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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have experience with these panels. They are moderately priced, I can get a 200watt unit with controller for about $250. The semi flexible nature would make conforming to the Bimini top ideal. I believe it has an aluminum frame. Ps. I'm not allowed to post links yet......

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I might have experience with it . I have one that looks just like it , but it is a 100W and I'm using this controller https://genasun.com/all-products/so...or-lead/gv-10-pb-10a-solar-charge-controller/
If you go the 200W panel , you would need to use the GVB-8 controller and also you would need to get the correct one depending on what battery you are using . You need to do that with any controller . ie: are you you using Lithium or flood acid ?
But back to the panel , I love it I got ours a yr. ago off the Bay for $200 . It is crazy light , I made a frame for it out of Oak and I clip it to the life lines in the cockpit . When we were using it the batt. never got under 12.5 V and that is for 2 weeks at a time with no shore power . However our AMP needs are low . No reefer no big screen , all LED lights . So far so good no problems at all . These Chinese Panels get bad press and the only experience I have is mine . I'm thinking this , I could pay 1K for a panel that looks just like mine . But if I can get 3-4 yrs. life out of mine I will still be ahead . Mine came with a one 1 yr. warranty .
They say the controller is the hart of the system .
What are your AMP needs ? Will you have shore power ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think I will need somewhere around 300 amp hours, I still needd to do all my calculations but I will supllement generation with a small Honda generator. You did hit one point that is importan. If I can get 4 years out of these panels that would be fantastic. They are cheap enough to buy every 4 years, plus they Light enough to store away when the boat is stored. Thank you!
 

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Be warned that semi-flexible panels fail if flexed repeatedly. The Binini must be very tight, it is a good idea to insert a stiffener under them, and NEVER place one over a bow. They are the same cells as rigid panels, just without the glass.
 

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The price and light weight(!) of these are very attractive. I am planning my solar set, didn't plan to capitalize on their bendability but I would like to mount 3-400W or them on adjustable pole mounts, stretched in frames. Mounting on a pole is quite different business if you have to support 20kg/44lbs instead of 10kg/22lbs. Adding a lightweight carbon fiber or Aluminum frame wouldn't change that too much...

I am also a weekend/holiday sailor, I'd like something that's easy to remove when the boat begins its (multi) week-long sleep.
 

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I put 4 of the 100w units on my bimini attached with snaps and velcro...been fine the last 2 years. Boom does shade them underway & bimini doesn't provide perfect angles to the sun but at least my boat looks like a sailboat still.
 

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I put 4 of the 100w units on my bimini attached with snaps and velcro...been fine the last 2 years. Boom does shade them underway & bimini doesn't provide perfect angles to the sun but at least my boat looks like a sailboat still.
Sounds good!

Did you wire them in serial or as single blocks (individual controllers for each)? Found a weird statement on the 200W panel's page on newegg: "This product can only be used in a single block, not in parallel." - ookay, but what about serial, where MPPT controllers shine?
 

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I put all 4 wired in serial fed into a 30 amp MPPT controller. I have no idea why the 200 watt ones cannot be wired in serial, doesn't make sense. I know if I put 2 and 2 in parallel I may at times get more amps coming in but I like the way I did it for various reasons and am satisfied.

I'm pretty sure every year better for cheaper flexible solar panel technology comes out so I felt there was no reason to pay double or more for better quality...I'll just throw my old ones out replacing with current cheapest ones.

btw heres a better price for you on those 200w ones

https://www.ebay.com/itm/200W-Watt-...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649
 

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Banggood sells the 200W units for ~170€/piece on this side of the pond, which is not bad either. :) Among the best $(€)/W value I've seen on the market. I agree, these <1$/W panels can be treated as consumables and I wouldn't want to use 20% efficiency units in 10 years when you'll buy 40-50% efficient units off the shelf anyway.

BTW are these ETFE or PET coated?

I put all 4 wired in serial fed into a 30 amp MPPT controller. I have no idea why the 200 watt ones cannot be wired in serial, doesn't make sense. I know if I put 2 and 2 in parallel I may at times get more amps coming in but I like the way I did it for various reasons and am satisfied.

I'm pretty sure every year better for cheaper flexible solar panel technology comes out so I felt there was no reason to pay double or more for better quality...I'll just throw my old ones out replacing with current cheapest ones.

btw heres a better price for you on those 200w ones

https://www.ebay.com/itm/200W-Watt-...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649
The O.P. Price of 250.00 included a controller....
 

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Understand the cheaper throw away and replace it model.

I think if you sew them into your Bimini and make them semi permanent it doesn’t work.

So many possible setups. Over top of the davits makes sense but only room for one large panel.

For this reason we are looking for a rigid frame setup above the Bimini . But this also means a pain in the ass when we take the Bimini off during winder storage. Sewing flexible ones in the Bimini has advantages except if it needs to be removed due to issues .

Does anyone attach flexible to Bimini with Velcro? Fabric and snap setup? SS locks such as at the bottom of a sail cover? How do these react in windy / gusty situations?
 

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I originally sewed 2" uv resistant velco onto the sunbrella bimini to hold my 4 100w panels...held perfect for 2 years. Human error resulted in a bent panel loosened in a 35 knot blow the other week so I now have added 6 snaps to each panel...pretty bullet proof. In stronger than 40 knots I think I'll remove them anyway along with my bimini lol.

I think 6 snaps alone may be too hard on the sunbrella.

I saw another Island Packet where his flexible were thru bolted at the 6 panel grommets,thru the sunbrella,thru a piece of plastic bread board to distribute the pull and has lasted almost 3 years now.
 

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Good point, "consumable" panels should be easy & painless to replace.

OTOH, one should be careful with low quality panels, I wouldn't keep them near anything that can catch fire:



Actually my plan is to put them in a lightweight (carbon or aluminum) frame and mount them on an adjustable pole mount - then the above issue would be limited to the panel anyway.
 

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Just received an answer from an ebay vendor, series won't be a problem with the 200W panels. Also asked for material, he says PET. Latter means ~1/2 lifetime compared to ETFE, but apparently price is also about half or less.

Budget given it seems I have to choose from the "two extremes": 20-30years lifespan rigid panels (~1$/W) or 4-5years (with care) PET panels. I am leaning towards the rigid ones.
 
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