FAQ: Solar panels on bimini

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We have had fairly regular questions from readers on how we mounted the solar panels on our bimini. Unfortunately, when we mounted them I did not take a good picture of the installation (for shame!). Recently we removed our bimini and dodger to redo the stitching with a UV proof PTF thread (we chose Tenara by Goretex) because we had access to a sewing machine. While the bimini was off, I snapped a picture (above).

P1020501The stainless steel tubing was installed on the bimini at the time of fabrication by Iverson. I bought some aluminum bar stock to attach to each solar panel so that the main point of contact was between similar metals (aluminum solar panel frame and aluminum bar stock) to reduce corrosion. Because of the two different sizes of the panels (outer panels are the same but inner is different to maximize the available real estate for amps), the bars are mounted differently: port-starboard on the outer two panels and fore-aft on the middle panel.

The panels were then mounted to the frame with u-bolts with wing nuts (for easier removal in case of a tropical storm), with starboard spaces.

The details of the panels and the controller are here.

3 comments:

  1. Another way to do this is to use lightweight flexible solar panels. They are super-thin, can have zips fastened to their edges, so you can install them right onto the canvas of the bimini. Simply unzip to remove as desired.

    These can also be installed on the deck, you can walk on them without damaging them (they are only 1.5 mm thick).

    Take a look here: http://www.solarfuture.com.au/marine/marine-case-studies/

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  2. Thanks Stickybeak, When we purchased the semi-rigid or flex were not nearly as efficient. What are the numbers on the two types showing now?

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  3. The semi-lexible panels are very close to rigid panels now in both cost and efficiency.

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