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Old 21-04-2018, 00:30   #1
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Solar Panels Advice

Hello everyone,

I'm orientating to buy solar panels to put on the roof of my catamaran.
The available space is 2.5 x 3.5 meters and I like to make maximum use of the space.
I would like to buy the thin flexible ones, preferably with anti-slip surface in case I have to be on the roof.
And would also prefer the panels to be as big as possible to reduce wiring.

I am studying the forum as we speak but so far can't find recommendations on what brand and where to buy.

In my country (Oman) they don't sell anything so whatever I choose I will have to import. If anybody has any advice on which brand type solar panels to buy I would be very happy!!

I planning to install a Lithium battery bank as well, not sure if thats relevant information. I've recently noticed I will need to embark on quite a learning curve when it comes to electrical systems....

Thank you for any help!
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Old 21-04-2018, 00:41   #2
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

Basically you can go in two directions: cheap PET polymer panels from ebay, banggodd, etc - they last for 3-5 years if not flexed all the time, then you bin them and get a new set. Alternatively you can buy high-end units like the lensun ETFE panels for 3x the price, they last longer.
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Old 21-04-2018, 05:53   #3
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

Gtom,
would you consider mounting on a bimini as flexing all the time?
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Old 21-04-2018, 06:09   #4
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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Originally Posted by mwacontent View Post
Gtom,
would you consider mounting on a bimini as flexing all the time?
mwacontent
not the worst but neither the best condition for a panel... For the bimini I'd prefer a rigid setup.
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Old 21-04-2018, 06:16   #5
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

Look up Renogy panels. They’re rigid and I have them and they work great and cost about $1 a watt.
There is tons of info about the short life expectancy of the flex panels, overheating, cracking from flexing etc etc.
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Old 21-04-2018, 06:26   #6
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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Originally Posted by SSgtPitt View Post
Look up Renogy panels. They’re rigid and I have them and they work great and cost about $1 a watt.
There is tons of info about the short life expectancy of the flex panels, overheating, cracking from flexing etc etc.
I second this.. I have rigid Renogy panels and am very happy with them. Had them for over 2 years and they still put out more than thier rated capacity down here in the Caribbean.
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Old 22-04-2018, 11:57   #7
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

Thank you very much for the responses guys.

They will be permanently installed on a fiberglass roof so I would think the flexing should not be an issue.

I very much lean towards the flexible ones as they are of reduced weight and at least appear easier to stand on. But you have me worried about the overheating. Bit funny that this is actually an issue for a solar panel.... It does get quite hot here in the summer so I guess I'll have to research a bit more on that.
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Old 22-04-2018, 12:58   #8
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

I have the cheap flex panels on a bimini and i am getting 2 to 3 years.
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Old 22-04-2018, 13:23   #9
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

I have a pair of cheaper made-in-China flexible panels and am happy. Rated capacity is 240 watts and I regularly see 190 watts during the Caribbean spring. Would expect 220 during the summer. Not the best, but the best is X3 the price. Two years and and will be happy if I get 5 years out of them.

I like the idea of flexible panels on the roof. Low weight and windage, as you said. And easier install.


I don't know where you could pick any up in Omen. I point people to eBay to buy from a US distributer. Don't think that is an option for you. Maybe you could use eBay's US site to reach out to them? If you can't find a contact for these cheaper panels, maybe you'll have to go with brand names that are easier to import. They will be more expensive, but at least you'll get extra quality.
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Old 22-04-2018, 13:43   #10
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

A solar panel is quite like a camel. Even the best of them will be insulted if you walk on them, and eventually they will find a way to tell you that. Buy panels that are small enough so you can walk around them if needed. If the wiring seem complicated to you, hire a pro, or take a weekend to read up on wiring.

There is also no such thing as simply installing lithium batteries. Without a properly matched battery management system, it will be a large and quickly wasted expense. Look for complete systems, not just batteries.
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Old 22-04-2018, 21:11   #11
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Re: Solar Panels Advice

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at least appear easier to stand on.
you can't stand on any of them
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