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Old 27-05-2016, 21:16   #1
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Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

I was listening to a science show and a young woman scientist involved in developing solar panel systems mentioned that the price of solar power/panel efficiency had dropped from around $100/watt to 60c/watt in her brief experience. I'm not really seeing this reflected in the price of solar panels on the retail market - why not?
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Old 28-05-2016, 00:17   #2
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

If you mean price per watt . I just paid 125 for a 100 watt mono panel with a 22% efficiency . Which means $1.25 a watt. If you go for grid tie panels in the 300 watt range then the price per watt goes even lower. However on a boat with those higher wattage panels you will definitely need an mppt controller . Ten years ago the price was more like 5 bucks a watt .
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Old 28-05-2016, 00:31   #3
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

The Solbian panels cost more, and the mounting system ends up costing as much as the panels. But some times you get what you pay for especially when weight and looks are considered. This entire array only weighs around 60-70 pounds and produced 400 watts.
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Old 28-05-2016, 02:14   #4
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

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The Solbian panels cost more, and the mounting system ends up costing as much as the panels. But some times you get what you pay for especially when weight and looks are considered. This entire array only weighs around 60-70 pounds and produced 400 watts.
Ken. Nice looking install
The panel I just got for my 24 fttr weighs 15 pounds and I estimate the mounting gear will weigh about 5 doing a pivot mount on push pit so I can aim it for sun angle better when anchored.
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Old 28-05-2016, 03:52   #5
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

Those are actually mounted on a Lagoon, we're planning to do the same with four 125watt panels mounted in the same way over our dinghy on the Davits.

The fabricator tries to make it look like a stylish wing that belongs or is incorporated into the boat design. Tries to make it disappear.

Our original plan was to mount solbians on top of the Bimini, but we finally rejected that approach due to shading issues. The panels really need to be out where the sun hits them at the correct angle all day long.
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Old 28-05-2016, 05:51   #6
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
The Solbian panels cost more, and the mounting system ends up costing as much as the panels. But some times you get what you pay for especially when weight and looks are considered. This entire array only weighs around 60-70 pounds and produced 400 watts.
They may be light but they don't look any different than a non-Solbian install, except that they are bent a bit. And on a cat's davits you should be able to install at least 720 watts or more. I am not sold on Solbian yet from a cost and efficiency standpoint.
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Old 28-05-2016, 06:09   #7
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

The really big Chinese panels are less than $1 watt but decent marine quality panels are still well over $1. I got some 160 watt Grape solar for $230 each. So what $1.50 a watt.

They are OK looking. Built basically the same as the 20 y/o perfect functioning but smaller Siemens they replaced. I seriously doubt they will last as long. But perhaps in 10-15 years there will be something much better?
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Old 28-05-2016, 06:13   #8
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

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They may be light but they don't look any different than a non-Solbian install, except that they are bent a bit. And on a cat's davits you should be able to install at least 720 watts or more. I am not sold on Solbian yet from a cost and efficiency standpoint.
I never said the Solbian install was cheap, but in most cases cheap doesn't look so nice.

It looks..... Cheap.
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Old 28-05-2016, 08:05   #9
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
I never said the Solbian install was cheap, but in most cases cheap doesn't look so nice.

It looks..... Cheap.
Except when I do the install it looks like they belong
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Old 28-05-2016, 08:37   #10
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

We spend MOST of our time in the back cockpit area when cruising, day thru to night and cherish being able to sit and look out the stern of the boat (our changing "picture window" as we swing, with a largely unhindered view.
We have a 600 watt array on top of our hardtop which has performed great but is subject to shading by the boom/stackpack at times, and I will swing the boom at times to alleviate this but it is a pain! at times...
I realize that everything on our boats is a trade off and I want to add more solar and the davits are a perfect, logical install but I won't put anything on those davits so I am looking at other options for adding more.
That is a great , proper looking install Ken and I would want one similar if I got off my "Davit" thing.

Bob
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Old 28-05-2016, 08:57   #11
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

Good info so far.
I need to replace mine, so will follow this thread to see whats new.
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Old 28-05-2016, 09:05   #12
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

Mmmmm, why bother about the price per watt...what would you pay NOT to have warm beer constantly!
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Old 28-05-2016, 09:08   #13
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

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If you mean price per watt . I just paid 125 for a 100 watt mono panel with a 22% efficiency . Which means $1.25 a watt. If you go for grid tie panels in the 300 watt range then the price per watt goes even lower. However on a boat with those higher wattage panels you will definitely need an mppt controller . Ten years ago the price was more like 5 bucks a watt .
i'v seen 300 watt frameless , Simi flexible 24 V panels on Ebay for $0.30 per watt. there's all kinds of panels these day for average $1.00 Watt. Everyone should run a MPPT controller.
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Old 28-05-2016, 09:12   #14
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

Whatever brand or size panel you eventually get always spend a few more dollars and get the multicrystalline panel over the polycrystalline panels . With mono you get 22% conversion efficiency with poly you get 16%
For renogy 100 watt panels the difference seems to be about 20 USD but I'm also doing almost all my installs on mono hulls so every sq inch counts.
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Old 28-05-2016, 09:18   #15
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Re: Solar Panels - Whats The Latest News?

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i'v seen 300 watt frameless , Simi flexible 24 V panels on Ebay for $0.30 per watt. there's all kinds of panels these day for average $1.00 Watt. Everyone should run a MPPT controller.
I disagree with the mppt needed part there are some situations t additional cost of an mppt controller doesn't make sense . One customer I just did has 200 watts of 12v panels now he had 100 and wanted to go mppt but I installed a bigger pwm controller and an additional 100 watt panel for less than t cost of an mppt controller. Thereby he gained about 5 ah verses about 1 ah additional.he would have gotten with mppt. YMMV
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