Solar panels stainless steel mounted vs soft panels


Paul Harries
 

I am trying to improve my understanding of pros and cons of arch mounted panels vs. soft panels. 

Is hard base preferable to soft bimini mounted flexible panels?

Are the soft bimini's going to be replaced with hard extensions of dodger to facilitate solar panels? 

It is interesting to see what Amel has done with the 50, is this the way of the future?

Theory is one thing but all of your experiences with these technologies is far more relevant.

--
Paul Harries
Prospective Amel Buyer


Paul Osterberg
 

We havet both soft and ridgid panels, we have tried different brands. Always a hugh difference in performance to the advantage of the ridgid panels
Paul on SY Kerpa SM 259


Patrick McAneny
 

Paul, I had just decided to add a couple of flexible panels to augment the three rigid panels I have. I had the impression that the flex panels were not as productive ,but did not realize the difference was so great . Now I question if it worth it , opinions ? Does not a 100 w flexible panel produce the same amount of amps as a 100w rigid panel ? 
Thanks,
Pat
SM Shenanigans


-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Osterberg <osterberg.paul.l@...>
To: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io
Sent: Tue, Aug 31, 2021 8:57 am
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Solar panels stainless steel mounted vs soft panels

We havet both soft and ridgid panels, we have tried different brands. Always a hugh difference in performance to the advantage of the ridgid panels
Paul on SY Kerpa SM 259


Paul Osterberg
 

Pat
No it does not, and most 100 w panel's are 36 cell 18 v panels ( nominal 12 v)  you need to have them in serie to charge 24 v, very inefficient. We replaced or 2x 100 watt panels with 2x150 w 36 v panels. Now in August I get around 0,6 kWh from the two. From one 400 w panel I got 2.5 kWh. I'm on Last Palmas Canary Islands. During ideal conditions in June I got 0,8 kWh resp 3.0 kWh from the above. I have 2 rail mounted panels 2x180 w now in a marina they are titled up vertically a very poor way to keep them but lack of space force me to have them that way.. They outperform the soft on the Bimini giving CA 0,85 kWh
Paul


Patrick McAneny
 

Paul, I did not realize that you lost efficiency or  output by connecting the panels in series. I am far from an electrical engineer ,I wish I were,it would make owning an Amel easier. I may be better off replacing my three, 8 yr. old 17v panels ( in series) with three 36v panels . I am going bald scratching my head ,I had a full head of thick fur when I bought this boat.
Thanks,
Pat
SM Shenanigans


-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Osterberg <osterberg.paul.l@...>
To: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io
Sent: Tue, Aug 31, 2021 10:30 am
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Solar panels stainless steel mounted vs soft panels

Pat
No it does not, and most 100 w panel's are 36 cell 18 v panels ( nominal 12 v)  you need to have them in serie to charge 24 v, very inefficient. We replaced or 2x 100 watt panels with 2x150 w 36 v panels. Now in August I get around 0,6 kWh from the two. From one 400 w panel I got 2.5 kWh. I'm on Last Palmas Canary Islands. During ideal conditions in June I got 0,8 kWh resp 3.0 kWh from the above. I have 2 rail mounted panels 2x180 w now in a marina they are titled up vertically a very poor way to keep them but lack of space force me to have them that way.. They outperform the soft on the Bimini giving CA 0,85 kWh
Paul


 

Paul,

What is the resulting loss of energy converted to? 
Remember E = mc2
I assume heat, so where is the heat, and what is its significance?

