Mounting Solar Panels on Dodgers and Awnings


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.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 27, 2011)

3 Responses to “Mounting Solar Panels on Dodgers and Awnings”

  1. Raj Narayan Says:

    I always wondered why you did not have solar panels on the roof of the great room (above the navigation and sitting areas) I think you tried this on one of the 64’s. Visually it looks like you shoud be able to get close to 1kw of high efficiency panels there. Though you might already know this, Sunpower makes the most efficiet panel for its size.

  2. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Raj:
    Between hatches, antennae, and other design considerations you can fit two large panels. A better option is an arch across the stern, where five 230watt panels would go (three fixed and two hinged). There are sockets installed standard for the framework legs, but so far nobody has opted to do this.

  3. Colin Stone Says:


    I have 6 Unisolar PVL 68 panels on my wheelhouse roof but not an MPPT controller, which will be my next upgrade. Been alongside in Ghent for 6 days and only used the genny to run the oven for 25mins to heat rolls for Sunday breakfast. Battery still at 95% after a cloudy day. Using all domestics – fridge/freezer, pumps various, TV, sat receiver etc etc.

    Went for amorphous tech as better cloud/shade/non optimal facing performance

    Well worth it and bought from ReadyMadeResources.

    Colin Stone
    MV KEI
    Ghent, BE
    Colin Stone