Re: Solar panel installation - AMEL 54's


Alan Leslie
 
Edited

Hi Dan,

Yes we have 3 x 200W panels wired in series so they start early and maximise the MPPT;s ability to deliver good current to the batteries
Another advantage of series wiring is the smaller gauge wire you can use, as the current from the panels in a series configuration is lower than a parallel setup.
Shadows are considered to be an issue with series wired panels but on ELyse there is ;little to create shadows on the panels out the back of the boat especially where we have sailed in the S Pacifiic. The predominant breeze is SE so the boat is anchoired facing SE, the panels are at the N end of the boat where the sun is.

The panels are mounted simply with self tapping screws. I drilled (cobalt drill) small holes through the stainless edge plate and the panel frames....moved the panels, enlarged the holes in the stainless, and then screwed the screws into the panel frames....from memory the screws are at about 400mm intervals. It doesnlt sound very secure, but it works. We have sailed thousands of miles now with that setup and nothing has come adrift.

The panels are series connected on the arch and the feed cable runs down the stbd side leg into the lazarette and then through the aft cabin cableway to exit in the aft hanging locker. Here we have a panel with circuit breakers for the Solar and wind generator as well as the wind generator regulator and the Victron MPPT 150/35.
If you wire your panels in series you need to be sure that the Victron unit is rated for more than the sum of the rated voltage of the panels. We have found that our panels can often produce higher voltages and currents than the published rating would have you believe - We have seen nearly 140V from our 3 series connected panels.

The post cct breaker outputs of the Victron MPPT and the Wind regulator are paralleled and a heavy two core cable runs from there to the battery bank +ve and shunt.
We also have the Victron Bluethooth  connection and Victron Connect App on the phone so we can monitor the solar system, as well as the Victron Bluetooth battery temperature sensor which sends temperature information to the MPPT.

It all works very well, although if it was my choice,I wouldn't bother with the wind generator, it's output is feeble in comparison to the solar, unless we're sailing in 30+ knots of breeze. 

Cheers

Alan
Elyse SM437

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