Bill


CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
Address: 720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
View My Training Calendar

On Tue, Aug 31, 2021 at 9:46 AM Patrick McAneny via groups.io <sailw32=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Paul, I did not realize that you lost efficiency or  output by connecting the panels in series. I am far from an electrical engineer ,I wish I were,it would make owning an Amel easier. I may be better off replacing my three, 8 yr. old 17v panels ( in series) with three 36v panels . I am going bald scratching my head ,I had a full head of thick fur when I bought this boat.
Thanks,
Pat
SM Shenanigans


-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Osterberg <osterberg.paul.l@...>
To: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io
Sent: Tue, Aug 31, 2021 10:30 am
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Solar panels stainless steel mounted vs soft panels

Pat
No it does not, and most 100 w panel's are 36 cell 18 v panels ( nominal 12 v)  you need to have them in serie to charge 24 v, very inefficient. We replaced or 2x 100 watt panels with 2x150 w 36 v panels. Now in August I get around 0,6 kWh from the two. From one 400 w panel I got 2.5 kWh. I'm on Last Palmas Canary Islands. During ideal conditions in June I got 0,8 kWh resp 3.0 kWh from the above. I have 2 rail mounted panels 2x180 w now in a marina they are titled up vertically a very poor way to keep them but lack of space force me to have them that way.. They outperform the soft on the Bimini giving CA 0,85 kWh
Paul


Paul Osterberg
 

Bill
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.
Paul


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:
Bill
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.
Paul


Alan Leslie
 

Paul, 
You don't mention anything about what kind of regulator you use (used) with your solar setup, if you used one at all.
You imply that panels in series are not efficient, but I'm guessing your 2 x 18V (nominal 12V) panels in series were connected directly to the battery bank, and no that is not efficient.
If you now have 36V panels, wired them in series and used a MPPT type controller/regulator, then that is very efficient.
But if you just wired them in parallel directly to the battery and don't have a MPPT conttroller/regulator you will be missing out on a lot.

Cheers
Alan


karkauai
 

I have 600 watts (two series pairs) in hard panels on the stern arch that give a maximum of 16A at 24v on sunny days.  I also have 250W of soft panels on the Bimini which produce a maximum of 3A in bright sun (in Maine now),but in less than ideal conditions, they hardly produce anything.  I recommend that you stick with hard panels.  I'm thinking of replacing them with more hard panels if I can figure out how to mount them above the Bimini.
Kent
SM 243
Kristy

--
Kent & Iris
KRISTY
SM243


Bill Kinney
 

Another perspective:  

We have 630 Watts of solar panels on an arch that supply roughly half of our electrical needs. A good reliable, efficient system that greatly reduces our genset runtime. 

We really, really REALLY appreciate the ability to fold down our bimini/dodger at a moments notice, and we do--a lot.  On a cloudy day, at night on passage to watch the stars, for visibility while maneuvering in close quarters, for communication while anchoring, while fishing.  For this reason we would never encumber our dodger with solar panels.

Bill Kinney
SM160, Harmonie
Annapolis, MD, USA




Paul Osterberg
 

Alan
I havet Victron MPPT controllers, currently 4 of Them so havet hade good opportunity's to compare the differens between serie and parallel. Where I saw the smallest difference was on the stern arc which is less prone to shadow. When changing the rail mounted from serie to parallel the difference in production was very substantial.
Very often there are at least partly shadow on one of the rail mounted panels. For panels on the Bimini shadow will always be a big issue
Paul


 

Amel 50 custom very thin panels from Solbian - 575 watts on the hardtop. These were custom-made by Solbian. 
More here about this Amel 50, which will be at the Anappolis Boat Show in October: 

Solbian offers these panels in standard sizes with a zipper attached to the panel to aid in the ease of a soft-top install
image.png
image.png

CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
Address: 720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
View My Training Calendar

On Wed, Sep 1, 2021 at 2:36 AM Paul Osterberg <osterberg.paul.l@...> wrote:
Alan
I havet Victron MPPT controllers, currently 4 of Them so havet hade good opportunity's to compare the differens between serie and parallel. Where I saw the smallest difference was on the stern arc which is less prone to shadow. When changing the rail mounted from serie to parallel the difference in production was very substantial.
Very often there are at least partly shadow on one of the rail mounted panels. For panels on the Bimini shadow will always be a big issue
Paul


Stefan Jeukendrup
 

Hi Kent& Iris,


See pictures of solar panels above the cockpit, they are hardly visible from the side...


