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Old 14-04-2016, 19:39   #16
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

Kyocera are 25/25(years and output) and only PV maker that'll replace no questions asked when used on boat.Their PVs' are not as efficient(%19-%20) but the warrenty is what you want.Also,they're alittle more weight.



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Old 14-04-2016, 19:44   #17
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

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Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
You can't series the 50W with the 150W because the 50W has an Imp of 2.7A and 150W has an Imp of 8.38. Putting those in series your whole string will have a maximum current of 2.7A and you've lost 76% of the power output of the 150W panels.

You could parallel them all, the Vmp specs are 18.5 and 17.9, so your MPPT controller would drive the whole lot somewhere around 17.9, and you would lose 0.6Vx2.7A = 1.62W per 50W panel at rated power. Real world it really won't make a difference. Shading will, but that is a separate discussion.
Yup.. Sorry.. I missed that(not thinking) .. I would do 2 150W panels.. Then add a cheapy chinese MPPT controller for a second string (20A contollers are cheap so do a second string up to 20A).. It would be the most cost effective way to get about 500W.
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Old 15-04-2016, 00:46   #18
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

We have a blue sky 3024i and kycera panels -- we have just short of 500w and no issue - we had a 24something blue sky and we exceed the max when we had just 390w and talked to blue sky who said all is ok but don't add another one -- so we went to the 3024i and added a panel
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Old 15-04-2016, 04:18   #19
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

Just for clarification.....the Blue Sky guy told me 400 watt max if using panels whose nominal output was more than 19 volts but 540 watts was OK if I used "normal" 17-19 volt panels.
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Old 15-04-2016, 04:50   #20
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

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Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
We have a blue sky 3024i and kycera panels -- we have just short of 500w and no issue - we had a 24something blue sky and we exceed the max when we had just 390w and talked to blue sky who said all is ok but don't add another one -- so we went to the 3024i and added a panel
What size/voltage are your individual Kyocera panels?

I'd get the Kyocera panels in a heartbeat but the only ones I can find that are less than 39" wide are the 140 or 145 watt ones and that would only give me 290 watts total. The voltage on their bigger panels is higher so according to the Blue Sky tech guy, I'd be limited to 400 watts which would be OK of they made a 190 or 200 watt panel but I don't think they do. They jump all the way up to 250 watts which, x2, exceeds the Blue Sky 400watt limit and they're 39" wide anyway so their inside edge would be in the shadow of my boom.
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Old 15-04-2016, 08:02   #21
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

Lot's of good information shared, thanks Capt Jim for sharing your visit to our store, SALT.
SunPower is our best selling marine panel. There are a few builders, like Steve Dashew of FPB yachts, that incorporate lard SunPower arrays into their deck designs, good engineering details on his Dashew Offshore blog. These panels are currently available in 250watt and 345watt. SALT offers Kyocera and SolarWorld, but once we are able to explain that you are purchasing watt hrs/day/$/sqr ft not just watts/$, many reconsider perceived value. A good example is our Kyocera 245watt ($325, yes, someone out there has them for less I'm sure) measures 65.4"x39" (14.5% efficient), producing an average 88 Ah/day at 12VDC as compared to the SunPower 250watt ($946) measures 61.4"x31.4", producing an average 120Ah/day at 12VDC, at our latitude in the Florida Keys. A 3" hard shadow across a Kyocera panel shuts the panel down, on SunPower you loose 5%. Even with out shadow loss considerations, you are realizing the same amount of production with 40% less surface area. This has a lot of value for those of us with limited real-estate.
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Old 15-04-2016, 18:34   #22
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

Doesn't seem as tho Sunpower is available to most of us, even if we are willing to shell out the big bucks. Not available by shipping. Must be installed by a dealer. No dealer within 270 miles. Unlikely this land based dealer would install on a boat in any event. What is so special about these solar panels that only an authorized dealer can plug them into an outlet?

Frustrating.

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Old 16-04-2016, 00:30   #23
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

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Originally Posted by jtsailjt View Post
What size/voltage are your individual Kyocera panels?

