It really depends on how much power you're looking to get from the solar panels and what kind of solar panels you're looking to install. There are basically three kinds of panels: Both Mono and polycrystalline panels are both rigid and framed with aluminum frames and glass tops; amorphous silicon panels have much lower power, for the same surface area, but are available in both flexible and semi-rigid panels. The flexible panels can be mounted almost any where. The semi-rigid panels can often be mounted on the cabin top and can be walked on to a limited degree.
If your panels are abover a "maintenance" size, then you will need to have some sort of charge controller for the solar panel setup to prevent them from frying the batteries.
Many companies that do bimini or dodgers, also do custom steel work. It is probably worth talking to your bimini manufacturer about the installation. They will be able to tell you if the existing bimini frame has the strength and rigidity to support the panels you want to install.
Kato marine engineering is a good source, out of Annapolis, MD.
Hope that helps.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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