The excellent performance of our semi-flexible solar panels is opening up new ways to easily implement solar systems on cruising boats. There are several ways to attach our flexible solar panels to a canvas bimini top. Here are some creative ideas our customers have implemented:
1. Zipper solar panels directly to the bimini canvas - Stitch zippers along the sides of the solar panel using an industrial sewing machine. Stitch the mating zipper onto the bimini top with a flap to cover the zipper to protect it from UV rays. Zip the panel onto the bimini and run the wires as necessary. See picture to the right.
2. Attach solar panels to canvas and zipper canvas to the bimini canvas - Panels can be attached to a piece of canvas using zippers, snaps or grommets. Sleeves can be sewn into canvas to hide and protect the wires. The canvas with the solar panels can then be attached to the bimini canvas using zippers.
3. Attach solar panels to the bimini canvas using snaps or grommets - Our flexible solar panels come with 4 or 6 sets of grommets installed. These grommets can be used to stitch the panels directly to the bimini canvas. Alternatively, these grommets can be drilled out and replaced with snaps. The mating snaps can be installed in the bimini canvas so the panels can be simply be snapped into place.
4. Attach solar panels to the bimini canvas using outdoor Velcro (hook and loop) - Stitch or glue the Velcro to the back of the panel and stitch the mating Velcro to the bimini canvas. Panels can be easily removed for storage.
Note: Because the PV cells of the panels are black, they will absorb and radiate considerable heat. Some customers have inserted insulation between the panel and the canvas to reduce the radiated heat. They have used the bubble wrap encased in silver foil insulation available at most home improvement stores. It is about 5/16" thick.
Thomas Trimmer has been cruising with his Ericson 38 sailboat on the Great Lakes for over 20 years. He has pioneered the use of solar energy for wilderness cruising. He is continually designing and building equipment to simplify and enhance the cruising experience.