Solar Wings

Keith finished installing our “solar wings” last week. The installation wasn’t too difficult, most of the work was in deciding where to place the panels and choosing a controller. We went with two, 90 watt panels installed on the stern rails. Being a center cockpit, it’s not a busy place, has less shade than on the Bimini top, and keeps their weight a bit lower.

He installed them by replacing the lifeline with stainless-steel tubing that he welded ends on to and used off-the-shelf rail attachments from West Marine to fasten the panels on. He fabricated the fittings on the side of the panels and toe rail and welded up the support bars. When folded down they rest just inside the coaming-keeping them nice and safe while docking.

For the controller, he chose the Bluesky Sun Charger 30. After much research, he decided against a MPPT controller and instead to add a third 150 watt panel on the davits. The third panel will put out far more energy than the MPPT controller could have saved. (Budget just didn’t allow for the MPPT controller and a third panel-compromises)

We have been truly surprised at the output so far. Even in the completely vertical position they put out as much as 3.5 amps! We still need to install the third panel, but once it is up we expect to get 18 amps when the sun is busy. Woohoo!

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