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Old 02-25-2021, 07:10 PM   #1
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Solar Recommendations

Hello, new to boat life and need a good set of solar to get started. We have a mainship trawler 390 1999 and are looking into flexible panels but not sure what to get. Does anyone have good panel recommendations as well as a good charge controller? Thanks
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Old 02-25-2021, 07:16 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. Just curious why flexible panels. Aren’t they less efficient? But I am not a solar guru by any means. BTW, we will need photos of your boat...
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Old 02-25-2021, 07:33 PM   #3
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Flexible panels are definitely lighter, but are less efficient (more area for the output) and have a reputation for not meeting their output specs and deteriorating output over a few years. So I would only use flexible panels when you have to like on a bimini.

On that boat I believer there is room for several hundred watts of fixed panels in front of the flybridge on the foredeck.

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Old 02-25-2021, 08:43 PM   #4
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Check out Renogy for the solar panels and Victron Mppt for the controller. I've been very pleased with both and last year Renogy ran a 10% discount on earth day. If you have room for fixed panels go with them, if not the new flexible panels are fine and there isn't enough difference to worry about. In reality's other factors, such as clouds, will have a bigger difference in your day to day operation.
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Old 02-25-2021, 11:44 PM   #5
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Will Prowse is a young guy and easy to not take seriously, but he is self taught and routinely takes all manners of lithium batteries apart to see how they are made and what quality they are. He is also a solar guru. I'll link below but go through a number of his videos on solar panels to get a feel, he's the guy:

Here is one of his many solar panel videos, try to watch the most recent, solar panels are changing all the time and have dropped in price. He has an area where he recommends the cheapest best panels - value.



Here is a link to his vlogs:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoj...q8kmJme-5dnN0Q
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Old 02-26-2021, 08:10 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone the reasoning for flexible solar was because we would prefer not to build some kind of arch. Planning to mount on top of the Bimini, but I will look into fixed options as well.
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:41 PM   #7
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We just obtained some Sunpower flexible panels, and we are going Victron for the hardware. There are some deals out there so use the power of the internet. There is also a tax credit at present. A good source of info is www.sunpoweredyachts.com, they have the tax credit info posted. We bought our panels via Amazon at an attractive price.

Good Luck
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Old 02-27-2021, 07:36 AM   #8
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First thing I would install is a SOC meter (state of charge) that is a gas gauge for your house batts.


Until you know what the daily DC consumption is , there is no way to decide what the charge requirements will be.
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
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First thing I would install is a SOC meter (state of charge) that is a gas gauge for your house batts.


I found this inexpensive and decent quality shunt based battery monitor, a SOC meter to use FF's term, on Amazon for $45: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I installed it on my motor home in a few minutes and it works great. The only negative is the somewhat short multi conductor cable and connectors that runs between the shunt and the display, about 6-8'. You could extend it by splicing in individual wires or a 4 conductor cable.

Renogy makes one for $100 with a 20' cable which will cover most boating installations.

These battery monitors have a display which shows net amphours used/produced over time.

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Old 02-27-2021, 10:13 AM   #10
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Oo, I put a couple flex panels on my bimini last summer with a Victron MPPT, very happy with that so far. I put wood stringers between the tubes for additional support and to stop puddling under the panels. The panels bolt to the stringers through grommets in the fabric, that has worked good to +30 knots weather.

Can't roll back the bimini for sun on the bridge, keep that in mind.

https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...tml#post905902
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