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Old 03-18-2016, 08:06 PM   #101
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My neighbour just went with a pretty expensive install: 300 watts of flexible panels, with a Morningstar MPPT controller. It was a full service marine electrical outfit that did the install. He mentioned he was only getting an output of 40 watts (yes, he said watts) yesterday, which was fully sunny here although it's Spring. He seemed pretty disappointed. Something's wrong, I think.


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Does he understand that if the batts are fully charged the solar panel controller will not put out any more that absorption or float volts. 40 watts would be normal for charge batts with no load or a battery charger in parallel
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Old 03-18-2016, 08:07 PM   #102
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Great thread, my three cheap 120 watt flexible solar panels mounted on a rigid fly bridge roof are not producing any amps. Electrician due Monday to try and isolate the problem. I went with flex panels to keep the weight down but if they need replacing I think glass will be the answer.
Let us know what it is.
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Old 03-18-2016, 08:25 PM   #103
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If we keep going like this, the only successful solar effort will end up Janice, who has collected some older, lower power panels to throw up on her Pilothouse roof. She's happy.
Hey,mine are working fine too They are rigid but cost about $1/watt and work great.
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:12 PM   #104
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My Amigos on a Krogen 39 have pretty close to 10 K invested in a 600 watt system that the glued on their pilothouse roof, supposedly you can dance on these. So far so good but that's big bucks for 600 watts.
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:21 PM   #105
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Does he understand that if the batts are fully charged the solar panel controller will not put out any more that absorption or float volts. 40 watts would be normal for charge batts with no load or a battery charger in parallel

Of course. I didn't ask him what the state of charge was. I was just reporting what he said.


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Old 03-18-2016, 10:04 PM   #106
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We will keep hammering away at this until we either get a good reliable result or figure out that the product isn't suitable for the application. I am a patient man. :-)
I love the fact that you're giving this to us just as it happens. Unpolished. I'm very interested in the idea of reliable flexible panels on a canvas frame base...

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Hey,mine are working fine too They are rigid but cost about $1/watt and work great.
...but if flexible doesn't quite cut it yet, I'll have what he's having.
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Old 03-19-2016, 08:23 AM   #107
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Renology Solar just put out a recall on Semi flexible 100 watt panels. Fire hazard.

May want to check your brand....I have rigid Renology panels and I hadn't heard of a recall until I saw a flyer on a marina clubhouse door.
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Old 03-20-2016, 10:56 PM   #108
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Two of my three 120 watt flex panels were totally dead meaning no output at all. Going glass with a single 345 watt panel, no trust in flexible panels now.
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:15 PM   #109
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Hickers: Mind if I ask who's panel you're going with? Price? How big is the panel? Thanks for any info.
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Old 03-21-2016, 12:56 AM   #110
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Sun-power X 21, 57 volts, long warranty, salt resistant and about 1.6 m X 1.1 m , weighs 18kg. Having one big panel reduces the number of connections too! Don't know price yet, was a bit beyond caring!
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:11 AM   #111
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Sorry you, and anyone else, are having issues with flexible panels. You should be fine with conventional versions. Seems it`s an area not be an early adopter, as Australians so often are, of new technology.
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Old 03-21-2016, 02:38 AM   #112
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FWIW I have had a great run out of a line called Unipolar flexible panels, and even now, after about 8 years, they still put out 17+volts in good light, however they are only 30W panels, so strictly trickle charge types, but they certainly keep the start batt right up there at 13.5v and add to the Airbreeze wind gen. and engine running for the house batts.
Being relatively low power outputs I just use Sunguard PWM type solar controllers on them. Didn't seem worth a more expensive MPPT type.

https://www.solaronline.com.au/uni-s...lar-panel.html

http://www.solarpoweraustralia.com.a...-unisolar.html

http://www.goingsolar.com.au/what-we...lm-solar-panel
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Old 03-21-2016, 09:06 AM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Renology Solar just put out a recall on Semi flexible 100 watt panels. Fire hazard.

May want to check your brand....I have rigid Renology panels and I hadn't heard of a recall until I saw a flyer on a marina clubhouse door.
psneeld, thanks for the info. I did some research and found a sailboat blog that captured his discussion about the recall with Renology. It appears that a specific series of panels sold had cracks in the cells. The crack causes localized hot spots. I have been checking my panels the last two days during peak sun and no wind conditions. At 250-275 watts the top of the panels are 115-125F and the bottoms are 105-110F.

