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Old 19-09-2020, 23:22   #1
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Max Solar Power on Arch

Solar on arches is area limited. Often more for Width than Length

So what panels have the best power / width ratio

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Looks like the trick is more about getting 2M panels than efficiency.
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Old 19-09-2020, 23:39   #2
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Re: Max Solar Power on Arch

Well, I've just finished putting 680 watts on top of my bimini keeping the standard 1" bimini tubing, but adding a couple of extra tubes to stiffen it a bit better.

I took a different approach. Glass panels weigh in the mid 40 lbs range and I could not put that much weight up there, so I put four SunPower E-flex 170 watt panels up. I only chose the flexile panels because each 170 watt panel weighs 6.25 Lbs. But... I did not want them to flex by putting them directly on the canvas as so many have done. So I turned them into rigid panels by framing them in aluminum square tubing with a flange all around and also using a backing to make them more stiff/rigid by inserting 6mm thick Lexan "ThemoClear"in the frame with them. ThermoClear is paneling used in greenhouse construction.
I put two 170 watt panels in each frame so it looks like I have two rigid panels up there but it's actually four separate 170's. So each 340 watt combined rigid panel weighs about 24 Lbs, or about half what one glass 300+ watt panel would weigh. Then I added a couple of extra 1" tubing struts to stiffen the bimini "wobble". The entire thing is pretty rigid now.
Not quite finished wiring it all up but should be finished tomorrow. I used 4 separate Victron 75/15 MPPT "SmartSolar" controllers -- one for each panel (Bluetooth networked with my Victron BMV-712 Smart Monitor.
Hope this help give some thought about getting more watts with less weight.
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Old 23-09-2020, 12:17   #3
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Re: Max Solar Power on Arch

Awesome flex/fixed hybrid install from wireless1 If you are looking for the most power dense fixed frame solar panel (most watts per sq.ft.) then it's the SunPower X22-370W http://www.sunpoweredyachts.com/sunpower-fixed-frame

The 370W panel is 61.3" (L) x 41.2" (W) but a major consideration is how you will support the panel weight - 41lbs each
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Old 23-09-2020, 19:05   #4
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Re: Max Solar Power on Arch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wireless1 View Post
Well, I've just finished putting 680 watts on top of my bimini keeping the standard 1" bimini tubing, but adding a couple of extra tubes to stiffen it a bit better.

I took a different approach. Glass panels weigh in the mid 40 lbs range and I could not put that much weight up there, so I put four SunPower E-flex 170 watt panels up. I only chose the flexile panels because each 170 watt panel weighs 6.25 Lbs. But... I did not want them to flex by putting them directly on the canvas as so many have done. So I turned them into rigid panels by framing them in aluminum square tubing with a flange all around and also using a backing to make them more stiff/rigid by inserting 6mm thick Lexan "ThemoClear"in the frame with them. ThermoClear is paneling used in greenhouse construction.
I put two 170 watt panels in each frame so it looks like I have two rigid panels up there but it's actually four separate 170's. So each 340 watt combined rigid panel weighs about 24 Lbs, or about half what one glass 300+ watt panel would weigh. Then I added a couple of extra 1" tubing struts to stiffen the bimini "wobble". The entire thing is pretty rigid now.
Not quite finished wiring it all up but should be finished tomorrow. I used 4 separate Victron 75/15 MPPT "SmartSolar" controllers -- one for each panel (Bluetooth networked with my Victron BMV-712 Smart Monitor.
Hope this help give some thought about getting more watts with less weight.
I am also putting together a setup above my bimini. I will be installing 2 160w panels at 22lbs each plus some tubing to mount them.

How did you attach your panels above your bimini?

Ken
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Old 24-09-2020, 07:10   #5
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Re: Max Solar Power on Arch

We put up two 330 watt Panason rigid panels on our arch and bimini. It fits nicely between the split backstays and behind the boom.

Cheers, RickG
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