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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Bewdley, Worcs
    Posts
    322

    Default Mounting a semi-flexible solar panel

    I'm about to mount a semi-flexible solar panel on the coach roof, just ahead of the spray dodger.

    What is the best method? A good coating of silicone-like goop and pressit down? Or just use the 4 holes at the corners?

    It will (occasionally) get troden on when mucking about with the sails, my thinking is well glued on a very thin layer of silicone might be best.

    thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Home UK Midlands / Boat Croatia
    Posts
    18,324

    Default Re: Mounting a semi-flexible solar panel

    Quote Originally Posted by rszemeti View Post
    I'm about to mount a semi-flexible solar panel on the coach roof, just ahead of the spray dodger.

    What is the best method? A good coating of silicone-like goop and pressit down? Or just use the 4 holes at the corners?

    It will (occasionally) get troden on when mucking about with the sails, my thinking is well glued on a very thin layer of silicone might be best.

    thoughts?
    I just used the 4 holes in the corners with self-tappers with large pan-heads straight into the GRP (pre-drilled first) for my 100W panels.

    Richard

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Eastern Atlantic seaboard
    Posts
    2,944

    Default Re: Mounting a semi-flexible solar panel

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
    I just used the 4 holes in the corners with self-tappers with large pan-heads straight into the GRP (pre-drilled first) for my 100W panels.

    Richard
    So did I and the panel was held securely. However, depending on boat design and the type of sailing you do I would think long and hard about a deck mounted panel. If you regularly take green water over the decks my experience, over 5 years and as many panels of various marques, is they will not survive long as the conductors between the panel and junction box corrode. I've given up on the idea and only deploy a folding panel at anchor, which is also much easier to orientate towards the sun.
    I'd rather be tethered to a pad eye than tethered to an iPad.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    West Mersea
    Posts
    6,295

    Default Re: Mounting a semi-flexible solar panel

    I have used polysulphide for three large panels. Grabbed the shape of the roof instantly . Added by some reasonable weights in each corner for 12 hours and they are totally secure. No need to drill holes.
    www.crossingthethamesestuary.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    855

    Default Re: Mounting a semi-flexible solar panel

    Quote Originally Posted by rszemeti View Post
    I'm about to mount a semi-flexible solar panel on the coach roof, just ahead of the spray dodger.

    What is the best method? A good coating of silicone-like goop and pressit down? Or just use the 4 holes at the corners?

    It will (occasionally) get troden on when mucking about with the sails, my thinking is well glued on a very thin layer of silicone might be best.

    thoughts?
    As ever, it depends.

    If you're mounting onto a hatch garage that the hatch slides under then I would say just screw it down. You aren't penetrating the deck so no need to worry about sealing, and then you take it off easily if you want to.

    This is how I mounted it in mine, in hindsight a solar panel with back connectors would make a much more streamlined installation.



    Its a 50w panel, and to be honest I wasn't to impressed with the power it made, the location is the real problem, too easily shaded.

    If its directly to the deck I would bond it on so you aren't drilling holes in your deck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Bewdley, Worcs
    Posts
    322

    Default Re: Mounting a semi-flexible solar panel

    It is on the "garage hatch" so I may go for the screws then ...

    The cables will come back under the edge of the dodger and enter the instrument pod through existing holes.

    As you correctly noted, shading can be a problem, it only takes part of a "string" of panels to be shaded and the whole string loses power. effectively, the current output of the string is limited by the current output of the most shaded cell.

    I just want it to keep the batteries "topped off" while hanging on the mooring, so it doesn't need to do much.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South Wales and Bristol Channel, UK
    Posts
    2,430

    Default Re: Mounting a semi-flexible solar panel

    I used self tapping screws, worked well for many years. I also sealed all connections with silicone so no water could penetrate to corrode the cables.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Gloucestershire
    Posts
    5,135

    Default Re: Mounting a semi-flexible solar panel

    Mine are mounted on the fore and aft part of the pushpit. They can rotate which helps with sun angle.

    I have considered an alternative (they are clipped on and with flying connectors) to mount on the boom (when in harbour!).

    There they can be angled more effectively.

    I have a 100w panel on the camper van which is actively controlled in elevation. It has performed very well.
    I'd rather be naked
    www.mastaclimba.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    21,547

    Default Re: Mounting a semi-flexible solar panel

    Mine is mounted with screws ahead of the sprayhood. It appears as if some flexing would occur if trodden on so I take great care to avoid doing this. I think that if I were doing it again I would put a thin but firm layer under it, something like neoprene in texture, to reduce movement as much as possible. Mine is still working fine after maybe 12 years but an identical panel on a friend's boat was visibly crazed overall after only a short time.
    Far away is near at hand in images of elsewhere

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Argyll
    Posts
    6,145

    Default Re: Mounting a semi-flexible solar panel

    Contemplating a similar problem, the area I have available on the hatch garage is constrained by the hood behind and dorade vents in front limiting it to 780mm wide by only 450mm long, this might accommodate a 40w. panel but it has been suggested that mounting two 20w. side by side might overcome the inevitable shading from the boom better. (Photonic Universe 450 x 350 each). My hope is just to keep the batteries topped up when the boat is not being used and is sitting on our unserviced pontoon facing west.
    Good idea or would one larger 40w. do better.

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