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Old 18-03-2013, 17:31   #1
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Solbian Solar Panels

Before I invest in 2 x 100w Solbian flexible panels ready to go with wiring, zipper-in panels, and charge controller....has anyone had experience with Solbian panels? This set up will set me back $3000!
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Old 18-03-2013, 18:08   #2
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgallinger View Post
Before I invest in 2 x 100w Solbian flexible panels ready to go with wiring, zipper-in panels, and charge controller....has anyone had experience with Solbian panels? This set up will set me back $3000!
I've done a number of Solbian installs and sold a bunch of them as well. In the long run they often come out less money than a rigid panel plus all the custom frames, supports etc. required to stiffen a bimini to support an additional 35-70 pound of weight... They are a terrific panel for mounting on a bimini and also stow away invisibly under a berth cushion when you need to strike the canvas.. I prefer a Velcro/Velcro lapel as opposed to a zipper but either work very well.

Keep in mind the 100W panels are the super high output (SHO) panels and thus cost more because you are paying for the cutting edge of solar cell technology.

The 100W Solbian is about the size of most 70-80W rigid panels. The 80W and 125W panels are the standard output and are less money but are larger per sq in of output than the super high output models.

Just to give you an idea the 50W panel in SHO is the same exact physical size as the 40W standard output panel. 10 more watts for a $285.00 difference. If you are limited in real estate then the SHO panels can make sense otherwise buy a CP-125W for $856.00 as opposed to the 100W for $1211.00...

Most all of the panels I've done have been the standard output.
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Old 18-03-2013, 19:57   #3
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Take a look at these:

Aurinco solar start page

I have a couple of 100 watt panels on my amas, and a 120 watt

Solar Cell, Solar Panel, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy, Charge Controller, Solar Trackers

panel on an arch.

Steve
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Old 18-03-2013, 20:09   #4
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

We put a SP100-L unit on our bimmini using zippers. We are very happy with the performance & low weight of the unit.
Go for it.
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Old 18-03-2013, 23:18   #5
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Hi, we are competitors to Solbian so take our response accordingly. But since the previous response you got is from a Solbian installer I think you are entitled to an alternative view. We have also made flexible panels (including using high-power Sunpower cells) but would hesitate to put them on a bimini without a solid support. Crystalline cells do not tolerate repeated bending well. And I think the Solbian people in Europe have made the same observation, at the German boat show in January, all the Solbian panels had a metal backing. So don't take our word for it, the Solbian panels you consider may be fine, but check around with other real users, not just us commercial types!
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Old 19-03-2013, 03:36   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrik View Post
Hi, we are competitors to Solbian so take our response accordingly. But since the previous response you got is from a Solbian installer I think you are entitled to an alternative view. We have also made flexible panels (including using high-power Sunpower cells) but would hesitate to put them on a bimini without a solid support. Crystalline cells do not tolerate repeated bending well. And I think the Solbian people in Europe have made the same observation, at the German boat show in January, all the Solbian panels had a metal backing. So don't take our word for it, the Solbian panels you consider may be fine, but check around with other real users, not just us commercial types!
You're 100% correct.

To be fair to Solbian, they too indicate that mounting on a bimini comes with its own set of recommendations.. I.e. must be tight and with minimal bending and no hard spots (frames) underneath.

The cost, the shorter warranty, and my worry about not being able to meet their mounting recommendations have me going back to a conventional mono panel.

They are nevertheless a fantastic leap forward in marine photo voltaic technology.
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Old 19-03-2013, 06:10   #7
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrik View Post
Hi, we are competitors to Solbian so take our response accordingly. But since the previous response you got is from a Solbian installer I think you are entitled to an alternative view.
Patrik,

I install products from MANY manufacturers from Kyocera, Solarland, Sharp, Uni-Solar, Solbian, Sun Wize, Genasun, Outback, Morningstar, Blue Sky, Rogue and many others..

This is INCLUDING the order I have sitting here in front of me from YOU, Aurinco.....

The original question was specific to Solbian so I answered as such. Like anything they must be installed correctly in order to perform best. When installed properlyon a bimini I can't think of a better option due to their light weight.


Quote:
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We have also made flexible panels (including using high-power Sunpower cells) but would hesitate to put them on a bimini without a solid support.
Your panels use an aluminum backer which makes them slightly heavier and a little less ideal for being direct fabric mounted.

Quote:
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Crystalline cells do not tolerate repeated bending well.
This 100% correct and is why any semi flexible panel needs to be installed properly. On a bimini this would mean between bows on a well fitted & taught bimini that minimizes any "bend"...


