I am going to cruise more time and I want to stay away from marinas so I need some renewable energy source and I want to have solar panels.
Solar panels in what a boat concerns are not very efficient unless you have ugly, expensive and heavy metal structures to orient them. I don’t want that.
There is another way that the technology made available and that are not yet being purposely used on sail boats, I mean roll-up panels. They are sturdy (you can walk over), flexible and can be fixed anywhere and easily re-fixed in another position and when the weather is not fine you can just roll them up and store them in minutes.
I never saw them advertised for specific boat use and the ones I find are smaller and less powerful than what I want. The most approximated one is this one from solar sphere: that produce 18w and have 30,5 cmx185,8 cm.
POWERFILM R15-1200 18W ROLLUP SOLAR PANEL
A similar one with 50cmx 250cm would produce about 40w. If we use two they would produce about 80w and that starts to be very interesting.
They can be mounted on the life lines, to get the sun on the side and it seems to be easy to found a way of adjusting the angle there or over the side walk when the sun is more vertical. While on anchor they can be mounted on both sides of the boom and in many other places.
I would like to hear if someone has been experiencing with it, I mean roll up solar panels and how the electrical connections deal with salt water. That seems to be a major problem to me.
Of course I could dream higher and imagine a genoa that include that kind of stuff ( some films are really very thin and flexible). That would make for a huge saving in power and a very expensive genoa, but in the meantime I think that the other more useful way to get solar energy is on the boat shades.
I would also be interested to know if someone is using foldable panels, the ones that are normally know as military type sun shades, or any kind of foldable panel over and existing sun shade.
Tactical Solar Tents - 750 Watt ETI Part# ETI0021-0053
These type of panels can give you a lot more power. I guess that over a normal sized shade on a 40ft boat they can give you over 100w.
Any thoughts about this would be appreciated and any personal experienced more than welcomed.