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Old 19-06-2024, 09:17   #1
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Making a solar fabric type thing out of CIGS panels?

We are preparing a Montgomery 17 foot sailboat for doing the Great Loop, but we want to attempt it fully electric. The boat now has a bit over 10kWh of LiFePO4 and a ePropulsion Navy 6 outboard, which gives it about 60nm of range at 500 watt input traveling 4kts, somewhat less than that unfortunately going up the Ohio to the TennTom I am actually not even sure a 7 to 8 gasoline hp equivalent motor can get us up that river....the current looks quite strong around the lock. A bit worried there. Maybe the wickets will be down and we will have a strong wind at our backs...

Anyway, assuming we can get through that area, we will have likely used up quite a bit of our battery bank and there are no marinas on the Ohio. There is like, NOTHING, except industrial looking barge ports. There are some anchorages though. Places where we could solar recharge maybe.

So that story brings me to this. How do you fit a significant amount of solar on a 17 foot sailboat without it being in the way. You pretty much don't, but it seems like the BougeRV CIGS panels might be the best of the bad options. They seem to have very good partial shading performance due to the insane bypass diode structure (48 per 200 watt panel), and there are some tests where they have been shot many times with a handgun, walked on, submerged, and yet still putting out 190 watts (which is good on a 200 watt glass panel brand new!). These factors lead me to believe they might be a candidate for sewing to a piece of Sunbrella, adding some really rugged grommets, and then just lashing it where the sun is shining. Across the foredeck, on the dinghy, even maybe hanked on to the forestay and up a halyard. Over the boom tent would be another option. I think we could manage 600 watts of panels in a 86" x 84" piece of Sunbrella. 400 watts doesn't seem to work so well with the 60V open circuit voltage and our battery bank which needs 56 to 58 volts for max charging. Three panels gives a 90 volt open circuit voltage though. Three 100 watt panels would also work, but that is getting perhaps too small to recharge our bank in any reasonable time.

What I would hope is that we could achieve maybe 2500 watt-hr in a full sunny day.

What are the thoughts? (yeah, gas outboard, generator, etc. Pretend there was a mutant bacteria that has destroyed all petrol products but allowed plastics to still be produced).
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Old 19-06-2024, 11:38   #2
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Re: Making a solar fabric type thing out of CIGS panels?

I rough estimate you would need about 850W of solar to get 2500Wh in a day.

On my larger boat, I used several glass panels in the way you describe, just moving them around the deck where there was sun. It worked fine, and I don't think you really need special panels for that. Unless, because of the small boat, you do intend to walk on them. I also zip tied panels to the lifelines, and propped them up with sticks. I imagine you could easily get 4 100W panels on the lifelines (2 each side) and another 2 100W panels to move around on the deck. Then 2 100W panels over the cockpit on a Bimini or arch. That is 800W. More if you can use 150 or 200W panels anywhere.

Of course you would need to figure out what the best way to series them to get the VOC you need. On my boat, I did all the panels on one side of the boat in series, and then that was in parallel with all the panels on the other side.
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Old 19-06-2024, 12:26   #3
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Re: Making a solar fabric type thing out of CIGS panels?

Sadly the M17 doesn't have lifelines. It is tiny. 850 watts would be nice...unsure if can fit that much.
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