Solar panels on the Bimini: flexible or rigid


South Australia
No problem with the boom shading the dodger and cabin-top panels?
Of course shading does drop input but I have them in series with each other but in parallel with the unshaded targa bar and bimini panels and find they still contribute serious extra charge.
The cabin top hard panel is also mounted with thumb clamps with rubber inserts on each side ( as is the rear hard panel on the targa bar ) so it can be tilted to improve performance at anchor, mooring or long west/east, east west transits.
At anchor or mooring I also take the boom out to the side to unshade them if extra power is needed. 🙂


Pompano Beach
We have solara Power M panels and we really, really like them. Have had them on our last 3 boats.
I saw a very interesting install on an Outremer 5x yesterday, whereby there was an aft mounted solar panel connector that allowed them to 'roll out' as many panels as they wanted, connected to a charge controller. He laid out 6 panels on the nets, which were substantial, another 800W.
The details were not shared (parallel, series, etc) but I thought that it was a great idea to be able to 'boost' your solar output when at anchor and remove the panels whilst underway.

Max Rockatansky

I have GoPower and have been pleased. GP has replaced them 2x: one for a delam and the second for clouding.

Flex panels can be polished with plastic polish kits, fyi but GP has backed their product

i have attached mine with nylon screws thru grommets set into the bimini. Since 2017 have had flex panels on the bimini and no issues.

I just wish I could induce my cats to avoid them when climbing up there (I think that may have been the reason for the delam mentioned above).


New member
On my Tartan 37 I use two 100w Sunpower flexible panels on my bimini. I bought them last year just before they discontinued the 100s and went to 110s which was a shame. Since I plan to make a new bimini this winter I decided to forego more permanent attachments and just tied the panels on to the frame and backstay. This has worked fine for two seasons. I don't notice any flopping around and I sail a lot. I will include better attachments to the new bimini. The problem I have is with shading from my backstay mounted radar. I need to raise it up with the addition of another extrusion. I may also wire in parallel to see if that helps. Depending on how much area you have you may be able to fit the 170W panels on. I have one on my dodger (not the best fit but works). I can tell you that as far as loads go, 200W will be very marginal to keep up with a larger frig on average through cloudy days. My frig insulation could be better and I plan to add a fan to aid in circulation.


New member
2 100 Watt flexi panels... only a year old but they keep everything topped up fridge, freezer, cabin fans and auto pilot while sailing!... fingers crossed ..

40.7 bimini.jpg

Pegu Club

New member
We have two 100 watt semi flexible Renogy panels on our Bimini top, each held in place with two inch wide( industrial strength) Velcro around each panels perimeter, has worked great for years, windage has not been an issue for us, during notable blows I loop a narrow line over the panels and under the Bimini top, tied down to the binnacle guard, never had a sign of the panels wanting to do a walk about.

Fair winds,

Hale Moana

Morro Bay
Stunt21 are you worried about a sheet catching your panels during a jibe? I put angle brackets on the outside corners of my panels to prevent a sheet from catching the panels.


New member
Also have in-mast furling main.

My bigger concern was the back stays. I kept the panels well clear of them and allow for several inches of athwartship movement.


The Solbian panels are outrageously expensive but the output is solid. Too early to tell about lifespan, though I’m less than impressed with the renogy panel I bought three years ago.

I have 180w semi-rigid on a Bimini, 104 split into two panels on the dodger, o other 104 split into two panels on the dinghy- all semi-rigid. One rigid 100w on the arch. I’d like to increase the 100w on the arch to 200w.
My Tartan 3800 is a fairly average cruising monohull with a fairly average custom bimini made of Sunbrella and 1" stainless steel tubing. ...
My choices as I see them are:
  • I can put two rigid panels over the bimini, one athwartships in front of the backstays...
  • I can attach semi-flexible panels onto the bimini adapting the techniques described here: ...
Either way I would reinforce the bimini frame to make it more rigid and able to support additional weight.
I had much the same choice. For me, the weight aloft of rigid panels was just too much.. My flex panels are a good 50 lbs lighter than rigid panels of the same output (and yes, they cost too much).

Maybe: tender boat, flex panels; stiff boat, rigid panels?


South Australia
I was researching solar panels on a Bimini when I came across this thread a while ago. I have now completed my own fitment and will test sail it in two days time with a visiting sailing friend.
I now have 720w in 4 lightweight but rigid panels mounted on my targa bar and Bimini and a further 160w on my cabin roof and 32w high shade tolerant flexible which mounts on my dodger.
The cabin roof and targa bar panels are angle adjustable.
I have output tested the system on trailer generating over 800w at times but my sailing backyard has been recently closed to boating due to flooding until just reopening this week.
My unusual 28foot trailerable swing keel yacht is very shallow draft and chosen for strictly expedition/adventure style extended inshore/inland cruising.
A planned expedition next year for my partner and I will require 3 months without the likelihood of being able to resupply fuel or food.
We are doing a 3 month Great Barrier Reef Cruise test run where resupply is available this year.
My goal is to generate the majority of my energy needs via solar this includes electric dingy outboard and occasional main craft electric propulsion assistance from this same engine.
We use induction cooking, compressor fridge and freezer, 800w 240v hot water system, desalinator, electric outboard battery recharging and assorted other conventional 240v and 12v uses.
The very challenging inshore islands cruising location is subject to extreme tides, drying out and is crocodile and shark infested and mostly uncharted whilst being truely spectacular.
The yacht is unconventional and perhaps in some eyes not pretty but I believe is fit for purpose.
The solar systems/panels are also designed to semi fold up to allow the yacht to be trailed for the massive distances required to reach various remote locations without needing to dismantle anything of significance.
It’s been a year now in early retirement dedicated mainly to modification and testing which included a six week live onboard shakedown cruise and various other shorter sailing trips.
The yachts main engine is a very large outboard which will likely see very little use but can deliver over 16 knots if briefly required.
The targa bar and Bimini mounted solar panels have all been strengthened and also made angle adjustable and foldable.
I have retained the yachts two agm 12v batteries whilst adding 3600w (about 300ah) in two lithium power packs which include solar regulators, large inverters, very fast computer controlled charging and remote monitoring and switching allowing them to be securely mounted in difficult to access low central locations.
One is wired to accept 800w of solar charge whilst the other is hooked to the outboards alternator through a 12/24voltage increaser producing 400w of output. They can also cross charge each other and also charge the agm bank via a conventional charger.
It has involved a lot of trial and error but I have also had a huge amount of luck with very tight clearance tolerances and fitments in many locations.
The main fitment equipment has been the Ferris rail clamp mounts shown.