Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Miami, Florida
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Solar deck instead of solar panels
Ever wanted to have more solar power than you could fit panels? On my 20' trailer sailer there is not room for more than maybe 20 W or so of solar panels, but I wanted to install 12 V A/C, which uses some 300 W or so, so to recharge the batteries for the next night I would need about the same effect from the solar panels. Solar cells give about 150 W per square meter, so I would need 2 square meters of pure cells, not counting the lost space between them. The only way to fit that was to put the cells directly on the deck (which has an area of 3.6 square meters). What I did was to build the panel directly on the white gelcoat, and cover the whole thing in clear gelcoat so one can walk on the deck again (the anti-skid pattern has yet to be added). See photos (the gennaker pole was added in the same rebuild of this 40 years old boat).
Other possible uses of this much power is a water desalinator, and an electric outboard. I'm already looking forward to for ever leaving the gas tank at home.
Ensenada 20, 1972