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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 02-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
sd, I haven't seen their web site for a while but IIRC the "claims" that got everyone upset were changed a long time ago. The founder was an admitted non-techie and some of the technical stuff originally was jumbled, but quickly straightened out. Or have you seen something new lately?
According to their website, they claim that they get an effective 8 hours of full power out of the solar panels versus only 4-5 full power hours from fixed mount panels as seen in these two images from their site:





This is still overly optimistic IMHO as it represents anywhere from a 60-100% increase in power output over fixed panels. While these claims are as ridiculous as the ones ConchyJoe and SolarStik had originally, they're still pretty unrealistic. Realistically, I think that using the SolarStik would increase the output of the panels probably somewhere around 30-50% over fixed panels--and only if you're on the boat and adjusting the panels regularly.

Of course, by the graphic, they're also assuming that you're going to have a 15-hour long day, which is also not a realistic assumption most of the time in most places.

I'd point out that the SolarStik is really only going to help if you're actually on your boat and remember to adjust the panels. If your boat is unattended, a SolarStik may in fact decrease your power output from the panels. Fixed panels are a compromise, but they're a relatively good compromise if the system is designed properly. If you have panels on a SolarStik and have them aimed for the morning sun, and leave the boat...you're going to actually be less efficient for more of the day than fixed panels would be.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 02-17-2011 at 01:25 PM.
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  #12  
Old 02-17-2011
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"as it represents anywhere from a 60-100% increase in power output"
I don't read it that way but could easily see how it could be read that way.
the left vertical axis crytically refers to 'operating capacity" and I would ask, what does that mean and what clever person used that criteria?
Is the "operating capacity" of a solar panel in dim light still 100%? Of course it is! that's the capacity in dim light--not the potential output in full light.
I don't know what panel, in what conditions, ever will put out full power at 9AM or 4PM as compared to high noon. I know some of the folks using panels claim that the reflected light off the water boosts those extended hours, the same way that water or snow reflect extra UV and give you more sunburn.
And one could certainly argue that (as you say, you have to BE THERE to adjust them) if you tilt the panels 90 degrees to face a low sun, there willbe a major increase in power as compared to a panel that's looking for the noon sun all the time. IIRC I think I had measured about a 10% power loss for every 15 degrees (one hour) of misalignment. Whatever it was, it is real.

But that graph begs to be relabeled. And then reality checked. It looks a tad too optimistic, even for "on the water", unless "capacity" just means, well, whatever the output can reach, as opposed to the full output potential.

And when Apollo turns out the big light at 6PM......

Kinda reminds me of the way that ALL the financial and stock sources show the price of stocks and indexes. All of them (WSJ, NYTimes, Google, Yahoo) show the prices in a very deceptive way. If a stock is trading around 1000, the graph needs to go from 0 to 1000. No, that's not exciting enough, so they only show 800-1000, making it look wildly volatile and highly distorted. ALL OF THEM. Despite every "manual" of graphic design saying that's the wrong way to do it.
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Old 02-17-2011
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HS

The graphs as shown, surely seem to indicate that there is a 60-100% increase in available power generated by the SolarStik.

From all the research I've done in the past six years on solar power, the rule of thumb for estimating solar panel output that I've found to be about right is on average, the panel will output the equivalent of FIVE FULL POWER hours worth of electricity a day.

Using this, an 80 watt panel will give you 400 watt hours, on average--which seems to fit with the low estimates that SolarStik shows on their graph... However, I don't see a solar panel mount, regardless of how fancy it is, giving you 60-100% more power from the exact same panels than properly designed fixed mount panels--yet that appears to be what the graph says will happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"as it represents anywhere from a 60-100% increase in power output"
I don't read it that way but could easily see how it could be read that way.
the left vertical axis crytically refers to 'operating capacity" and I would ask, what does that mean and what clever person used that criteria?
Is the "operating capacity" of a solar panel in dim light still 100%? Of course it is! that's the capacity in dim light--not the potential output in full light.
I don't know what panel, in what conditions, ever will put out full power at 9AM or 4PM as compared to high noon. I know some of the folks using panels claim that the reflected light off the water boosts those extended hours, the same way that water or snow reflect extra UV and give you more sunburn.
And one could certainly argue that (as you say, you have to BE THERE to adjust them) if you tilt the panels 90 degrees to face a low sun, there willbe a major increase in power as compared to a panel that's looking for the noon sun all the time. IIRC I think I had measured about a 10% power loss for every 15 degrees (one hour) of misalignment. Whatever it was, it is real.

But that graph begs to be relabeled. And then reality checked. It looks a tad too optimistic, even for "on the water", unless "capacity" just means, well, whatever the output can reach, as opposed to the full output potential.

And when Apollo turns out the big light at 6PM......

