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Old 28-12-2021, 10:23   #1
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Question about updating solar panels

I recently bought a boat that has an installed solar charging system. The previous owner had two 60W solar panels that we would simply place on the cockpit benches when moored. These panels, however, are older and will probably need replacement soon.

Since purchasing the boat I have installed a bimini that can accommodate larger panels. If I do update the panels to larger output panels (example 100W each). Since these panels would spend most of their time on the bimini top, they will probably also get more sun exposure than the existing system. How do I check that the existing charge controller can handle the increased capacity?
Thanks.
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Old 28-12-2021, 10:58   #2
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Re: Question about updating solar panels

Research it using the model number.
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Old 28-12-2021, 14:10   #3
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Re: Question about updating solar panels

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
Research it using the model number.
That makes sense, thanks.
The key aspect is to ensure that the combined current of the new panels (as listed in the manufactured specifications) does not exceed the charge controller's max current. Is that correct?

Thanks again.
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Old 28-12-2021, 14:27   #4
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Re: Question about updating solar panels

I'd look at a new controller too. Great advances in tech in last several years, much more efficient. Check Victron MPPT, best available in our size use.

I'd also go with the largest panels you can mount on Bimini, I have 2X 250Watt panels just right for running everything electric on boat.

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Old 28-12-2021, 14:40   #5
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Re: Question about updating solar panels

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Originally Posted by Apollo366 View Post
I'd look at a new controller too. Great advances in tech in last several years, much more efficient. Check Victron MPPT, best available in our size use.

I'd also go with the largest panels you can mount on Bimini, I have 2X 250Watt panels just right for running everything electric on boat.

Wayne
Thanks. Yes, judging by the technology in those Victron controllers there really have been great advances in the tech.

My only problem with installing 250W panels, is that I would need to install a fridge to justify it.
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Old 29-12-2021, 01:55   #6
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Re: Question about updating solar panels

I'd also go with the largest panels you can mount on Bimini, I have 2X 250Watt panels just right for running everything electric on boat.



No, sorry, not true! I have 420WP and the maximum harvest is 19A. Minimum on a bad day 12A.
12x10 hrs = 120Ah/24hrs = 6A, max 8A

And I consider this is enough for my fridge and the autopilot. And else?
My panels effectivity is said for 21%. Upcoming panels will certainly go over 30%.
One may calculate that by then with 600+WP everything is fine.

I would wait 2-3 years for the next generation.
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Old 29-12-2021, 04:23   #7
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Re: Question about updating solar panels

I also have 2 x 250 Kyocera panels on top of bimini. Been there for 10 years, never a problem. As the boat was built with energy efficiency in mind, they run everything, electronics, fridge and separate freezer. Also TV. They have more than paid for themselves as I never have to pay for electricity at the marinas I stay at.
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Old 29-12-2021, 08:55   #8
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Re: Question about updating solar panels

For the best prices on solar anything I have found Sun Electronics in Miami FL. Just my experience.
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Old 05-01-2022, 10:36   #9
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Re: Question about updating solar panels

I installed two 110 watt panels with the Victron MPPT controller. Works great and powers my small fridge.
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