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Old 10-01-2016, 13:20   #1
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Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

It has been well over 15 years now since sailors have been using solar panels on their sailboats. I am mystified as to why manufacturers are either not building to accommodate solar properly or not building to accommodate solar at all.

This runs true for both mono as well as multihulls. In the mono world you don't have any thought put into offering stylish solar arches let alone not wiring for solar and or Lithium but the lithium battery set up is another issue that should also be being offered.

I'm in the market for with a recent new or new catamaran. Here we are in 2016 and not one cat manufacturer has come up with a solar arch addition. You do have one or two cat manufacturers who are now offering solar. But these geniuses are using low power flex panels and placing them under the boom. Just proving that solar is an afterthought and that they have no real idea what they are doing.

Shading is the biggest enemy of solar. Any type of shading at all over even one panel causes a huge reduction in solar power production. So what do they do. They go ahead and put the panels under booms or the shadow of sails.

Why haven't they come up with stern arches that are built into the design? Why does a manufacturer like Lagoon have their booms on the new 52 and 56 models protruding so far astern that if you want to instal solar panels you would need to have arches well over the dinghy davits. And again why don't they make cockpit coverings or stylish arches for solar that also allow for non shading of the panels?

In my opinion solar is no longer a fringe sport. It is an integral part of sailing and it mystifies me why it is not treated as such by boat manufacturers.

Chaya
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Old 10-01-2016, 14:00   #2
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

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Originally Posted by Going Walkabout View Post
...I am mystified as to why manufacturers are either not building to accommodate solar properly or not building to accommodate solar at all...
They are not doing it is because:

a) The technology is highly dynamic. There is no well established standard.
b) Customers would rather be free to choose their own equipment when outfitting a new boat.
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Old 10-01-2016, 14:19   #3
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

There is a difference between sailing and cruising . A yacht club sailor might not wish to be forced to pay for something that he has no need or use for !
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Old 10-01-2016, 14:25   #4
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

Chaya,

I like your questions, and had wondered about this for a few years.

Here is a solar catamaran. It is not what you want, but is interesting to see how far one builder went.

I do like the saloon interior.

It has a 6kw solar bank.

Range is about 25 nmiles on one charge, as I recall. That is about a 4 hour cruise each day.

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Old 10-01-2016, 14:30   #5
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

If RVs are any indication, it appears that RV builders are clueless about what really works. It is only supposition that boat builders would/could/might be the same, but I certainly wouldn't doubt it given the fact they haven't figured out how to wire a 1-2-B switch properly in the past 70 years!

This is a "must read" about solar systems for RVs and boats:

https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/
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Old 10-01-2016, 14:33   #6
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

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There is a difference between sailing and cruising . A yacht club sailor might not wish to be forced to pay for something that he has no need or use for !
I agree with what your saying. But. The big but is that as you can see from the popularity of CRUISERS Forum you can see a very large demand for cruising set ups. I believe this section of the boat market will continue to strengthen. Especially since we have such bad weather and a growing number of people heading out on the high seas to better places to spend winters.

Even for the day sailor having a great solar set up could be a huge advantage. After all going green is a great emotional sales point.
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Old 10-01-2016, 14:36   #7
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

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Originally Posted by Going Walkabout View Post
...going green is a great emotional sales point.
This is not what motivates people to spend money on their boats
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Old 10-01-2016, 14:40   #8
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

I could see molded in recess areas for custom panels a good thing. Arches.. hmmm. Walked past one on the dock a couple weeks back, the boat has obviously been long term cruising, but now just sitting. I think there may have been more arch than boat!
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Old 10-01-2016, 14:40   #9
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
They are not doing it is because:

a) The technology is highly dynamic. There is no well established standard.
b) Customers would rather be free to choose their own equipment when outfitting a new boat.
One element that is pretty stable is the size of the large rigid panels. I would think that if a boat manufacturer designed in for high capacity panels they would get a lot of support from the market. The cat buyer in particular even if they are looking at weekend or week voyages could easily see the benefits of being untethered from the marina power cord or having to use the noisy polluting generator.

If powerful panels and wiring were designed in additional things such as battery banks and associated hardware could easily be optioned with a recommendation of the best state of the art setup for inclusion.

But when they don't even factor in for solar panels they are ignoring if not 50% of the market even a greater percentage.
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Old 10-01-2016, 14:52   #10
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Chaya,

I like your questions, and had wondered about this for a few years.

Here is a solar catamaran. It is not what you want, but is interesting to see how far one builder went.

I do like the saloon interior.

It has a 6kw solar bank.

Range is about 25 nmiles on one charge, as I recall. That is about a 4 hour cruise each day.

2009 Island Pilot DSe12m Hybrid Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

Regards!
Funny looking barge. :big grin: This bleeding edge innovation leads me to another related topic and that his hybrid engines. I think we could steal some great ideas in this area from the Hybrid car industry. Excepting using solar instead a plug in the wall. I just heard a sedan is coming out with a 300 mile range.

regards,
Chaya
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Old 10-01-2016, 14:59   #11
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

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This is not what motivates people to spend money on their boats
Are you saying that emotions have nothing to do with boat selling/buying? I think you don't understand the market very well. By the way I didn't say it was the only sales point in the decision making process. I could write for hours about the art of the sale but then perhaps I should do that in a book, make lots of extra money from book royalties and then buy a much bigger boat.
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Old 10-01-2016, 15:01   #12
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Going Walkabout View Post
One element that is pretty stable is the size of the large rigid panels. I would think that if a boat manufacturer designed in for high capacity panels they would get a lot of support from the market. The cat buyer in particular even if they are looking at weekend or week voyages could easily see the benefits of being untethered from the marina power cord or having to use the noisy polluting generator.

If powerful panels and wiring were designed in additional things such as battery banks and associated hardware could easily be optioned with a recommendation of the best state of the art setup for inclusion.

But when they don't even factor in for solar panels they are ignoring if not 50% of the market even a greater percentage.
hmmm... I don't know.. do you think more than maybe 5% of boats actually go cruising....? other than a yearly vacation for a week or two?
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Old 10-01-2016, 15:02   #13
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Going Walkabout View Post
...going green is a great emotional sales point.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
This is not what motivates people to spend money on their boats
Quote:
Originally Posted by Going Walkabout View Post
Are you saying that emotions have nothing to do with boat selling/buying? I think you don't understand the market very well...
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Old 10-01-2016, 15:02   #14
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I could see molded in recess areas for custom panels a good thing. Arches.. hmmm. Walked past one on the dock a couple weeks back, the boat has obviously been long term cruising, but now just sitting. I think there may have been more arch than boat!
Or in the case of Catamarans an extension of the roof area of the cockpit going further back of the stern to get away from boom shading. molded in recesses of an aesthetically pleasing solution that doesn't look like a pile of add on scaffolding would be the thing.

Regards,
Chaya
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Old 10-01-2016, 15:08   #15
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Re: Why Don't Manufacturers Build For Solar?

It couldn't be that hard for boat mfr's to add some decent sized conduits during construction.
The lack of the above is my major peeve for my boat. Adding ANY wiring has always been a major PITA.
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