Kinda reminds me of the way that ALL the financial and stock sources show the price of stocks and indexes. All of them (WSJ, NYTimes, Google, Yahoo) show the prices in a very deceptive way. If a stock is trading around 1000, the graph needs to go from 0 to 1000. No, that's not exciting enough, so they only show 800-1000, making it look wildly volatile and highly distorted. ALL OF THEM. Despite every "manual" of graphic design saying that's the wrong way to do it.
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  #14  
Old 02-17-2011
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Good evening,

Thank you for the inquiry. I am writing this letter to you personally, as the owner of the Solar Stik Company.

A friend of mine send me a quick note today about a post that was placed on the Sailnet thread. I visited the site and saw your vessel name... and the fracas that ensued. I was also just notified of your email query.

There has been a lot of discussion and debate about the system, it's performance, and the return for the investment.

I want to personally assure you that these systems DO in fact achieve average 1 kW-h (80AH) power production daily using solar alone, and up to 1.5 kW-h depending on the wind generator type and the amount of wind.

There is no "concrete" measure of power that can be ascribed to the system's performance, rather, it is a "game of averages". All we can do here is provide the averages based on our extensive experience using them in the field (as well as owner-feedback).

As you probably know, they were born on a couple of sailboats back in the late 90's, but have since been adopted by the military and several other "agencies". In fact, some of the equipment that our systems provide power to are vital to national security, and the construction and performance of the Solar Stik Systems have received scrutiny FAR beyond what anyone on the Sailnet forum will ever appreciate (or in some instances, understand). If they did not perform to advertised standards, we would have a much different clientele than we currently do.

We are a family-owned business that provides a product that is made almost entirely in the USA... Every component is screened for domestic production. We also have a dedicated team of professionals who genuinely care about the quality of our products and the people who depend on them.

It is because of the cruising community that we were successful in the early days... THAT is something that we will always remember and respect.

You have my personal guarantee that the system performs AS ADVERTISED.

Brian Bosley

P.S. Sailing Dog, to be clear, it was US who pulled the plug on Defender, West Marine, and every other "retailer" to keep the retail cost at a minimum for the Cruiser. Every tier of distribution increases the final price... in spite of your insinuation, it was simply a decision we made based on keeping it affordable (unless you somehow have a problem with that). In fact, to point out something that you may have missed, our prices have actually DECREASED.

We have only one mission at Solar Stik... to provide a system that has "value" to the marketplace. I find it curious that you would belittle our company for the decision to be the exclusive seller of our own products.
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Old 02-17-2011
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Very cool. Thanks for the feedback Brian. It's great to see someone take the time to address what typically amounts to a lot of speculation - and stand behind their product.
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  #16  
Old 02-17-2011
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...and "thank you" to...

Quote:
Originally Posted by remetau View Post
We have a stik and had been quite happy with it although it is really expensive. We are planning on replacing the BP 50 watt panels with two Kyrocera 100 watts. We'll build new horizontal bars to fit the new panels. The vertical is plenty strong enough to hold larger panels. We're still happy with the purchase since we use the stik for our Kiss wind turbine and a dinghy engine lift.
...Remeteau! It's good to see you guys are still around. Still cruising the West Coast of FL? I followed your trip to the Keys... 'twas a great read!

I'll be very curious to see how your panel expansion goes... please keep us posted!

Cheers!
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Old 02-19-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H2Ocruizers View Post
...Remeteau! It's good to see you guys are still around. Still cruising the West Coast of FL? I followed your trip to the Keys... 'twas a great read!

I'll be very curious to see how your panel expansion goes... please keep us posted!

Cheers!
Hi Brian. We've been in the Keys for two years now, and I just recently got laid off from my job. So we're heading to the Bahamas for a month or so and then probably up the east coast to find some work.

As mentioned, we have been very pleased with your product and recommend it for anybody looking for the versatility and robustness of the Stik.

We did end up getting the two side arms for the transom mount welded to the eyes on the stik in order to reduce wear on the eyes from the boat rocking, but other than that, the thing is just solid.
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Old 02-19-2011
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Can someone provide the rough price range for a SolarStik? I have a 30foot boat and would like to add solar at some point and with limited deck space this seems like the perfect solution. The ability to combine both solar panels and a wind generate on the same platform is a definite bonus. I also like how the panels can be adjusted while on the boat to maximize their exposure to the sun. When not on the boat I could just leave them in the best compromise fixed position. Really looks like a great product, especially on a small boat like mine where I could use the transom mounting method. Just curious on a rough price range for a basic installation kit for a boat my size.
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Old 02-19-2011
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Others will chime in and correct me here, but my best recollection is ~$3500.
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Old 02-19-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H2Ocruizers View Post
... to point out something that you may have missed, our prices have actually DECREASED.
Brian,

Because the product is no longer available through Defender, Hamilton, etc., and the MSRP listed on the Solar Stick site is
Quote:
USD $ (call for pricing)
could you please give us a ball park?



P.S. - Speaking ONLY for myself, I hate it when companies do this. "Call for pricing," especially when you have an Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price, tells me that the price fluctuates so much that disclosing it is not practical. I also view this as another way of saying that the price is negotiable.
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