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And I think the Solbian people in Europe have made the same observation, at the German boat show in January, all the Solbian panels had a metal backing.
I've not seen any come through that way, as of yet. The most recent delivery from Solbian arrived here in the US last week so the inventory is pretty current. I know Solara uses a SS backer but have yet to see the Solbian's come through that way. Perhaps they will in the future, but that will make them less ideal for a light weight, unobtrusive bimini mount which many customers really love..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrik View Post
So don't take our word for it, the Solbian panels you consider may be fine, but check around with other real users, not just us commercial types!
I am an independent installer and install equipment from lots of companies particularly ones I find to be of good quality, which includes your products. I am a tad different than a manufacturer as I am the guy in the field who has to deal with any quality "issues". When I find a product that does not meet my criteria for durability etc. I simply stop selling or recommending it, a luxury a manufacturer often does not have.

That said there have been a LOT of Solbian panels that have been around the world on Vendée boats, a pretty harsh environment.....
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Old 19-03-2013, 20:45   #8
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Hi Maine Sail, I am sure you do a fantastic job, my comments were not meant as criticism. We have actually made a panels without the aluminum which is as lightweight as the Solbians but we think we will stiffen them up somewhat with a thin carbon fiber plate (still very light although expensive), just for peace of mind. It is good for users to have alternatives, competition forces all of us to make better products. If Microsoft and Intel had managed a get a monopoly we would still sit with very clunky PC's and Windows.
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Old 19-03-2013, 20:46   #9
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrik View Post
Hi Maine Sail, I am sure you do a fantastic job, my comments were not meant as criticism. We have actually made a panels without the aluminum which is as lightweight as the Solbians but we think we will stiffen them up somewhat with a thin carbon fiber plate (still very light although expensive), just for peace of mind. It is good for users to have alternatives, competition forces all of us to make better products. If Microsoft and Intel had managed a get a monopoly we would still sit with very clunky PC's and Windows.
I will be very interested in those panels!!
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Old 19-03-2013, 20:49   #10
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Folks, sorry for the poor grammar in my last posting, I was in a hurry and pressed the Send button too quickly. My native language is Swedish anyway, poor excuse...
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Old 19-03-2013, 21:14   #11
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

I have been following this thread with great interest, as I am considering a couple of flexible panels myself.

What is so special about Solbian panels? They are very expensive. Are not all these flexible panels made in China? What is wrong with these panels sourced direct from China? eBay Australia: Buy new & used fashion, electronics & home d

I dont have a bimini as such on my boat, rather a rigid SS frame with sunbrella stretched taught over it. I am thinking of mounting the panels on this, simply tying them down with 2mm spectra direct to the frame.

Any advice in my early thinking on this most welcome.

Lee
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Old 06-04-2013, 13:51   #12
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

I finally got the cover off the boat last week, mounted the bimini, zipped in the 2 X 125W X 20V Solbian panels and hooked them up to new 4 X 6V 460AH house bank combined with a Gr 27 starting battery. By noon the next day, the batteries were on float at 14.3 volts. @banjoship -- These panels are supposed to be much more efficient than the usual flexible panels. I'll leave it to Mainesail and others to comment on whether others have comparable capabilities. For me, the light weight, easy installation/removal and charging capacity out of sight warranted the price.

I recall reading on another thread that I can't find that new LA batteries should be discharged to 50% a few times in order to function properly. Is this true? If so, what is the reason? I'd never heard that before and Calder doesn't mention it. Now that I actually have a reasonable charging system, they're not likely to discharge that deeply unless I load them up artificially. Before doing that, I'd be interested in understanding what is actually happening.
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:14   #13
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

David,

Can you point me to the place you purchased your Solbian's and who did the install?

Thanks!

Brian.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:28   #14
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

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David,

Can you point me to the place you purchased your Solbian's and who did the install?

Thanks!

Brian.
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I bought the panels from Bruce Schwab -- Solar Power for Marine and Mobile

I keep the boat in Bristol, RI and had the wiring and canvas work done by local guys. Bruce had the zippers added to the panel by someone he works with in Maine before shipping to me. Neil Thurston, at Thurston Canvas in Bristol, just had to sew in the bimini side of the zipper. As I mentioned in another thread, Neil added a sacrificial strip of cloth along the edges of the panels for added protection of the bimini.
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Old 08-11-2013, 07:50   #15
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Solbian panels are made in Italy using Sunpower cells.

Nothing at all like the Chinese ones.
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