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Old 11-09-2013, 01:59   #16
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Re: Solar panels et al

I have panels that are adjustable in one axis. It is easy to have them adjusted wrong as the wind and sun changes, but there significant gains if take the time to adjust them.
In summer when there is plenty of power I usually don't adjust them. The main advantage if is if power is marginal in winter.

The gains are greatest when in areas of world with near constant wind direction and with a low sun angle.

For New Zealand my guess with moderate diligence adjusting the panel you will get 20-30% more adjusting them in one axis and 30-50% adjusting them over two axes.
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Old 11-09-2013, 02:11   #17
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Re: Solar panels et al

keep it neat and simple like this
http://atomvoyages.com/gallery/photo...pe=orig&id=238
that panel is 45w, rotate 360 degrees on the pole and up to 45 or so on the panel centreline. Too easy.
Occasionaly when anchored we have our flat mounted panels shaded, so I tie a stern line to the anchor chain to rotate the whole boat so we have full sun on the panels. This can give me an extra 10 amps and some days thats handy, but we have 540w panels. for under 100w this simple setup would be my option.
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Old 11-09-2013, 15:35   #18
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Re: Solar panels et al

Quote:
Originally Posted by gspeak View Post
Here in the tropics of Oz our daytime winds are predominantly onshore south easterlies, then during the night till mid morning we have a land breeze from the west. So while on the pick having the ability to tilt our davit mounted panel over 45 degrees allows us to nearly double our daily Amp hours with very little effort in the morning & afternoon.

Definitely worth the little extra effort when building the frame for the panel.



Nice installation!
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Old 11-09-2013, 15:41   #19
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Re: Solar panels et al

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Perfect is the enemy of good - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I used $10 radio shack TV-VCR cable to run from my SSB antenna tuner to the insulated back stay. Zip ties hold it on at the backstay. If I were to ask on here whether I should do that, I would get a 20 page thread telling me it's stupid for a variety of reasons.

It works fine for what I need and I have bigger fish to fry.
That was a stupid way to do it Rebel........
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Old 11-09-2013, 15:46   #20
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Re: Solar panels et al

Thanks again for all the input.
Interestingly, opinion appears fairly evenly divided between flat mounted and adjustable panels. Since I will build my own mounts I will go with the adjustable version. At least then I will have the option to adjust the panels if I so choose whereas fixed horizontal mounts deny me this choice.
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Old 11-09-2013, 16:05   #21
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Re: Solar panels et al

I wouldn't worry about rotating the panels to follow the sun. You can set the angle quarterly and get most of the sun. I have large flat surfaces where I am going to mount my panels facing straight up, depending on how much the boat rolls at the time. I am hoping that I can compensate lack of angle with more surface. At this time I just have one small 42 watt unit keeping my batteries up while. I'm away. Nothing is energized at this time. When I set up on shore base, then I'll worry about tracking.
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Old 11-09-2013, 17:30   #22
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Re: Solar panels et al

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Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
I wouldn't worry about rotating the panels to follow the sun. You can set the angle quarterly and get most of the sun. I have large flat surfaces where I am going to mount my panels facing straight up, depending on how much the boat rolls at the time. I am hoping that I can compensate lack of angle with more surface.
We followed the same thinking, plus wanting to avoid the complications, the risks and the appearances (the Admiral's perspective) of moving parts. We wanted as near as possible to a fully heavy weather proof set-and-forget install...and we left the near flat panels to do their best with whatever sun angles were available, aided by the sheer efficiency and grunt of the panels themselves . It works great, for us.

Click image for larger version

Name:	Sunpower E20 <a title=solar panel on CatNirvana lo-res (1).jpg Views: 166 Size: 212.0 KB ID: 67085" style="margin: 2px" />
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Old 26-09-2013, 17:51   #23
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Re: Solar panels et al

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to go with adjustable mounts. Most probably they will be mounted flat but I did want the option of adjusting the panels to the sun if so desired.
I have pretty well finished the mounts, and as usual the finished product design was governed by the materials that I had to hand. Attached a couple of photos.
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Old 26-09-2013, 19:02   #24
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Re: Solar panels et al

The following link will allow you to see the improvements in electrical output vs orientation of panel anywhere in world: NREL PVWatts Viewer
But as others have said, site the panels flat and not shaded and move on to more important stuff
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Old 26-09-2013, 19:43   #25
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Re: Solar panels et al

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Perfect is the enemy of good - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I used $10 radio shack TV-VCR cable to run from my SSB antenna tuner to the insulated back stay. Zip ties hold it on at the backstay. If I were to ask on here whether I should do that, I would get a 20 page thread telling me it's stupid for a variety of reasons.

It works fine for what I need and I have bigger fish to fry.

would love to see your SWR levels with 75ohm cable instead of 50ohm. I guess the tunner might take care of some of it... otherwise you are damaging the radio.
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Old 26-09-2013, 22:43   #26
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Re: Solar panels et al

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Originally Posted by chris07732 View Post
The following link will allow you to see the improvements in electrical output vs orientation of panel anywhere in world: NREL PVWatts Viewer
But as others have said, site the panels flat and not shaded and move on to more important stuff
Thinking about it, I don't know that I altogether agree....
The general concensus in this thread is that adjustable panels will result in a 30% increase in output. My panels are matched to my needs plus reserve. Concersely, if mounted flat then I would need 30% more wattage to compensate. Apart from the extra expense (no small consideration for a retired man) they would also be correspondingly bigger and the space required, windage etc would be a concern on a boat under 30foot.
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Old 26-09-2013, 23:02   #27
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I used to move 2 15 watt panels around. Attached to the lifelines or atop the Bimini and adjusted toward the sun.
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Old 27-09-2013, 01:59   #28
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Re: Solar panels et al

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Originally Posted by Chrisc View Post
Thinking about it, I don't know that I altogether agree....
The general concensus in this thread is that adjustable panels will result in a 30% increase in output. My panels are matched to my needs plus reserve. Concersely, if mounted flat then I would need 30% more wattage to compensate. Apart from the extra expense (no small consideration for a retired man) they would also be correspondingly bigger and the space required, windage etc would be a concern on a boat under 30foot.
We agree with chris07732.

We also struggle with the suggestion that there is an automatic 30% increase available with any adjustable installation...or that there is concensus on that suggestion.

We can, however, see a very clear concensus that one should go for as much wattage as possible in the available space(s)...and that lead us to the view that one should install the most efficient panels available. Maximum power per limited footprint is the #1 rule on any vessel. Simple.
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