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Old 10-25-2006
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solar panels

I am planning on installing solar panels above my bimini top and would like some information on where or who to contact about fabrication of the framework. Due to current docking situation dingy davits are not an option.
Thanks in advance for any advice and suggestions
Mark
S/V Merlin
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Old 10-25-2006
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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.

katomarine@comcast.net
http://www.katomarine.com/

Hope that helps.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 10-25-2006 at 09:25 PM.
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