Re: Solar panels stainless steel mounted vs soft panels

Alex Comer-Crook

From most of the data and tests I have seen over recent years rigid panels will give you at least a 30% real-world output advantage for the same advertised output vs. flexible panels - potentially more. This is assuming they are both high quality brand names (sunpower, solbien etc.) and have similar charge controller arrangements etc.

This is almost entirely due to superior heat dissipation of rigid panels that are generally on an arch instead of being glued down on a hard surface or attached to hot bimini fabric. Flexible panels often also have a protective layer on top to make them walkable which decreases efficiency even more. My general thoughts are that if you want to go the solar route and run most things you should have an arch with rigid panels primarily and then add a few flexible panels just for supplementary power if required. MPPT charge controllers are relatively cheap so an additional array is often worth it long term to avoid shading issues. You should split your arrays/sections between items that would shade them (i.e your mast) and then you can run the sections in series if you need to. Depending on budget it might be worthwhile upgrading older 12v/18v panels as most panels these days are higher voltage so you don't have to worry as much about running them in series to charge 24v.

Flexible panels are very useful and have their place but if you want to be a liveaboard and run most things off solar then I don't think you can get away without 2-3 high output rigid panels on an arch.

On Tue, Aug 31, 2021 at 10:20 AM Paul Osterberg <osterberg.paul.l@...> wrote:
The loss come from shadow, IF you have the panels in parallel and shadow on one, the other panels give good output, but if they are in serie the one in shadow negatively effect the other panel not in shadow. In an ideal world and no shadow at all no difference between parallel or serie.

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