I had the stern pulpit lengthened and angle bracing added for athwartship stiffening. Did it in two stages as just lengthening the rail didn't have enough rigidity. Had to go back and add an intermediate vertical and a brace to hold the 120 watt panels
. Costs for time and materiasl came to more than $1,500 when all was said and done. I worked with the welder/fabricator doing the dirty work like crawling into the confines of the cockpit
locker to tighten the nuts and hold a shield so the gas Argon gas wouldn't blow away from the weld. The job turned out perfect, can't tell where the tubing was spliced in, and is rigid enough to support the heavy panels. Your quote of $2,000 may not be too far off from what it would cost.
One thing, having a new rail fabricated in the shop where all the tools are handy and you've got the space to work may not be all that more costly than doing it in situ. Material was a small part of the total cost. Labor in fabrication of the new verticals and pads was the biggest time consumer. The actual welding went pretty quickly.
Using the bimini/dodger fittings may work but don't expect it to be rigid. If you are just using an elbow
or tee to run tubing between two stanchions, you might be okay. If the lash up is going to be more complicated, each of the joints will add slop to the fabrication and it doesn't take much to make it really wobbly.
I have heard of people mounting solar panels
on the lifelines
. They thread the lifelines
through lengths of stainless tubing between the stanchions and clamp the panel to the tubing. That puts a lot of bending potential on the lifeline wire at the stanchion where the tubing ends. Care would be needed to be sure that any degradation of the wire caused by bending is taken care of quickly and the stanchions are up to the added load. Another reason to use 1x19 1/4" rigging
wire for life lines.
I used rail clamps similar to the Life Sling fittings mentioned in the post above.
Anyone know where to get an extendable rod to position the panels. I've been using a wooden brace but the angle of the panel is fixed unless I bring a whole bunch of different length sticks.