Solar Panel Sourcing

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Veteran Member
Sep 12, 2018
United States
Vessel Name
Time To Play
Vessel Make
Nordic Tug 37
I am just starting to look at putting a couple solar panels on the pilot house. I see tons of brands and a lot of folks that want to sell 25 panels on a pallet. What brands have you had success with? Where did you purchase your panels? I am looking panels in the 200-430W range. Thanks in advance for the input.
One more try for where to buy and what brands to look for????
I am not sure that there is any difference in quality among solar panel manufacturers.

First look on Amazon for 200 watt panels. You won’t find many due to the higher shipping costs.

Then Google 300 and 400 watt panels. Skip those offering 4-100 watt panels even though that might be the cheapest per watt. A1solarstore is one that has pretty good pricing, but beware of high shipping costs.

I went with Renogy, they have a great tech dept that will listen to all of your dumb questions and give informed answers and solutions. Also lot's of DIY video's. I did it myself in about 2 days. Works perfectly.
What’s the issue with 4x100w panels? Installation and shipping made the 4x100 the best choice. I was shipping them on a pallet to Wrangell so free freight wasn’t in the cards.

Nothing other than more connections, wiring and mounting hardware. Parallel wiring limits shading problems.

Mr. t. As I understand it mono-crystalline construction is more efficient than poly-crystalline and thus more expensive. Don't go by price alone.
I bought mine from platt. My store didn’t stock them but they brought in two 385 watt panels for me from a different store. Totally happy with the price and performance.
I second Platt Electrical Supply as a source. We purchased 8 Sil-360 watt panels from them almost three years ago and have been happy with them.
Thank you everyone! I am looking only at Mono panels. I am wanting to go with two panels versus more to minimize physical installation issues. I need to check out the online vendors to see what offerings and shipping they have. I am surprised with the mention of Platt Electrical. I only think of Platt as a commercial supplier when I see one of their trucks. They maybe the closest thing to a local supplier in Portland area.
Platt in Bremerton, WA didn't have the number of panels we wanted, but they got them from another store in two days. Also, you may want to ensure that you purchase panels that have a salt and spray rating if they are going to be used near salt water.
We just had a comprehensive review by a marine electrician on a whole boat electrical refit for our Grand Alaskan 60. They recommended upgrading or 20 year old panels to 5 Maxeon 330 Watt flex panels on our Bimini, This is the route we are going with, it will eliminate our need for any generator time while on the hook as long as we don't need AC.
Also consider if you want the black or aluminum frame. Also, look at return policy if your having them shipped. Out of 8 panels I had shipped, one was shattered. They wanted a picture and then had me ship it back. They did pay for the shipping, but it was a pain to do it.
Don’t rule out Home Depot … free delivery to local store and a good range.
I use Renogy panels - 320watt each and bought from Home Depot. They've been working well for over 2 years.
I am looking to add soar and I see there are folks here who are way more informed than I am. we spend so much time on the hook but here in Florida you cant sleep without ac. So we run our generator to have ac and then at the same time charge our batteries. 8 x 6v 220 amh. Our 12kw Northern Lights burns about .6 gal per hour and after spending 6 weeks on the hook for about the 5th year in a row and after spending about $1500 on diesel for the 6 weeks, just to run my generator, solar seems a must do alternative. I have a 3000w inverter and I run my fridges and a few outlets during the day.

I have to go with flex panels as i have a Bimini top 9x14, so its big. I am looking at 4x200 watt panels in parallel. it looks like I should be able to charge up my batteries during the day and then run the generator for about 2-3 hours in the evening for stove-top, microwave etc.. That would ad extra charge into the batteries.

I am thinking of adding a 2nd 12v ac in the master so we use that one when on the hook. the other gets used on the dock etc.

I am looking at a 75amp Victron charge controller. My question is does this have to have a shut off switch when running the generator so there is no back feeding into the solar from the generator or does it know this and shut of current automatically.

Any thoughts, comments and advice would be great. Thank you
I am looking to add soar and I see there are folks here who are way more informed than I am. we spend so much time on the hook but here in Florida you cant sleep without ac. So we run our generator to have ac and then at the same time charge our batteries. 8 x 6v 220 amh...
I am no expert, but I am thinking along the same lines. You need two 6 VDC batteries to make 12 VDC, so your eight batteries equals four and if you draw down your 4 x 220 = 880 amp hour bank to 50%, you have 440 amp hours of usable energy prior to recharging.

If your air conditioner draws 15 amps of 120 VAC like mine, that will draw 15 x 12 x 1.10 = 198 amps of 12 VDC. That means each hour of air conditioning will use 198 ÷ 440 x 100% = 45% of your bank. Two hours of air conditioning probably won't cut it on most Florida nights (or Ohio nights for that matter!).

When I read your post, I thought $1500 worth of diesel for 6 weeks on the hook sounded like a bargain. That's $35 a night to sleep instead of sweat, right? I don't think solar can compete with that.
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