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Solar install on SO36i

Jeanneau Forum Member "SO36iDavid" provides the detail


I just finished installing two solar panels on my boat. I've added some pics below so others can get some ideas if you want to do something similar. 

 The panels I got are Kingsolar 120W panels. I don't think they're the greatest quality-wise but they were really inexpensive and panels are rapidly getting more efficient and cheaper so there wasn't much point in buying expensive panels. I can always upgrade in a few years. 


 The panels will have different shade and tilt angle so I gave each one its own Genasun MPPT charge controller, also pretty inexpensive.


 I mounted the panels on 1/2" x 1" aluminum "L" extrusions (Mcmaster Carr). After installing the panels I thought that the extrusions were not stiff enough so I doubled over the remnants effectively giving a "T" extrusion. If I were doing this again I'd use 1"x1" T bars. I used 1/8"x2" fiberglass sheets to support the underside of the panels, also available from McMaster Carr. 


Here's a test fitting of the panel.

And here it is installed.

The wires are run through the dodger and penetrate the deck through a Scanstrut deck seal. I squirted a bunch of caulk between the deck seal and the deck, I don't think it will leak.

The wires emerge belowdecks above the liner in the shower. They happened to emerge through a stringer so I had to cut through that. This will be hidden when I reinstall the liner.

The controllers are mounted in the space aft of the engine compartment, adjacent to the batteries.

Here's the view of the final product, facing aft. 

After a 10 day trip where the solar panels got well tested. The results were great! On a sunny day the solar panels produce more energy than we consume at anchor. When we're sailing we use more power (instruments and autopilot) so we probably have a shortfall. But if we're at anchor we don't need to run the engine at all. The most I saw coming out of the panels was around 12.9A at 13.3V so about 170W. The panels are rated at 240W but they're not angled and there are shading issues from stays etc. So I think that getting real-world 170W is great.