I'd get the Kyocera panels in a heartbeat but the only ones I can find that are less than 39" wide are the 140 or 145 watt ones and that would only give me 290 watts total. The voltage on their bigger panels is higher so according to the Blue Sky tech guy, I'd be limited to 400 watts which would be OK of they made a 190 or 200 watt panel but I don't think they do. They jump all the way up to 250 watts which, x2, exceeds the Blue Sky 400watt limit and they're 39" wide anyway so their inside edge would be in the shadow of my boom.
we started buy the panels a long time ago -- we have 3 135 and just added a 100w panel that is not Kyocera but it was offered to us here in Turkey at a very very very reduced cost and fit on top of our bimini - I would have preferred a bigger one but this one fit so took it
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Old 17-04-2016, 06:01   #24
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

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Originally Posted by PacificRich View Post
Keep looking into the Sunpower panels. They have 345watt panels that are 21.5% efficient and also just came out with 360watt panels that are 22.2% efficient. They are 42" X 62". You could get two 360watt panels and get 720watts. I am trying to add solar to my boat and trying to determine if these panels would make sense. I have attached the link to the PDF spec sheets to this reply and have access to these panels, but they do need to be installed by a licensed Sunpower dealer to get the warranty, but I'm not sure if the non-residential, ocean environment would be covered under this warranty anyway. Maybe one of their commercial panels would be an even better choice??

I'll post more as I get more info.

http://us.sunpower.com/sites/sunpowe...-datasheet.pdf

http://us.sunpower.com/sites/sunpowe...nical-spec.pdf

Scott.Mchugo@sunpowercorp.com

Drop Scott a line for technical stuff and availability stateside.

Note that these panels have passed the highest salt, dust, and chemical (forget the class) resistance tests and have the certs to go with it; he sez these will do just fine on a boat. I don't know whether those documents show that technical depth, but the ones he sent me identify it.

I'm looking at replacing 3 Kyocera (2x 120 + 1x 130, installed later, after one was damaged by my KISS wind generator landing on it after it was ripped from the pole in a storm which resulted, eventually, in our wreck in 2007; we recovered the boat, did the repairs and are still sailing it - I'm in MHH as I type) with two of these; they fit on the arch but extend another 21" beyond the footprint of the K's, and being two, miss the whip antenna in the middle.

I currently (pardon the expression) have a BS 60A controller, and as each of these two is almost the same output as my three together, I'm thinking to wire them in parallel so as to avoid any more potential shading issues (the antenna and the KISS will now have more possible shading impact, as the panels would project forward of the athwart line they both are on), and to limit voltage.

Typical mid-day output on our panels is up to 25A, but I see much more of the 10-15A range. They, along with the KISS, are enough to keep up if it's very sunny and breezy, but those two together are very rare in our experience.

OTOH, at the moment, we're at the KISS sweet spot of 10-20, varying enough that the thermal overload doesn't trip (it would if it were constant 20, unless I cocked the blade with the tether around the pole); normally overnight usage averages ~7A (e.g. 8 hours, down 50-60AH) due to - mostly - our reefer and also some 'ghost loads' such as MMSI panic buttons and the like, of about an amp, but this morning, we'd gained an average of 3A net - so the KISS was averaging about 10A all night.

It's the nearly-always times that we don't have that which drive me to larger panels, as the Honda 2000 is the bane of the admiral's existence, and I don't like either the noise or having to deal with the fuel. In the Bahamas, gasoline is still over 4 bux; a run cycle is about a gallon, and an every-other-day average run results in a net cost of ~60 bux/month, in cheap times, or as much as $80/mo last summer. As we intend cruising until we can't, even $3K will be recovered in less than 5 years, and the peace and quiet and not-to-worry about fueling in remote locations is priceless.

YMMV, of course...
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Old 17-04-2016, 06:38   #25
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuck Sailor View Post
I have the BlueSky 3024I and my manual confirms that with a 12 V system I can take up to 540 Watts of solar panels that are 18 V nominal voltage. BlueSky also confirmed that fact as well.

So I purchased three 150 Watt panels from China direct.
I had had four 100 Watt Siemens panels on the system prior to that and it worked very well with my 790 AH battery pack consisting of four L16 size AGM batteries at 6 volts 395 AH each. One of the panels was destroyed by my destructing KISS generator and I sold the other three off for 300 dollars and covered more than half of the cost of the three new panels including air freight to Southeast Asia.

I now have 500 AH LiFePo4 battery. The AGM batteries were damaged as well somehow in the wind generator failure and I needed to replace them about a year later.

The 3024I doesn't work well with it, so I have replaced it with a different MPPT SCC from China (where most of the others are made as well). It is designed for solar charge controlling with LiFePo4 batteries. I haven't installed it yet but will in May when I am back on board. So I will be disposing of the BlueSky unit and it two remotes including a ProRemote for controlling it.

