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Old 20-09-2021, 08:58   #1
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Solar panel and controller sources

I'm looking to upgrade solar on my boat and am having a hard time location a source for a single solar panel and controller ... who do you all recommend?

(Lots of folks will sell you a pallet of panels!)

I am in the USA in Florida ... I know shipping can be very expensive!

Thanks!
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Old 20-09-2021, 09:07   #2
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

Solar controllers aren't hard to find - I buy mine from pkys.com as they usually have the best prices. I've had the same trouble with panels though, I'm trying to source 2 - LG 435 watt panels. There is one company in California and one in Florida - the one in FL is more expensive even not including shipping costs! All I can guess is that online retail for single solar panels is not common solely because of the shipping costs. Perhaps better to find a residential installer and buy through them?
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Old 20-09-2021, 09:15   #3
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

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Originally Posted by sailingunity View Post
Solar controllers aren't hard to find - I buy mine from pkys.com as they usually have the best prices. I've had the same trouble with panels though, I'm trying to source 2 - LG 435 watt panels. There is one company in California and one in Florida - the one in FL is more expensive even not including shipping costs! All I can guess is that online retail for single solar panels is not common solely because of the shipping costs. Perhaps better to find a residential installer and buy through them?
I have a request with a local installer ... I'll post how that goes!
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Old 20-09-2021, 09:33   #4
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

I had a good experience with emarine, however, they are in Fort Lauderdale.

Called and asked if they had what I wanted in stock, pulled into the parking lot the same day, left with a 375 watt panel and three Victron controllers, two of which to go with other panels already installed on the boat.

https://www.emarineinc.com/
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Old 20-09-2021, 09:45   #5
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

The pair of panels on my boat came from Solaris (https://www.solaris-shop.com/)
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Old 20-09-2021, 10:28   #6
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

Amazon!

Solar kit for example has free shipping.

Victron Controller- free shipping

170 watt panel- free shipping
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Old 20-09-2021, 10:48   #7
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

I bought some panels (Renogy) from Amazon last year. They were well priced and well packed in a strong box with corner protectors on the panels. Their price on controllers was not as good so I bought that locally. This year I considered adding an additional panel and controller and found that their controller prices seem to be more competitive than last year.

Their selection of flexible panels is not great. But I have chosen to use hard panels so selection wasn't a problem.
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Old 21-09-2021, 08:45   #8
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

I'm in the same boat, no pun intended. I want to buy three of the highest capacity panels I can find, in the 430-450 watt range, with a strong preference for bifacial units. Very hard to source...
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Old 21-09-2021, 09:08   #9
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

Source depends on your requirements and budget. I bought a Panasonic from Solaris, shipment by truck. Their shipping cost was the lowest I could find. Custom Marine Products sells the SunPower panels; very expensive but also perhaps the most efficient panels currently available.I bought two 150W panels which just arrived in Kemah. The selection depends somewhat on the available space. I was able to install one Panasonic HIT 340W and two SunPower 150W panels on a frame over my bimini, a difficult installation due to the split backstay and limited space available.
Both sources were efficient and easy to deal with. So it's not just the Watt rating of the panel but also the module efficiency that determines what you will get in amp hours per day from your array.
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Old 21-09-2021, 09:25   #10
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

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So it's not just the Watt rating of the panel but also the module efficiency that determines what you will get in amp hours per day from your array.
A 400 watt panel is a 400 watt panel. It doesn't matter if one is 15% efficient and one is 20%, they'll both produce the same power under ideal conditions.
However, the 15% efficiency panel will be physically larger to reach 400w output.
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Old 21-09-2021, 09:29   #11
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

+1 for Custom Marine Products (CMP). I got a 140W panel from them several years back and recently added a 200W and a pair of 70W semi flexible panels. The CMP panels are a little more expensive but work very well; all built with Sun Power cells. Tom Trimmer (both Sr and Jr) are great to work with and follow through on any support issues you may have

They carry a range of Victron items that should take care of most solar installations.
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Old 21-09-2021, 10:03   #12
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

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A 400 watt panel is a 400 watt panel. It doesn't matter if one is 15% efficient and one is 20%, they'll both produce the same power under ideal conditions.
However, the 15% efficiency panel will be physically larger to reach 400w output.
You're right but in my case, size matters. Mine hang on the davits and are currently 59 inches long, 400 watt panels typically run 79-82 inches long - 23 inches longer than what I have now. I just can't see adding that much length. LG435 watt panels are 75 inches long, and 400 watt panels are 68 inches long.
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Old 21-09-2021, 11:44   #13
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
Amazon!

Solar kit for example has free shipping.

Victron Controller- free shipping

170 watt panel- free shipping

+1 for Amazon and the internet. Often Amazon is a direct link to the manufacturer.
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Old 21-09-2021, 12:07   #14
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

I've had good luck with
NORTHERN ARIZONA WIND & SUN



For panels and PKYS for controllers
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Old 21-09-2021, 13:09   #15
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Re: Solar panel and controller sources

Try The Yacht Rigger (Brian was who helped us) in St. Pete. We got 2 - 400+ watt panels and controllers from them in May. Great to deal with and near you.
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