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Derogatory? I don't think my comments on it have ever been misread as derogatory.
The SolarStik seems to be top quality equipment in every way. Best-of-breed solar panels, retainers on all the hardware that you might drop overboard, bumpers on the panels to prevent storage damage, welds that would look fit for the plumbing on a nuclear submarine. No corners cut in any way.
If you want a Kobe steak dinner, you can start by buying some calves and a ranch and a massuese and some beer and roll your own. Or, you can pay a lot more by the pound and just have the waiter bring it over cooked and sliced.
The SolarStik is how the waiter brings it in a five-star restaurant. That's going to cost you more than the "components" might cost, but the point is, you can just walk in and buy it. And having seen what top-quality welding costs, I would question whether you even COULD replicate a SolarStik for what they charge for it.
My only real reservation is that it is just too big for small craft. There's probably room for a "junior" model for boats 36' and under. 32-36' OAL is probably still going to feel a bit crowded with a SolarStik, unless it gets mounted outboard of the transom. (And it is worth noting, they offer all sorts of robust mounting hardware to make those jobs simpler, too.)
Part of that is because the panels take up space, but all panels of that capacity are going to take up that much space. And part of it is because the Stik is, well, more robust than the boom or mast on some boats. I remember putting "NO STEP" signs on my LORAN antenna because people would keep grabbing it as a handle for the boat, if you know what I mean. With the SolarStik...you could probably cleat off to it without doing any harm.
Maybe they'll make a carbon-fiber version for racers.
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?
Last edited by hellosailor; 02-17-2011 at 02:00 PM.