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Old 05-05-2022, 05:47   #16
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

A fish market is probably a much worse case than a boat. Plus, being a large surface, it'll attract groups of birds. The boat is more likely to end up with 1 bird at a time.

Plus, I doubt they've ever cleaned those panels. On the boat it's easy enough to just wipe them clean with a wet paper towel, or give them a quick, gentle swipe with the brush while cleaning the decks.
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Old 05-05-2022, 05:54   #17
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

Yes, crap reduces output, but only when you are not on the boat, when it does not matter. When you are there birds mostly stay away.

And it's not like panels are the only flat surfaces. But yes, flexible panels are slightly more prone to damamge from breaking shells.

Minor problem IME.
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Old 05-05-2022, 08:40   #18
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

A few thoughts for you-

1. Solar is far superior to wind for generating power. Wind is a fine supplement but go solar if at all possible.

2. How big a problem you have with birds depends upon your location and use of your boat. As cruisers we get occasional birds while at anchor but I notice that boats what sit unoccupied for long periods tend to become roosts. Many times we've been in a spot with many birds around that left our boat alone while roosting on a nearby boat caked with guano.

3. Assume that all problems can be solved, but don't worry about it until it's a problem. You might not have a bird problem at all due to #2 above.

4. I've seen many creative bird solutions in marinas that seem to work well, some of which have been mentioned in this thread. I'm sure you'll be able to solve your bird problem if you have one.

5. Clean solar panels have the best output and my morning routine usually starts with using a sqeegee on a long handle to sqeegee the morning dew (or rain) off our solar panels. Quick and easy to do and keeps them clean by removing dirt, pollen, etc. without needing soap, a rag or a brush. Also enables me to spot bird deposits from the previous day if any.

5. On the rare occasions that a bird leaves a deposit on our solar panels I clean it up ASAP. It is so much harder to clean after it dries.
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Old 05-05-2022, 23:55   #19
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

It's been quite a few years since we had a serious cruising boat and back then I'd have said that wind was at least as popular as solar. I suppose that solar has become more efficient and cost effective in that time and swung the balance in its favour. From the comments, it certainly seems that it's the way we should go.

Many thanks for your contributions. They've been much appreciated and have helped make a decision.
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Old 06-05-2022, 18:12   #20
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

I put 2 100watt panels on the aft rails by the cockpit and A kind member heresold me a four winds generator. We came down the North coast of BC in winter and eventually lived off the grid for 6 months. Only needed to run the engine for three hours total when we fogged in for three days with no wind.

Same story now in the desert just did 5 months off the grid. Now the best thing about wind is that you get power overnight, and off course when you are sailing, when shadow from the sails can rob the panels.

The four winds is a simple device that is great best deal anyone did for me.
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Old 09-05-2022, 06:50   #21
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

I'm replacing my flexible panels with glass panels for that reason.

Covers while at the slip is another option.
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Old 09-05-2022, 06:59   #22
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

Every year I come up with a new plan. Each has failed but I am determined.

This is the plan for this year
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Old 09-05-2022, 07:01   #23
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

Originally Posted by AndyOz View Post
Any decent recipes?
I read once that if you put a brick and a seagull in an oven, the brick would be done faster and taste better.

Here in Atlanta it is spiders, not birds that are the problem. My brother maintained a boat in FL and I understand the frustration. It was always covered in baked on fish guts and bird poop.
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Old 09-05-2022, 07:03   #24
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

Fake owls do keep most/all birds away. Also a helium mylar balloon keeps birds away, but don't let it shade your panels.
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Old 09-05-2022, 07:05   #25
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

Good thing about boats is that you’re surrounded by water and that makes cleaning easy.
I live aboard in Florida and New Orleans, on anchor and at a dock, and it’s never an issue. I feel anyone who complains about this hardcore is just a whiner and will always have something to complain about.
Put up your panels, get a hose, and clean them when they’re dirty and move on with your life.
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Old 09-05-2022, 07:19   #26
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

following. We have both panels (320w) and a windgen. Here in the Caribb the trade wind is always blowing, but we see minn output from the windgen....but I guess something is better than nothing at all?
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Old 09-05-2022, 07:24   #27
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

Just like the rest of the boat, you will have to wash the bird poop off the solar panels.
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Old 09-05-2022, 07:40   #28
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

I tip my panels up when not in use, and have heavy fishing line to the ends, which has stopped birds from landing on the edge.

I recommend articulating panelsÖ
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Old 09-05-2022, 07:42   #29
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

Collect the bird poo and use it as fuel.

Kidding go with the panels. Donít let them touch your Bimini canvas mine needs replacing. I have 3 105 watt was adding a fourth and a new pair of bands 40mm above the canvas to hold them.
Solar panels do wear out bird poop or no.
In a small remote electronic device I could have used two different 4.5 watt panels. One had an expected life of 3 years 19$ each for 50 or $29.00 for a 4.5 which had a 7 year life. I choose my panels cause they are made close by and great quality. The plastic lens donít mind car wax. Real wax.
This offers a little protection from the acids and easier to clean off without aging scratches
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Old 09-05-2022, 08:59   #30
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

Maybe try using 'windmills', specially designed against birds? Depending on the area covered, you will use 2 or 3 to get good SP coverage. And of course, having an inclination of about 10į for cleaning when it rains.
This kind of device
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panels, solar, solar panels

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