These show 4 Solar panel Suntech STP190S24Ad plus. 3 years old now and they cannot withstand the tropical  temperatures: the backsheet melts and salt does the rest...

I will replacle with 3 Trina Solar vertex S  TSM-DE09.08_405W, slightly longer but almost the same total width.


Of cause you have shading issues so all panels are in parallel.


Hope this helpfull in some way,



Stefan Jeukendrup

sv Malaka Queen

SM2k #348 @ Northern Ireland


Op 01-09-2021 om 03:19 schreef karkauai via groups.io:

I have 600 watts (two series pairs) in hard panels on the stern arch that give a maximum of 16A at 24v on sunny days.  I also have 250W of soft panels on the Bimini which produce a maximum of 3A in bright sun (in Maine now),but in less than ideal conditions, they hardly produce anything.  I recommend that you stick with hard panels.  I'm thinking of replacing them with more hard panels if I can figure out how to mount them above the Bimini.
Kent
SM 243
Kristy

--
Kent & Iris
KRISTY
SM243


karkauai
 

Thanks, Stephan.
I have raised the cockpit enclosure so that I can stand up straight.  It doesn't allow me enough room below the boom to add another layer of solar panels.  I'm going to have to use flexible panels, or mount them someplace else. I'm not keen on mounting them on the rails, either.

Does anyone know how efficient the Solbian panels on the Amel 50 are?  Other high efficiency flexible panels?

Thanks.
--
Kent & Iris
KRISTY
SM243


Ron Hynes
 

Give some thought to mounting rigid panels above your davits. I did this about five years ago somewhat reluctantly, but it has proven to be a great solution. I set the height of the panels so that when I’m at the helm, I only see the edge, so my rear vision is not impeded. Probably the least shaded spot on the boat!

Ron Hynes
SV Swan Song, Meltem # 29
954.319.0944

On Sep 2, 2021, at 9:07 AM, karkauai via groups.io <karkauai@...> wrote:

Thanks, Stephan.
I have raised the cockpit enclosure so that I can stand up straight.  It doesn't allow me enough room below the boom to add another layer of solar panels.  I'm going to have to use flexible panels, or mount them someplace else. I'm not keen on mounting them on the rails, either.

Does anyone know how efficient the Solbian panels on the Amel 50 are?  Other high efficiency flexible panels?

Thanks.
--
Kent & Iris
KRISTY
SM243


Patrick McAneny
 

Kent, I spoke to Sunpower about their flex panels. He told me that the cells in the flex panels were the exact same cells used in their rigid panels , thus were just as effecient. For any given  dimension the rigid panel produces more watts because more sq. inches on a flex panel are devoted to the borders ,thus less productive area. He acknowledged that there would be some loss due to higher heat on a flex panel laying flat on a solid surface, he could not provide a percentage loss ,but said it was .negotiable. It is going to be high in the seventies for several days ,safe to return home.
Pat
SM Shenanigans
Sassafras River ,Md.


-----Original Message-----
From: karkauai via groups.io <karkauai@...>
To: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io
Sent: Thu, Sep 2, 2021 9:07 am
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Solar panels stainless steel mounted vs soft panels

Thanks, Stephan.
I have raised the cockpit enclosure so that I can stand up straight.  It doesn't allow me enough room below the boom to add another layer of solar panels.  I'm going to have to use flexible panels, or mount them someplace else. I'm not keen on mounting them on the rails, either.

Does anyone know how efficient the Solbian panels on the Amel 50 are?  Other high efficiency flexible panels?

Thanks.
--
Kent & Iris
KRISTY
SM243


 

Kent,

I really like this flexible panel installation by Delos which is sewn to the bimini top: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTa6HEo2_K8

And Solbian must have seen the video because they offer an option with zippers. They give you a choice of zipper color and panel back color:
image.png

A client is installing these:
On his SM bimini:

Panels with Junction box, cables, MC4 connectors, and lateral zippers for an easy relocation: https://www.solbian.eu/en/fixing-options/52-zipper.html

I would supply the panels with stiffening bars as for attached image, we recommend this for bimini installation to make the panel more resistant.

