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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Roll-up solar panels
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Thread: Roll-up solar panels Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-13-2014 05:38 PM
HMoll
Re: Roll-up solar panels

My house loads were huge, for a 35-footer, especially since I ran my air conditioning with a running alternator (instead of a genset). I decided to install one Ganz e-Solar, 55W on my bimini, but the panel was dedicated to my starting battery. Worked great, and sometimes at anchor just switched to that battery to run small loads on a sunny day (music, refrigerator).

Living in Puerto Rico, winds are easterly and sun travels on the south most of the year, so panel ended up on starboard side of bimini, for maximum exposure.

I think most people don't have an understanding of solar energy and how it works. I see manufacturers offering optional solar panels in front of companionway, under boom, sometimes having lines running on top! (Jeanneau, for example). I've seen plenty of solar panel installations with a nice windmill shading them! Back to Paulo's initial question, I was convinced with the semi-flexible panels installed on the bimini. I got some nice mounting hardware from Gemini Products, and I had the lightest installation possible. I also like the small rigid installations on a moveable pod/post, like they do in the minis, if you don't mind re-aligning it every few hours to get the best angle. Just remember that the shade of just a backstay, for example, can kill anywhere from 50% to 90% of the best possible power produced at that moment.

Oh, and go for it! Technology is ALWAYS depreciating and changes at a faster rate every day.

Regards,

Hans
02-13-2014 06:38 AM
Irunbird
Re: Roll-up solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by alctel View Post
I am looking at adding solar, however I am reluctant to do so right now since the tech seems to be in a state of rapid flux - 6 months from now prices could be a lot less for a lot more efficient panel
Yep, in fact, I'm re-thinking the whole idea (like I did just a few years ago..). I can buy just one more battery (230ah 6v golf cart battery) for $100 and have several days more juice to finish the race. Available sunshine is a big variable, so this may just end up as money down the drain..
02-13-2014 02:55 AM
alctel
Re: Roll-up solar panels

I am looking at adding solar, however I am reluctant to do so right now since the tech seems to be in a state of rapid flux - 6 months from now prices could be a lot less for a lot more efficient panel
02-12-2014 09:42 PM
Brent Swain
Re: Roll-up solar panels

Flexible panels have a habit of breaking down in UV, in which case their output drops drastically after a few years in the sun.
02-12-2014 06:55 PM
Minnesail
Re: Roll-up solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccriders View Post
I read an article last week that showed how the cost of solar panels is going the way of computer ram of a few years ago and speculates that in 5-10 (?) years solar power will be less expensive than coal. I guess the big issue for sailboats is surface area vs esthetics in getting enough power to run all of our modern conveniences. It would be nice if solar could power an air conditioner. Then we would have something going! Maybe using a bunch of Peltier modules would do it. What do you think?
John
If they get cheap enough and flexible enough, maybe they could make sails out of giant solar panels. Then you'd have enough surface area!
02-12-2014 06:23 PM
ccriders
Re: Roll-up solar panels

I read an article last week that showed how the cost of solar panels is going the way of computer ram of a few years ago and speculates that in 5-10 (?) years solar power will be less expensive than coal. I guess the big issue for sailboats is surface area vs esthetics in getting enough power to run all of our modern conveniences. It would be nice if solar could power an air conditioner. Then we would have something going! Maybe using a bunch of Peltier modules would do it. What do you think?
John
02-12-2014 12:47 PM
Irunbird
Re: Roll-up solar panels

Maine- is that for the brand name Solbians? I'm sure there will be quality issues for anything coming out of China, but I'd certainly be willing to pay for a quality product. Like the auto-pilot, this is an area I don't want to skimp.

edit: just figured out what you meant (couldn't see the photos at work)- wow, what a difference!
02-12-2014 07:49 AM
Maine Sail
Re: Roll-up solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irunbird View Post

I am finding more and more companies producing semi-flexible mono-crystalline panels (through Amazon), but not all of them appear to have distributors in the US, yet. This does seem to be an area of rapid change, which is always cool!
The rush to the bottom of the quality pile has begin for semi-flexible panels. The Chinese have begun knocking off Solbian panels and they are EXTREMELY poor quality with high levels of cell microcracking, (right out of the box) less than rated outputs, poorly attached junction boxes, bogus specs etc. etc..

If you want products that hold up in the marine environment, and that were specifically designed for marine use, then Solbian, Solara or Aurinco are good bets.....

This is a typical comparison conducted using Electro Luminescence and Flash Testing procedures. Both panels were new off the shelf. One was the genuine branded panel and the other was a cheap Chinese look-a-like / supposed copy of the branded panel.

Do you really get what you pay for buying cheap Chinese copies..?

The level of microcracking of the cells, on the Chinese product, is absolutely horrid.

Caveat emptor...
02-12-2014 06:49 AM
Irunbird
Re: Roll-up solar panels

My power needs are fairly minimal, too- no ssb, so my only real question mark is the autopilot. I'm about the install a Raymarine ev-100 tiller pilot, and if my estimates are correct, I think between that, all the LED lights, vhf, stereo and chartplotter (which will be used only once every 6 hrs or so, and just for a few minutes), my power needs should be less than 750 watt-hours/day (and that's if the ap is having to really struggle with sea conditions), but there is no idea how much sunlight there will be out there, so my backup is a portable generator.

I am finding more and more companies producing semi-flexible mono-crystalline panels (through Amazon), but not all of them appear to have distributors in the US, yet. This does seem to be an area of rapid change, which is always cool!
02-11-2014 08:25 PM
northoceanbeach
Re: Roll-up solar panels

Here it is. Extremely heeled over.
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

 
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