The localized failure that I had posted previously actually bubbled the plexiglass in a small area under the failed cell. I will be inspecting the panels frequently. I wish I could find more info an the potential fire or fires that resulted in the recall.
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Old 03-21-2016, 09:33 AM   #114
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Unisolar has been around for a long time and was the first big commercial flex panel supplier, but I'm pretty sure they went out of business a long time ago. The down side of that technology is that it's much lower power per square foot that for rigid panel technology. On a house it typically isn't a big concern because you have plenty of roof space, so you just take up a little bit more to get the desired amount of power. On a boat, flex panels can be the difference between panels or no panels, so if they are the only thing that works, they are better than nothing. But roof space is usually the constraining factor on a boat, so in a perfect world you would want the max number of watts per sq foot, which would draw you to rigid panels. But I'll be the first to admit they aren't always suitable.

Just out of curiosity for those who have installed flex panels, what was the driving motivation for flex? Was it weight? Ease of installation? Irregular surface?

Weight-wise, are they really that much lighter than rigid panels?

Here's a quick comparison that might answer my own questions:

Looking at PowerFilmSolar as an example, they have a 60W flex panel. It is 15W/lb, and 37 sq in/watt.

Compart that to a Kyocera 250W rigid panel which is 5.6W/lb, and 10 sq in/Watt

So the rigid panels are about 3x the weight per watt, but you can get almost 4x the power per sq ft of roof space.
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Old 03-21-2016, 09:48 AM   #115
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Just out of curiosity for those who have installed flex panels, what was the driving motivation for flex? Was it weight? Ease of installation? Irregular surface?

Weight-wise, are they really that much lighter than rigid panels?

Here's a quick comparison that might answer my own questions:

Looking at PowerFilmSolar as an example, they have a 60W flex panel. It is 15W/lb, and 37 sq in/watt.

Compart that to a Kyocera 250W rigid panel which is 5.6W/lb, and 10 sq in/Watt

So the rigid panels are about 3x the weight per watt, but you can get almost 4x the power per sq ft of roof space.
My drivers were cost and ease of installation. I have no place to install solid panels with out a lot of frame work fabrication. We could have put hinged panels on the hand rails but wouldn't have liked the look. Framing over the bimini would have been pricey and the extra weight may have been a problem, not to mention the wind load.


Dimensions: (51 x 26" x 1/16") Weight: About 7 lbs. 150 watts. 21 watts/lb, 9 sqin/watt
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Old 03-21-2016, 10:34 AM   #116
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My drivers were cost and ease of installation. I have no place to install solid panels with out a lot of frame work fabrication. We could have put hinged panels on the hand rails but wouldn't have liked the look. Framing over the bimini would have been pricey and the extra weight may have been a problem, not to mention the wind load.


Dimensions: (51 x 26" x 1/16") Weight: About 7 lbs. 150 watts. 21 watts/lb, 9 sqin/watt
That's a good bit better performance than the example panel I dredged up.
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Old 04-10-2016, 02:15 AM   #117
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I'm so impressed with solar now, (as we have it at home now as well, saving a bomb in power bills. See pic.), if we were keeping the boat much longer, and as we hardly ever use the flybridge helm, I would add extra panels up there except for a narrow walkway between them for the odd time we do want to use it, and then just make it off-limits for if we had friends out with us. Even now, the couple of modest panels on a 'safe' area of the aft part of the top deck have made a big contribution...second pic.
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Old 04-10-2016, 04:51 AM   #118
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My flexible solar panels are in the dumpster replaced by two 345 watt panels running through a victron mppt controller. Our results on anchor depend a bit on wind direction as the sat dome and radar shade the panels. Best day 2.64 kW, peak Amps 36 with voltages around 55. All very professionally installed by Jim from Odessey. Havent got the bill yet but workmanship and attention to detail was refreshing.
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Old 05-10-2017, 04:19 AM   #119
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When not shaded we have consistently seen 50 amps from the solar panels, they have cut our genset run time by an hour a day and mean our 780 ah house bank is at full charge by late afternoon in spite of running 3 fridges, a freezer , inverter etc. Better still if we lose shore power when away from the boat our solar panels keep the batteries charged and run the kitchen fridge.
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Old 08-17-2017, 03:14 AM   #120
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Loving these sunpower panels!! 3.37kw today. They have recharged the house bank and run the boat all day which consumes about 20 amps per hour. Name:  IMG_1565.JPG
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