There is no problem purchasing the correct voltage solar panels and if you interested, private message me I can give you the information you need to have them shipped to you.
Couple things...

What happened to the KISS (what was the failure mode)? Just curious, as I had one installed by the now-maker/then-distributor which flew off in a gale (and bounced on the center-of-3 panels, breaking it, on the way overboard); he replaced it as he said, "It should not have done that." Years later I had one fly off (hitting nothing breakable, but breaking both the blades and the housing as discovered as I fished it off the bottom of MHH's harbour, thanks to my having been up at the time and hitting the MOB on our plotter, shortening my search for it later.

Sorry for the thread drift, but two comments about that experience:

I concluded that it was my fault, by overtightening the PVC fitting at the bottom, unreasonably stressing the bottom of the mount, allowing it to split under severe pressure. I solved that by measuring the depth of the threads inside with a micrometer (or any stick would do), and marked my male portion. I quit turning it in at that level when I reinstall, and have been through some 60 knot blows without incident. So, a heads up for those doing installation or reinstallation; the goop you use (to keep it from unwinding - any caulk will do) will act as a lubricant and it's easy to overtighten. You'll reach your marks by hand easily (or at least I have; your strength may vary); don't let them disappear into the housing!

Second is that these are entirely user serviceable and nearly bulletproof. After retrieval, I rinsed the rotor and stator in fresh water, sprayed liberally with Corrosion Block, metered to verify that all was still well (0.6 ohms on the old ones, 0.4 ohms on the new ones that svhotwire is making due to machine vs hand winding yielding less resistance), ordered a new housing and blades, lubed the bearings, replaced the seal, put it together and went sailing. I've also had occasion to replace the seal at the nose and the bearings, and lubricate the bearings; both parts are garden variety automotive parts and self-serviceable. With all the abuses it's had, I also replaced the magnets on the rotor a couple of years ago.

The new ones have several improvements; I've ordered a set of the new blades but not yet installed them; the housing now has heat dissipation material incorporated, and the thermal overload breakers are now therefore a much higher value, which allows it to produce up to 50A. I have not bought a new one, but knowing the now-maker (he bought out the original maker shortly before he died), I'm confident that these are substantially better than the originals...

Back on track, WRT SunPower, see my moment-ago post, likely just above this one...

L8R

Skip
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Old 17-04-2016, 09:38   #26
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Garfield View Post
Kyocera are 25/25(years and output) and only PV maker that'll replace no questions asked when used on boat.Their PVs' are not as efficient(%19-%20) but the warrenty is what you want.Also,they're alittle more weight.



All the Best
That's not quite true.

Another member posted that they had installed Sunpower panels themselves and something went wrong with one panel. Sunpower sent a tech out, replaced both panels and had the tech install them at no charge.

So far, I've used Solarworld, Amerisolar, Sanyo, BPsolar and one other brand I can't remember. So far, none of them have failed or degraded enough to notice. I'd love to install Sunpower, but can't get them here in CA.

A lot of times warranties aren't worth the paper they're written on. By the time you remove the panel, ship it back and pay for return shipping, you might as well just buy a new panel. I seriously doubt most mfrs would pay for any of that. I'm in favor of panels that work, much simpler than dealing with a reluctant mfr.
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Old 17-04-2016, 10:08   #27
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
Couple things...

What happened to the KISS (what was the failure mode)? Just curious, as I had one installed by the now-maker/then-distributor which flew off in a gale (and bounced on the center-of-3 panels, breaking it, on the way overboard); he replaced it as he said, "It should not have done that." Years later I had one fly off (hitting nothing breakable, but breaking both the blades and the housing as discovered as I fished it off the bottom of MHH's harbour, thanks to my having been up at the time and hitting the MOB on our plotter, shortening my search for it later.

Sorry for the thread drift, but two comments about that experience:

I concluded that it was my fault, by overtightening the PVC fitting at the bottom, unreasonably stressing the bottom of the mount, allowing it to split under severe pressure. I solved that by measuring the depth of the threads inside with a micrometer (or any stick would do), and marked my male portion. I quit turning it in at that level when I reinstall, and have been through some 60 knot blows without incident. So, a heads up for those doing installation or reinstallation; the goop you use (to keep it from unwinding - any caulk will do) will act as a lubricant and it's easy to overtighten. You'll reach your marks by hand easily (or at least I have; your strength may vary); don't let them disappear into the housing!

