Sunday, April 07, 2013

Flexible Solar Panels: A Follow Up

A lot of you want follow up on how our solar panels are working for us.  If you recall, we equipped our boat with two 125 watt Solbian Flexible solar panels.  As far as we can tell, we're pretty early adopters of these panels and we have yet to see another boat with this set-up.  The word is out though and it's evident that lots of folks are curious about them - we've had a bunch of fellow cruisers come by our boat to do nothing more but to check them out.

While they are more expensive (and slightly less efficient) than their rigid counterparts, we opted to go this route to keep the lines of our boat clean and omit the need for a pricey aluminum/stainless steel frame over our bimini to house heavy, rigid panels.   The flexible panels can be lifted with two fingers and are attached to our bimini with zippers which are sewed directly into the panels and covered with a velcro protector piece.  This makes the removal and storage of these panels a breeze should we ever find the need.  We positioned them fore and aft as opposed to horizontally to ensure that at least one panel would remain shadow-free at any given time.  We find that, at anchor, we can move the boom to maximize efficiency as well.  Each panel is wired to it's own Genasun GV-10 MMPT Controller, and then our batteries.

So far, we are thrilled with our decision.  On peak hours during sunny days, we are seeing 14-16 amps coming into our boat (we have a Victron Energy battery monitor) but, in general, we are seeing 6-10 amps at any point in the day.  Our biggest energy draw comes from our freezer (when the compressor is running), followed closely by our refrigerator.  Because we are not meat-eaters, our freezer is mostly empty so we're considering turning it off all together and using it as storage space instead, but that remains to be seen (editor note: we did end up turning off the freezer and using it as storage).  We have the real estate and think that one more 125 W panel might just keep us from ever having to run our generator at anchor, so that is our plan down the line.

For more information, here is a fantastic article (I love his site, btw, he is a wealth of great knowledge) on the benefits of flexible panels and how to install them.

14 comments:

Sharlyn Harley said...

Perfect timing! I was just wondering about those! Thanks for the info and the link!!

Ben said...

We saw these at Annapolis Show and plan to install them on our next boat. Thanks for the write up. Sending you a Shorts Brew telepathically...didja get it yet?!

Neophyte Cruiser said...

Thanks for the follow-up on these panels. They're in our "up-grade" budget for 2013-14. A new rudder and new canvas stretches our expenses this year. Also, a very useful link you included in this post!

Windtraveler said...

Glad you guys like! The link is more important than my post I think...when I can't give all the info needed, I like to find people who can - maine sailor is the guy who knows his stuff!! happy sun catching all ;)

Windtraveler said...

ps. Ben....I got a Soft Parade, my personal favorite - is that what you sent? ;)

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Thanks for the update! Like others, we've been curious to see the set-up of your solar panels. They look great! Something for us to think about.

Kate Upton said...

Nice information!

Annie Khan said...

:-very good content and nice information....properties

annie swati said...

I really enjoyed the insign you bring to the topic, awesome stuff about the
"Solar Energy Project"..Thanks for sharing it.... solar panels

zeenat khan said...

Nice information…..…….......home soler panels

lee woo said...

Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it. See the link below for more info.


#flexible
www.ufgop.org

Richard C. Lambert said...

Where I am in upstate New York, there's round about 4 kWhr/day/m2 for a flat panel tilted at latitude (around 42o in my case) and facing south solar installation in bristol

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sarah lee said...

I really enjoyed reading your article. I found this as an informative and interesting post, so i think it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the effort you have made in writing this article.


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