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Old 29-07-2010, 09:52   #1
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Solar Panels in Storms

I just got a killer deal on a pair of huge (210W) solar panels, that we're getting ready to mount on the bimini top. I've been thinkin' though...

If good storm prep includes removal of the bimini and dodger canvas, what about those panels?

Do those of you who have bimini mounted panels plan for this? Should I be trying to rig some slick means of fast removal for stowage below? I'm not even sure how/where I'd store panels this size below deck...

Whaddaya think?

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Old 29-07-2010, 10:28   #2
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The bigger they are the more difficult they are to stow .... if you dont stow them in preparation for a storm then be prepared to see them whipped away ...

Decisions decisions ....

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Old 29-07-2010, 10:37   #3
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what size panels and what size boat? You can fasten them quite securely but in a big enough, strong enough, bad enough storm, nothing survives. Unless you plan on courting disaster, and I think you're planning on watching for the proper weather window, you should have no issues. Use stainless rivets, or fasteners and mount very securely to your brackets and bimini top and you'll be fine. I've seen boats with 4-6 BIG panels (48 x 32 in) on their davet assemblies that seemed like a second roof over the rear deck area... in a gale or hurricane sure they'd be comprimized but realistically, in a storm of that magnitude you'd be holed up somewhere safe hopefully.
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Old 29-07-2010, 10:52   #4
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we just put our third 130w solar panel on our bimini top - the first two have not been a problem with winds in the 40k range - but if we were to get a tropical storm or higher we pull them off - no sense taking a chance -
we mounted on 2 3/4" stainless steel bars across the top with 4 clamps on each. the clamps are attached to the panels with 2" or greater wide aluminum bars that are at least 1/4" thick - and the clamps are bolted on the bars and then clamped on the stainless bars -
we ran the bars across to the framing of the bimini then beefed that us quite a bit to handle the extra weight and any potential mvt that may occur underway

if i knew how to include a pic i would
i put them on last year or so i think

chuck patty and svsoulmates
on the hook onancock va
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Old 29-07-2010, 11:36   #5
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When I installed my panels I replaced the bimini frame with a custom frame specifically for the panels with shade and security as an additional benefit. The problem I anticipated was lateral stability in a seaway since the panels do add mass at the top and the sideways motion can be extreme at times. The security is that it is strong enough to hang on to when the boat is really going. There is a point midway up the frame where it can be separated for removal. Search the archives for "show me your arch" I believe was the thread. Dave
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Old 29-07-2010, 12:50   #6

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You might want to rig some type of frames or pockets somewhere below, so you can in fact take the panels down and stow them out of harm's way. A couple of pieces of "L" molding inside the head, or some other place where they are out of the way and unlikely to get anyone or thing thrown against them?
In a major storm or preparing for a hurricane at the dock, you'd be taking down the whole bimini and stowing the whole thing anyway, so it makes sense to prepare some secure storage for the solar panels.
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Old 29-07-2010, 12:56   #7
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cool, thanks guys. it sounds like my instinct to figure a way to remove them was on target - thanks for the confirmation.

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