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post #18 of Old 07-17-2012
JeffBurright's Avatar
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Re: Roll-up solar panels

Allio, good points about structural stability. You might be surprised how sturdy the frame is when it's cinched up tight. The PVC spine does lend it some flexibility, but my guess is that the frame and panel are, in practice, as strong as the bow pulpit and stanchions they're clipped into.

Your point about the windage of these panels is probably my biggest mystery and worry so far, and I'll have to take her out sailing sooner rather than later to test it out. Depending on how it goes during sailing trials, I may decide to replace the PVC with metal, we'll see.

I put quick-connect plugs where the panel wiring meets the charge controller box, so in the event of a serious situation it would be the work of a moment to disconnect the panel if needed. It's also fuse protected in the event a surprise wave managed to dislodge the panel.

To tdw, we intend to have fairly minimal energy consumption. Considering our shower will be a black weed sprayer, "hot" is likely to be an occasional occurrence. Also, the flex panels are pretty neat in their ability to work in overcast skies and indirect light (as MedSailor talked about already).

For a smaller boat like ours with its rail space long spoken for, this seemed to be the ideal setup for us. I hope somebody out there can find it useful, if not as an inspiration then as an entertaining cautionary tale someday when our panels sail us into a reef at night and then fall off.

Last edited by JeffBurright; 07-17-2012 at 08:50 PM.
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