Good find! As another option, there's a company that makes 3' x 6' flexible panels at 97W. They basically just changed the layout of the cells, but it might make placement on the boat a little easier. The link is here: Xunlight XR12, 97W Thin Film Solar Panel
My concern about your thought to affix panels to the hull is two-fold: 1) I don't think that the reflected light will be as effective at converting energy. I read it somewhere a while back but don't remember the link, sorry. If it's less effective, why have it? Plus if you put it near the top of the topsides you wouldn't actually be getting direct reflection of the water, so it'd be doubly inefficient.
2) The curvature of the hull (both horizontally and vertically) would make a flexible panel bunch up and not lie flat. You'd have to get it specially shaped, I think. This was the problem I had trying to stretch the 10' panel along my lifelines.
As for meeting all your power needs, IMO it will depend on whether you plan to have refrigeration. I haven't yet put my setup to the liveaboard test, but I expect that I'll probably come up short and need to add additional sources of generation.
Thank you for your reply, most appreciated.
I cannot say for certain (as I have little knowledge of solar panels) but I was under the impression that modern solar panels will still produce 'some' energy even if they are not getting direct sunlight, whilst yes I agree that they produce the most energy when in direct sunlight, that they will still produce something.
As I say I am just trying to think of where I can put them as a permanent fix, and although the hull sides were not ideal I thought they will pick up 'some' light and they would be out of the way.
Although my boat (shopping for a pearson 37) does not have teak decking, I didn't want to put solar panels on the decks for fear of slipping hazzard. they are tough enough to walk on I'm sure but I am yet to see non-slip panels!
Hey maybe there's a new niche market sector!
fitting along the hull sides with one piece would be ambitious, but looking at the curve of my boat (soon soon soon!) I think you could go along the hull with two thin strip say 6inches tall (one running from the bow and one running from the stern (to allow for the little porthole), not on all boats but have a look at the pic below, it's quite a slender hull shape... What do you think?
I guess the only thing would be to buy something similarly inflexible and see what happens!
I am glad that others are chiming in to this thread, it will be interesting to see who manages to achieve a year-round liveaboard from solar power!
and how it was done!