Solar deck instead of solar panels - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 35 Old 01-24-2012 Thread Starter
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Solar deck instead of solar panels

Ever wanted to have more solar power than you could fit panels? On my 20' trailer sailer there is not room for more than maybe 20 W or so of solar panels, but I wanted to install 12 V A/C, which uses some 300 W or so, so to recharge the batteries for the next night I would need about the same effect from the solar panels. Solar cells give about 150 W per square meter, so I would need 2 square meters of pure cells, not counting the lost space between them. The only way to fit that was to put the cells directly on the deck (which has an area of 3.6 square meters). What I did was to build the panel directly on the white gelcoat, and cover the whole thing in clear gelcoat so one can walk on the deck again (the anti-skid pattern has yet to be added). See photos (the gennaker pole was added in the same rebuild of this 40 years old boat).

Other possible uses of this much power is a water desalinator, and an electric outboard. I'm already looking forward to for ever leaving the gas tank at home.
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post #2 of 35 Old 01-24-2012
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Aren't the solar panels slippery?

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Aren't the solar panels slippery?
As is, at present, it's just polished gelcoat. If they are too slippery I will add anti-skid pattern using a rubber product that is available on the market. One basically adds gelcoat in an anti-skid pattern over the deck.

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post #4 of 35 Old 01-24-2012
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i'm doubtful,i'm going to build a custom bimini and also put panels there,an aircon would be nice but i'll settle for a decent fan
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post #5 of 35 Old 01-24-2012 Thread Starter
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i'm doubtful,i'm going to build a custom bimini and also put panels there,an aircon would be nice but i'll settle for a decent fan
It's a HUGE amount of work involved in putting solar cells in the deck, so a ready-built panel mounted on some structure is a lot quicker to install, for sure.

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post #6 of 35 Old 01-24-2012
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Are any new boat builders offering solar deck?
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Are any new boat builders offering solar deck?
Yes.

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Actually it looks like they have put solar PANELS on the deck, rather than building panels out of solar CELLS directly on the deck... Using panels makes it easier, but adds weight.

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post #9 of 35 Old 01-24-2012
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exactly,also your jib would create a lot of shade,a few days ago someone said that he replaced his lifelines with stainless tubing and mounted solar panels on that,hinged so they could be moved out of harms way in close quarters, that seems like a good alterative,i have a panel bracket mounted on my stern rail but still not enough
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post #10 of 35 Old 01-24-2012
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What is your boat? Coastal recreation- is it a Balboa?
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