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  #1  
Old 09-17-2007
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Solar Panels? Looking for feedback...

I am looking at adding a pair of solar panels above my sunbrella bimini on
my Pearson 385. It's at least 7' long over the center cockpit- and that will
allow me to install a pair of 130W Kyocera's easily. Goal is to try to make
100ah a day in the Chesapeake Bay area on average.

What I know so far is that you want higher voltage panels since they will be
less affected when the panels heat up. Also, I'm looking at cells that will
perform better if there is a shadow on part of the panel (boom will be above
the panels and blocking one of them probably!). I also plan to use an MPPT
controller to optimize the power output.

When I finally get some time to do more extended cruising- I would like to
add a couple of panels over my davits to make myself enough power to more
than sustain all my electrical loads- so, it would nice to plan for that now
if it makes sense.

It also appears that there are a few MPPT's that will allow you to install a
random set of solar panels of differing outputs/voltages in series. This would
seem to be more efficient to send a higher voltage to the MPPT. This would
also allow me to add another panel of any size later on....

What works, what doesn't? Any favorite brands?

What kinds of solar panel mounts work well? Anyone install one above a soft
bimini?

Any input would be appreciated!

Jon Bailey
jbailey@p385.com
1985 P-385
S/V Sea Dream
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Old 09-17-2007
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
Take total amp hours and multiply by 4 for a rough estimate of what you need in panel wattage. Mppt will perhaps get you a bit better than that...but you still will be WAY short of 100ah's particularly on the Chesapeake with both the cloud cover and angle of the sun at this latitude. You'll need to use the davits now as well as the bimini if you want 100ah's. MPPT's work best in full output conditions...or about 4 hours a day in the Chesapeake on average. I would count on about 10% more amphours than from a conventional regulator. BlueSky makes a good one except it is not marinized so needs a dry mounting spot. Outback controllers are also well liked. I had Kyocera panels and I was happy with them and have never heard anyone complain about them.
You want to bimini mount with some short struts off the bimini to allow air circulation. I would also give consideration to EASY removal of the panels for storm prep conditions. A white bimini is better than a dark one.
Finally you said
" What I know so far is that you want higher voltage panels since they will be less affected when the panels heat up." May I ask where you read this as it makes only marginal sense to me . You want panels that put out high voltage in full sunlight so that when their voltage drops in less than optimal conditions (coulds, low sun angle etc.) you still have the more than 13V you need to actually put a charge into a battery. Heating of panels only produces minor voltage drops.
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Old 09-17-2007
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bestfriend is a jewel in the rough bestfriend is a jewel in the rough bestfriend is a jewel in the rough
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Just kidding JB. Do a search and there are a few VERY long discussions on this.
Good luck
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Last edited by bestfriend; 09-17-2007 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 09-17-2007
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Sailormann will become famous soon enough
There is a really neat mounting device for Solar Panels called the "Solar Stik". If you do a search here, you'll find the thread. Perhaps you could invite the Original Poster to come into the forum and provide some guidance ...
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