had 325 Watts of solar panels which produced around 15-18 amps max solar panels unshaded and simply pointed up. That came out to provide around 110 amp hours of electricity or 1320 watt hours. Usually you refer to amp hours though. My present setup is 700 watts of solar panels which provide around 35 amps maximum for around 5 hours of peake daylight(I could go higher I imagine easily but they top off the batteries usually before the sun reaches high noon) and typically produces around 22amp hours. It's generally in line with the results from my other boat. That's enough for a 130 liter refrigerator, 110 liter freezer. I've got a VHF and radio, lots of LED lights, etc, but really the refrigerator and freezer are the big boys of power consumption and when they kick on they can use 10 amps all by themselves with a cycle rate dependent upon ambient temps. I'd say in tropics it would could be around 50% cycle time. I use a Outback MX 60 MPPT controller, it's a wonderful thing.
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Old 11-02-2009, 20:25   #29
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Thank you!

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Have chatted with another cruiser down here, and he has had good success with these people.

Kyocera KC130TM 130 Watt Solar Panel with Junction Box

Cheers
I ordered 3 of these and a charge controller from these guys today. Great service. Saved $700 over my local supplier. Helps make up some of the extra $1700 I just spent on the watermaker. Thank you for the link!
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Old 11-02-2009, 20:29   #30
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How are the panels mounted?

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I just checked with affordablesolar.com for internet pricing. 130's are under $600.

Here's a shot of my power plant of four 130's w/ a BlueSky MPPT controller


This set up looks great. I plan on mounting panels over a bimini. How exactly are yours attached to the bimini?

Thanks,

Steve
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