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Old 28-07-2020, 21:31   #1
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Aluminium PV panel supports

Hello all

We are looking to install 600W of solar panels atop our Bimini. We were thinking of using 1 square aluminium tubes for the supporting attached to the s/s bimini tubes. My question is - will aluminium be strong enough to withstand being perched up there in a reasonably windy environment?

Cheers

Dan
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Old 28-07-2020, 22:09   #2
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Re: Aluminium PV panel supports

Hi. Wow Yes...exactly how I support my six big panels. I TIG welded 1&1/2 flat bar across the corners. This is on the down side I TIGGED angle which I screwed into my Bimini which is 1&1/2 alu welded pipe. I used alu angle to hold the panel to the frame so the frame of square tube is exactly the size of the panel.
Two panels are over my Davits. Four on the Bimini which is 10 wide. Between the panels are two, one foot wide lengths of alu dock decking so I can walk on it to furl the main. I dont know how to attach pictures but Ill take some tomorrow and get help from a friend who posts here.
1x1 square tube is a perfect frame. I TIG up 2x1 for my engine room door and 2x4 for a cockpit day bed/ bench.
There are some cool supports in anodized aluminum which are used to hold led driving lights on off road jeeps. I found heavy stainless clamp on units but they are pricey. Im assuming your Bimini is stainless 1 but post photos if you can.
The frame really strengthens the panel in high winds because you can use the angle to reinforce the extruded frame grip on the glass so one leg of the angle is
the long side you screw or TIG to the side of the 1x2 and the short leg is parallel to the glass . You essentially build another frame under the extrusions so its far more rigid and provides far stronger attachment points.
Happy trails to you.
Mark a sunny day manatee.
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Old 28-07-2020, 23:21   #3
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Re: Aluminium PV panel supports

I made a frame from 20X40X3 mm alloy angle then put a round edge of split 40X3 mm round tube around the edge to stiffen it and make it look a bit better.
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Old 28-07-2020, 23:37   #4
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Re: Aluminium PV panel supports

I used one inch square SS tube for mine. Eliminates galvanic corrosion. Spaced solar panels away from the stainless with nylon washers.
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Old 29-07-2020, 11:52   #5
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Re: Aluminium PV panel supports

Perhaps a little out of the box thinking is in order.
Im getting close to ordering my panels which lucky for me will go onto my aluminum arch.
I have a long history using Bosche-Rexroth extruded aluminum for my putting platforms. Their extrusions come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The best benefit is the hardware available to take advantage of the extrusion slots.
On the retail front I suggest looking at 80/20 T-slot Aluminum Building System for ideas.
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Old 29-07-2020, 12:56   #6
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Re: Aluminium PV panel supports

8020 would be massive overkill and expensive. For what you will pay for 8020, you could have something custom fabricated.

On the other hand, you could mount anything anywhere and move it with just an allen wrench.
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Old 29-07-2020, 13:20   #7
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Re: Aluminium PV panel supports

I used alloy angle U bolted around the stainless tube, but,a mounting idea.I very slightly angled them,outside edges higher and rear slightly higher than front, hardly enough to be noticeable ,but, I can clamp a funnel and hose to the valley and catch water, they are always clean and they dont flap about in a squall.
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Old 29-07-2020, 18:51   #8
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Re: Aluminium PV panel supports

Not sure how well build your bimini is, in the past I had fixable solar panels they lasted 18 months and failed. I rebuild Skoiern IV because of an accident. I took the opportunity to re-think solar panel increased wattage and installation. My objective was not to install a generator. The outcome I installed 2 x 360 watt panels = 720 watts to support 4 x 215 AGM house batteries. Plus one starter battery. I found it was worth the effort, the setup works a treat for nearly a year. The frame see photos is track supplied for solar house installation and welded on to my old tagra frame which is part of the push pit all tubing is Aluminium.

This setup give me more power than I need and protects me from the sun and elements at the helm. Good luck sorting out the solar panel installation is takes lots of rethinking I find first solution is not always the best.





Quote:
Originally Posted by po46camelot View Post
Hello all

We are looking to install 600W of solar panels atop our Bimini. We were thinking of using 1 square aluminium tubes for the supporting attached to the s/s bimini tubes. My question is - will aluminium be strong enough to withstand being perched up there in a reasonably windy environment?

Cheers

Dan
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