Solar Panels

For Alex-who asked how our solar panels are working, I realized we never really showed how we installed them.  So here’s some detailed pics.  The specs are:  Two 130 watt Kyocera panels, wired in parallel to double the power, combined with a Blue Sky “Duo” controller which controls the panels and hydro-electric unit.  The 130 Watt panels are the largest we’ve seen and just fit above the rail in the closed position.  The advantage with this system is that we can angle the panels to the sun.  The advantage to the davit or dodger mount is you don’t have to think about it since it’s fixed, but you don’t always get the optimum angle to the sun and thus a lower charge.  You can see the pole that extends the panels and will extend to 45 degrees and 90 degrees.  I also created a “stub” pole that is about 4 inches long to hold the panels “closed” in a storm.  It worked in 50 knots of wind and 20+ foot seas on our leg from Tonga to NZ although there is always the chance that a rough wave would sneak up inside the panel and break it loose.  Everything’s a compromise   😉

View from "afar" with port panel at 45 degree detent

Here's the starboard panel in the "up" position

Detail of the hinge. I had this custom welded to fit over our lifelines. It's a compromise. If I had the time, I would have exchanged the lifelines around the cockpit for welded steel bars, but I ran out of time and did this instead and attached it to the stern pushpit and first stanchion with dodger mounts.

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