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Old 04-03-2012, 20:37   #1
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Location: Tarpon Springs, FL
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Solar Panel Mounting Options

We're taking the big jump and adding a solar array to our boat. The boat is a Hunter Vision 36. Originally we wanted to go with Aurinco panels mounted on the deck but between the cost and limited non shaded space that idea isn't panning out. Next idea was 2 Kyocera 135's mounted on the back side rails, but with this we are not happy with the limited power output or the position. I know inevitably one of those pannels will end up acting as a bumper against a pylon and that could turn out to be very upsetting. So now we want to go with 3 Sanyo HIT 205's mounted on an arch that we do not have.

The question for forum members is this. Are those of you who have had arches manufatured happy with your choice, especially after the extra $$$? Is there anyone in the Tampa Bay area that can be recommended to build a quality arch?

This is a pic of exactly what we're looking for.
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Thoughts, other recomendations, or referals appreciated.

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Old 04-03-2012, 21:38   #2
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Boat: Dragonfly 1000 trimaran
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Re: Solar panel mounting options

As long as you keep this golden rule in mind, you will be happy.
Houses, cabins, rural off grid homes, Solar should be purchased with $ per watt in mind.
Boats with structural $ to spend on solar arrays, shading issues etc, should go for WATTS per SQUARE FOOT as the primary factor.
It costs a significant amount of your solar budget to mount those babies!
Not to mention all the weight in undesireable places (high and aft is always best).
Imho, the next important factor should be $ per amp saving.
Make your boat not need amps in the first place!
We have 320 watts worth of solar and are energy independent +++.
This includes watermaker, radar, gps chartplotter, autopilot, big inverter, sewing machine, computer, long distance wifi ad nauseum, and yes, two Aurinco walkable flexible panels on our amas and a 120 rigid on an arch with a mppt controller.
There are now only two groups. Those who canít unsee and those who wonít look. All it takes is a tiny peek and the latter becomes the former.
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Old 07-03-2012, 18:49   #3
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Re: Solar Panel Mounting Options

I agree with senormechanico in re: the rules of thumb in solar purchase. As well as mounting arraignment. Higher is better so wait till you can have an arch built, Any place else they are in the way block visibility,get stepped on etc. For what you can get put of them they are well worth the $ spent. I have much the same equipment and a small battery bank but all my needs are covered with to 80 watt panels.
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:41   #4
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True idea
My blog
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Old 11-03-2012, 16:04   #5
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Re: Solar Panel Mounting Options

If you live in St Pete I know that Embree Welding at 690 43rd street south can do it for you.
727 321 8771 is their number
Auto pilot is saying get up here and grab the tiller.
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Old 11-03-2012, 16:28   #6
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Re: Solar Panel Mounting Options

Seniormechanico is spot on. We bought three Sanyo 220 watt panels 31" x 61" and 18% panel efficiency. Cost per watt is high but higher watts per square foot. These are 54 volt panels so we also have a Morningstar MPPT. We install this spring so no photos now. It will be a compromise on the shade factors. Our rig is Ketch and the mizzen boom is well aft of the transom. We will mount over the bimini and under the main boom. Panels have three diodes and will be parallel.

Looks to me like the OP has a good plan. Make sure the arch is tough enough for high wind and suitable as a climbing perch. He will probably mount other stuff there too.
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