Posted by Steve Dashew (May 27, 2011)
There are large solar arrays on many of the cruising yachts we meet these days. A combination of high efficiency monocrystal panels and MPPT controllers makes it feasible to get most, if not all, of your systems power from the sun. Of course mounting space is always an issue. These folks were docked next to us in Vero Beach, Florida, and had four 130 watt panels installed on the dodger frame. In this part of the world those panels will generate about 2700 watts of energy in a typical day, assuming shading from rigging is not too big an issue. They used a simple mounting system. The stainless rack to which the solar panels fasten is bolted to the dodger frame through the fabric . A reinforcing patch is sewn on top of the fabric. The owners told us this does not leak. Handrails penetrate at reinforced openings and are bolted to the dodger framework as well. We are giving thought to a solar array for Wind Horse.