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Old 13-09-2022, 09:49   #46
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

For solar, glass panels (the plastic discolor, and are hard to clean).

I'm getting new glass panels, and I'm going to try spraying them with a transparent silicone to make them easier to clean.
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Old 13-09-2022, 10:46   #47
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

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...Much depends on bird activity where your boat is kept. Last year I had my boat at a neighbor's dock on the east of the island for a month and didn't see one bird attracted to the panels. The gulls appear to prefer the north side of the island where my mooring buoy is but I wouldn't think of changing locations and putting it out of my sight, a compromise. There is one other much smaller boat a few hundred yards west of mine and I never see any seagulls on it.

I have tried the proverbial owl and reflective tape without good results. I haven't been able to come up with anything for the arch panels that might work without shading the panels. I do string a line from the mast to the backstay with old CDs hanging from it and that seems to keep them off the mainsail cover as long as the line doesn't break...
It is well known that birds are creatures of habit. They consistently return to favored places. They have found your boat anchored off of Raft Island to be convenient and preferable to other locations. If you manage to scare them off they will shift to a less troublesome place. But they also have good memories, so eventually they will come back.

We have a powerful water washdown pump and a hose with a nozzle and it will wash bird droppings off the glass, sometimes with a bit of assist from a brush or cloth. But then you need to wipe it dry or the salt in the water will accumulate. So if you have a dingy or kayak nearby you can visit your boat every day or so and clean the panels.

I do not have an arch and my panels are mounted on the stern side railings and can be canted enough so that rain or salt water spray runs off. But the birds then perch on the edge of the panel where they can get a grip, not the flat surface, Oh, what to do?

My problem is not serious, we do not have many seagulls here and the birds we have prefer mast heads.

But if I did I would rig a net, like a trampoline, using fine fish net, about 1 foot above the solar panel array. This would let light through but probably the surface would be objectionable to the bird's webbed feet and any shells or food they put down would drop through. Nuts, let's go to that little boat over there.
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Old 13-09-2022, 11:03   #48
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

Adding to my #12 and #43 inputs. One approach you might consider is installing the hard panels at an angle for better energy production, usually equal to your latitude. I don't know your latitude but solar installation between 30 and 45 degrees would maximize electrical production and stand a better chance of keeping the seagulls off them. Depending on the angle severity, the downsides include the extra lateral windage and how you might feel about the aesthetics...I don't think I would care for the look. In my case, at 48.3 degrees north, that would be excessive. Additionally, unless they overhung the boat's beam or stern whatever debris was on them would wash off onto the decks. Also, if you cruised to a distant latitude, they would be less efficient when you needed it most.
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Old 13-09-2022, 12:03   #49
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

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Originally Posted by MJH View Post
Adding to my #12 and #43 inputs. One approach you might consider is installing the hard panels at an angle for better energy production, usually equal to your latitude. I don't know your latitude but solar installation between 30 and 45 degrees would maximize electrical production and stand a better chance of keeping the seagulls off them. Depending on the angle severity, the downsides include the extra lateral windage and how you might feel about the aesthetics...I don't think I would care for the look. In my case, at 48.3 degrees north, that would be excessive. Additionally, unless they overhung the boat's beam or stern whatever debris was on them would wash off onto the decks. Also, if you cruised to a distant latitude, they would be less efficient when you needed it most.
MJH, the problem with angling panels to adjust for one's latitude is that the boat does not always lay to the same orientation to the sun. On anchor or mooring, as soon at the wind changes your panels can be exactly the opposite to the optimal angle. (zero electricity production)
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Old 13-09-2022, 13:48   #50
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Re: Fouling of solar panels

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MJH, the problem with angling panels to adjust for one's latitude is that the boat does not always lay to the same orientation to the sun. On anchor or mooring, as soon at the wind changes your panels can be exactly the opposite to the optimal angle. (zero electricity production)
I agree that's why my 4x140 panels are fixed flat to their arch and dodger. Hopefully, I'm getting some charging no matter what the sun angle.
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