Second is that these are entirely user serviceable and nearly bulletproof. After retrieval, I rinsed the rotor and stator in fresh water, sprayed liberally with Corrosion Block, metered to verify that all was still well (0.6 ohms on the old ones, 0.4 ohms on the new ones that svhotwire is making due to machine vs hand winding yielding less resistance), ordered a new housing and blades, lubed the bearings, replaced the seal, put it together and went sailing. I've also had occasion to replace the seal at the nose and the bearings, and lubricate the bearings; both parts are garden variety automotive parts and self-serviceable. With all the abuses it's had, I also replaced the magnets on the rotor a couple of years ago.

The new ones have several improvements; I've ordered a set of the new blades but not yet installed them; the housing now has heat dissipation material incorporated, and the thermal overload breakers are now therefore a much higher value, which allows it to produce up to 50A. I have not bought a new one, but knowing the now-maker (he bought out the original maker shortly before he died), I'm confident that these are substantially better than the originals...

Back on track, WRT SunPower, see my moment-ago post, likely just above this one...

L8R

Skip
Skip,
I appreciate the "thread drift" because I've got a KISS wind gen too and it's always good to learn a little more about anything on my boat!
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Old 18-04-2016, 08:22   #28
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

SALT has sold a few hundred solar panels over the past 20 years, we've only had two claims, both were Kyocera and they replaced them. We don't sell Chinese product but have seen many premature failures that had no warranty recourse to pursue for the customer. SALT is a commercial SunPower dealer but that references our terrestrial applications. As with most major PV manufacturers, they do not recognize marine applications, that's not their market focus. We accept the warranty responsibilities for the marine systems we put in as well as those we ship out for owner installations. SALT finds this to be an acceptable risk, as we have not experienced any failures with Solar World, Sanyo, Mage or SunPower over the past 20 years. Failure risk is extremely low with well made German, Japanese and American panels as long as external electrical connections are water tight.
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Old 18-04-2016, 18:03   #29
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Re: Solar panels with Blue Sky

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Time to replace our bimini mounted solar panels and I'm trying to figure out which ones to buy and where to get them.

We have an existing Blue Sky 3024i MPPT controller and I'd like to keep that. From Blue Sky I learned that the open circuit voltage of our fufure panels must be 45.6 or less and also 400 watts or less, assuming a 12 volt system like our boat has. I'd like to come as close to the 400 watts maximum as possible.

Our bimini is about 80" wide and in order to avoid the worst of potential shading isssues I would like to have 2 panels oriented in parallel along its outer edges so that there is about a 20" area below the boom (when it's centered) where there will be no panel directly beneath it. So, the maximum dimensions of panels I can fit is two panels of approximately 30"X65".

I've looked at what's for sale on the internet and have seen approximately 200watt Sanyo/Panasonic panels that seem like they'd be great, but I noticed that their output is between 40-55 volts (so some are above the 45.6 volt limit) and I can't find any advertised prices.

I've read that Sunpower makes great solar panels but they don't seem to be available in the US at all?

I'd like advice from anyone who has knowledge about these 2 brands or any other brand approx 200 watt panels that you'd recommend that would be appropriate for my bimini top setup, and also where to get them.

If anyone has experience with approximately 44 volt panels wired to a BlueSky 3024i controller, I'd be interested in hearing how it does reducing the voltage for 12 volt system charging or would you recommend sticking with panels that put out the more normal 17 volts so there is less of a voltage reduction required by the controller?

The below is a little off thread but it does describe a 400 watt system. I purchased the panels from httpSun Electronics - Lowest Prices in Solar Panels, Kits, Inverters in Miami they seem to have the cheapest prices for many brands of panels.

I chose to pay a little more per watt and a lot less on shipping and bought 8 @ 50 watt panels and wired them in parallel.
When I set up my system I decided that being ketch rigged the biggest problem I would have is shading.
All of previous comments are correct about higher voltage being a more efficient in terms of transmission loss and that bigger panels are cheaper per watt, but if a series
wired big panel is shaded even a small amount you can lose as much as 70% of output. I also chose to not spend money on a MPPT controller which is only really useful for higher voltages then 12v panels. I paid more in wire costs with a parallel wired system but so far I've not yet failed to meet my daily needs for refrigeration, computers and miscellaneous uses even though shading knocks my output down to 30% of max swinging on a mooring. I'll be adding 2 @ 100 watt 12 volt panels this year to hopefully cover my auto pilot consumption. The other benefit I've seen is that the Tristar controller is able to top up my batteries to a fully charged voltage on a daily basis, some thing neither my wind generator or diesel generator running a Heart inverter\charger will do.
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