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Old 14-07-2019, 19:31   #1
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Solar Panels 32' Sloop

I've been considering what I think are reasonable locations for solar panels and physical sizes (max).


Small dodger
* (x2 - port and starboard side)
* 24"26" + 6"x16" centered on the 26" dimension.
* Flexible, secured with velcro tabs.
------

Stern Bimini Type support
* (x2 - port and starboard side)
* 24-26" x 48-54"
* Flexible, bifacing?,
* Some freedom in sizing.
* Secured to custom sized SS frame with line, no canvas involved.
* Frame angle will be adjustible along centerline of boat.
--------

Companionway slider cover in front of dodger.
* Single or double panel this size
31" x 27" max
* flexible, glued or secured to fibergless slider cover. This panel is cenered under the boom.
---------

Cabin side panels
* x2 - port and starboard
* 9-10" x 30-32", flexible glued or secured to cabin top. Not sure if these will be cost effective.
------

I am hoping to have about 300-350 watts of solar photovoltaic panels and am uncertain how these sizes will work with what is available while determinig the best solar panels to use.

Also I need to work out a good wiring plan and controllers, and the proper fittings to use to go through the deck. Will attach photos tomorrow.
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Old 14-07-2019, 19:51   #2
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop

On my Endeavour 32 I have 2 - 195 watt panels mounted on top of my Bimini via stand off brackets attached to the Bimini frame, with a Victron MPPT controller. This location provides minimum shading and keeps them out of the way from potential damage while sailing. The panels are approx. 32 x 62. They keep all of my systems going with minimal need for running the engine....I spent 3 months cruising in the Bahamas this year with a dead alternator and only had to stay in a marina a few days for shore power top up of the batteries.
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Old 15-07-2019, 06:46   #3
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop

Thanks. That sounds simpler. Do you know what the panels weigh and what manufacture and type?

I was considering a light bimini frame to support only flexible bifacing solar panels with no canvas to save on weight and cost.

The 32" width would extend beyond the transom corner about 10" to port and starboard, and the 62" length would extend beyond the stern about 8".
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Old 15-07-2019, 07:14   #4
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop

The panels I have weigh about 35 pounds each....don’t recall who the manufacturer is but they were on sale from e-marine systems and are similar to the Kyocera 190 watt panels that went out of production a few years ago. Mine do project a few inches beyond the Bimini frame on the sides, but not to the point I have to worry about damaging them when approaching or leaving a fuel dock. At the stern they are protected by the davits.

I attached them to my existing Bimini frame which is made of 1” stainless tubing, braced to the push pit rails. Keeping the fabric in place below the panels helps with rain protection when I am at the helm, and screens the wiring from view. The weight of the fabric is insignificant.

I’m not on the boat currently, but I think I have pictures I can post if that would be helpful.
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Old 15-07-2019, 07:16   #5
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop

We opted for a stainless steel 1" frame and 150w rigid panel on a 31ft yacht. Panel weights 10 kgs and the frame about the same. An upgrade by adding a further 150 panel would be simple enough.

Two years on no problem which sadly I can't say for the expensive EFTE GRP backed flexible panel. Not sure I will go back to flexible. That said we do also have a suitcase folding 110w panel for when we are anchored out. Can't comment on this as its too new at the moment.

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Old 15-07-2019, 07:26   #6
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop

Bigdogandy

That would be wonderful. Very interested. Perhaps some shots of your wiring too through deck etc, though I know the immediate panel wiring is covered.

Also did you use a wiring y connection at the panels or two separate controllers?
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Old 15-07-2019, 07:48   #7
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
Bigdogandy

That would be wonderful. Very interested. Perhaps some shots of your wiring too through deck etc, though I know the immediate panel wiring is covered.

Also did you use a wiring y connection at the panels or two separate controllers?
Just sent PM....cant figure out how to attach photos from phone but can text them to you.
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Old 15-07-2019, 08:24   #8
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop




On my 33ft Westerly I decided to go with davits, and use them primarily as a place to mount solar panels, rather than being for the dinghy. I then had a steel frame built to mount two 250watt panels to.

One of the panels goes into the 'House' bank, which consists of 2 130AH AGM's, via a Victron Solar Controller.
Fridge, laptops, water pumps, phone chargers etc use the House bank, and I have a 1000w inverter for charging power tools, vacuum cleaner, etc.

The other panel feeds the 'Engine' bank, which consists of 2 110AH regular flooded lead acid again via a Victron controller. The engine bank also powers all the instruments, lighting, autopilot etc.

I work from the boat on my laptop all day, so my power requirements may be larger than yours, but I find I have more power than I can use most days, and am now considering adding an induction hotplate to my inventory, to reduce the amount of propane refills.

I like having two entirely separate battery banks, panels and controllers, as it gives some redundancy, and is easier to ensure I always have enough power, without draining one or the other banks past 50%.

I used standard deck gland fittings to pass the cables through the deck, and have added some extra steel tubing for more rigidity and support to the davits arms after I added the second panel.
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Old 15-07-2019, 08:40   #9
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop

I've got 2-24 volt, 100 watt panels wired in series on the rails of my 28'. They charge a 48 volt propulsion bank & the 12 volt house bank. Bought them from AltE in Boxborough, MA. I'd recommend going with a higher voltage panel. When charging the 48 volt bank I'll get 3-4 amps, the house bank I've seen 12 amps. The mppt? controller takes the higher voltage & produces decent amps at 12 volts. I used a Midnight Kid controller so I can pick & chose which bank I want to charge. By using higher voltage panels, you won't need as many.
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Old 15-07-2019, 08:45   #10
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop

To post photos you need to use the advanced mode, not quick reply. I always struggle with this lol
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Old 15-07-2019, 21:41   #11
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop

Quote:
Originally Posted by misfits View Post
I've got 2-24 volt, 100 watt panels wired in series on the rails of my 28'.

I have been interested in rail mounted panels for a little while now. What has been your experience with them on the rails? Have you had salt water damage or crust on the panels? Have you done any raft ups and if so, are they more susceptible to damage?



I had a neighbor in the marina with two large panels port and starboard aft. The boat was an HR around 45 feet and he's been transAt several times. The boat I am putting them on is just doing short coastal sails. I want to experiment before I put stuff on the cruising boat. I was thinking of the rails as I don't have davits. Also, I often fold up the Bimini so the rails, in theory, are the place to mount them.
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Old 16-07-2019, 01:41   #12
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop

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Old 16-07-2019, 06:10   #13
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmyDaveNY View Post
I have been interested in rail mounted panels for a little while now. What has been your experience with them on the rails? Have you had salt water damage or crust on the panels? Have you done any raft ups and if so, are they more susceptible to damage?.
Placing them on the rails has worked out well for me. I used mc4? connectors so the panels can be easily removed if necessary. Don't think you'd want to raft up with the panels on, one good wake they'd get trashed. Salt water damage, nothing noticeable.
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Old 16-07-2019, 06:32   #14
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop

Thanks for the help @misfits - Ive always wondered how to do this!

These are pics of my panels at dry fit stage before I reinstalled the Bimini fabric.
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Old 16-07-2019, 06:38   #15
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Re: Solar Panels 32' Sloop

....and one of the boat with the panels on and the Bimini fabric back in place.

This top of the Bimini location seems to me to be the first place to look at for solar panel installation since it gets them out of harms way and away from shading.
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