Solar panels on the Bimini: flexible or rigid

Grith

Member
344
122
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. 🙂
 

mpenman

Member
289
315
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

DILLIGAF?
4,031
1,099
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).
 

jfalsone

New member
16
14
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.
 

GBsailor

New member
7
1
ontario
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
12
7
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

Member
59
57
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.
 

Stunt21

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.
 

Elegua

Generalissimo
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?
 


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