55L sailing catamaran
Total Panel Output: 2570W (3x 330W and 4x 395W)
330W: Length: 1686mm (66.38inch) Width: 1000mm (39.37 inch) Height: 35mm (1.38 inch) Weight: 19kg(41.89 lbs)
395W: Length: 1690mm Width: 1066mm Height: 40mm Weight: 19kg
Age of Panels:
330W panes installed July 2020
395W panels installed November 2021
3x 330W panels in series over davits (replaced the factory installed 2x 160W panels). Lower than cabin
roof and bimini means no windage nor interference
issues. Shading from wind generator mounted adjacent to port and from mainsail
, boom and mast when sun ahead.
2x 395W panels in series on bimini port side and 2x 395W panels in series on bimini starboard side. These are incorporated into the bimini with a central walkway between the two pairs. Shading from boom above. Some additional windage compared to original bimini as the panels project
further forward and outboard
than the original bimini. No interference
with sailing gear.
Typically if we need full power we swing the boom out of the way.
Type and Brand of Panel: Both sets of panels are domestic: Phono Solar PS330M1-20U/H Perc Monocrystalline and SunPower Maxeon 3 SPR-MAX3-395
Total Cost: AUD10,600 split between panels (NZD270 each for the 330W panels and AUD415 each for the 395W panels) and frame/installation (NZD2995 for the davits panels with new aluminium box frame and AUD3100 for the stainless steel
tube bimini frame), plus three MPPT controllers (Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 150/100 NZD1000 and 2x 250/60 AUD1680)
Total Efficiency: Good efficiency, but could be better if could tilt the davits panels. Bifacial panels probably would increase generated power.
Panels are grouped into 3 arrays based on shading and the higher voltages radically decreased the size of the wires required for the 9m and 12m runs to their controllers. Our wiring
conduits did not allow for all the cables
that would have been required to wire the 7 panels individually, nor do we have room for all those controllers, but that would have marginally increased the overall efficiency.
Damage? None yet. Will need to add protection from boom in case of topping lift
What would you do differently next time? Tips? Different type of panel?
If they had been available would definitely have used bifacial panels for the davits area and possibly for the bimini.
Tilt mounting for davits panels; at the time the extra cost and weight of a tilting frame was prohibitive.
Change davits frame to make it easier for future panels upgrade; the current
frame is exactly matched to the panels.
Any problems? Disappointments? Surprises? Disatisfaction? Issues? Weaknesses of gear or system?
How has adding the solar affected your sailing or cruising?
Provide enough power to offset moderately heavy power usage (electric galley) even in poor solar conditions. Using panels to create the bimini hardtop reduced the size, cost and weight of the remaining fibreglass foam panel structure needed to complete the cockpit
Bimini panels arrangement
Davits panels frame details