Glossy surface. You can decide on back-sheet color: white, black, or transparent for all the 6 panels.

On the deck in front of the windshield:

2 SP130 for deck, back adhesive, back wires, glossy surface.  https://www.solbian.eu/en/sp-series/8-sp-130.html
1  MPPT  Smart Solar 100/20 with bluetooth for bimini: https://www.solbian.eu/en/victron-energy/111-smartsolar-mppt-10030-1224v.html
1  MPPT  Smart Solar 75/15 with bluetooth for deck: https://www.solbian.eu/en/victron-energy/110-smartsolar-mppt-7515-1224v.html

Total power of bimini and deck: 732 W



CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
Address: 720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
View My Training Calendar

On Thu, Sep 2, 2021 at 8:43 AM Patrick McAneny via groups.io <sailw32=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Kent, I spoke to Sunpower about their flex panels. He told me that the cells in the flex panels were the exact same cells used in their rigid panels , thus were just as effecient. For any given  dimension the rigid panel produces more watts because more sq. inches on a flex panel are devoted to the borders ,thus less productive area. He acknowledged that there would be some loss due to higher heat on a flex panel laying flat on a solid surface, he could not provide a percentage loss ,but said it was .negotiable. It is going to be high in the seventies for several days ,safe to return home.
Pat
SM Shenanigans
Sassafras River ,Md.


-----Original Message-----
From: karkauai via groups.io <karkauai=yahoo.com@groups.io>
To: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io
Sent: Thu, Sep 2, 2021 9:07 am
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Solar panels stainless steel mounted vs soft panels

Thanks, Stephan.
I have raised the cockpit enclosure so that I can stand up straight.  It doesn't allow me enough room below the boom to add another layer of solar panels.  I'm going to have to use flexible panels, or mount them someplace else. I'm not keen on mounting them on the rails, either.

Does anyone know how efficient the Solbian panels on the Amel 50 are?  Other high efficiency flexible panels?

Thanks.
--
Kent & Iris
KRISTY
SM243


Danny and Yvonne SIMMS
 

Hi Kent,

I have two panels on the rail port side just aft of the cockpit. They are clamped to the rail 1/3 in2/3 out. No bracing so it is easy to swing them vertical when docking etc. Also the free swiveling means strong winds can swing them up or down. I have the clamps tensioned so they stay in place but I can swivel them without adjustment. Likewise boarding waves which I have never experienced.

Having been through a major storm on a previous boat the boarding wave one was a concern to me so my plan was if a situation was building the panels could be removed in minutes. Never had to.

I put the them there "temporally" over 10 years ago when sailing through the Caribbean en route to Panama  intending to change them to a permeant position when I had time. The position worked so well I didn't need to.

I am not trying to make my boat a floating condo with everything electric just like home,.so my two panels are adequate for my purposes. Those purposes are redundancy for ocean crossings, wind solar and diesel. My lead acid batteries lasted over 8 years and I am sure the wind solar combination has been a significant contributor to that.

Kind Regards

Danny

SM 299

Ocean Pearl

On 03 September 2021 at 01:07 "karkauai via groups.io" <karkauai@...> wrote:

Thanks, Stephan.
I have raised the cockpit enclosure so that I can stand up straight.  It doesn't allow me enough room below the boom to add another layer of solar panels.  I'm going to have to use flexible panels, or mount them someplace else. I'm not keen on mounting them on the rails, either.

Does anyone know how efficient the Solbian panels on the Amel 50 are?  Other high efficiency flexible panels?

Thanks.
--
Kent & Iris
KRISTY
SM243


Elja Röllinghoff Balu SM 222
 

He Kent 
We have also two on the rail 
port and starport side 
All together 200 w 24 V Vmax36 V 
wiering in series with a Victron solar regulator 
We get this summer in greece 
1200 W per day it was perfekt 

we got the holders off 


Elja SM Balu 222 

Von meinem iPhone gesendet