* We work with freight forwarders, we ship to a US address you provide and the freight forwarders handle the rest. Generally considerably less expensive for you. Freight forwarders we have worked with successfully in the past are here, but it is your responsibility to manage your shipment from the USA to you.
How soon can I expect to receive my order?
* Orders are shipped next day after receipt of payment from our Michigan warehouse via Fedex ground. We will let you know your tracking number when we have if via email. If we are out of stock we'll let you know when we expect stock to arrive and will add you to our backorder list. Feel free to reach out to us if you haven't heard back in a while.
Where is your warehouse?
* Michigan and we are looking at adding a west coast facility.
How do I mount solar panels to my bimini or dodger?
Bolt-on System - Customers have found that using our canvas bolt-on kit works well for mounting our semi-flexible marine solar panels directly to their boat's bimini or dodger canvas. The kit includes a vinyl disk to be adhered to the underside of the canvas, fender washers to secure the bolt to the canvas, a bolt and nut to tighten the washers to the canvas and an acorn nut to secure the solar panel to the bolt. The kit includes 4 or 6 sets of attachment hardware depending on the solar panel. All metal components are stainless steel.
Magnet Mounting System - This mounting system does not require holes in the canvas. We have found very high power rare earth magnets (up to 20 pound pull strength per magnet) are ideal for temporary mounting of our flexible solar panels on a boat's canvas bimini or dodger. Our rare earth magnet kit includes 8 or 12 magnets and adhesive to attach the magnets to the upper side of the solar panel.
What are the best marine solar panels?
The best marine solar panels have five essential components:
1. Sunpower cells - even if a cell is partially shaded they still produce power. Sunpower's A+ grade cells (Maxxeon) are among the best available putting out up to 23.7% efficiency.
2. Potted (silicone filled) junction boxes - so saltwater cannot corrode the electronics.
3. Easily mountable, either semi-flexible or rigid panels with stout anodized aluminum framing, depending on the application.
4. A+ grade solar cell quality. Cheaper panels will have lower quality, less efficient cells. Space is always at a premium in marine applications so the highest efficiency cells available are imperative. Highly efficient cells produce considerably more power at lower sun angles than lower grade cells.
5. Have bypass diodes to significantly reduce the impact of shading that often occurs on boats.
How much more power can I get from a pole mounted solar panel vs a flat mount?
Our top-of-pole mounting system enables manual tracking of the sun position for maximum panel performance and keeps the panel up and out of the way of the rigging. Rotating or tilting the panel just several times a day to obtain an optimum sun angle can increase the panel output by as much as 30%. This means more power from a smaller panel; ideal for the marine environment where space is limited. Our systems are easy to install and remove. In severe weather, simply tilt the panel horizontally or remove one bolt (or quick release pin), unplug two wires and lift the panel off the pole.
What is the difference between a cheap marine solar panel and an expensive marine solar panel?
High quality high performance solar cells will produce more power at various sun angles than lower quality solar cells; up to 30% more power. An important consideration in determining how much solar power you need is how many watt hours or amp hours of power you can expect to generate in a 24 hour period. Let's say you cruise in an area that receives an average of 5 hours of full sun a day. The average is computed based on the seasonal sun angle and the sun angle from morning through evening. A 100 watt solar panel with average efficiency solar cells may produce 100 watts x 5 hours or 500 watt hours of power in a day. At 13 volts that's about 38 amp hours in a day. A 100 watt panel with high efficiency solar cells will produce up to 30% more power in a day or 100 watts x 6.5 effective hours or 650 watt hours of power in a day. At 13 volts, that's about 50 amp hours in a day. 38 amp hours vs. 50 amp hours in a day is significant on a boat. Add more panels in the mix, say 400 watts and we see 152 amp hours vs.200 amp hours, a difference of 48 amp hours. This simple analysis does not take into consideration the impact of clouds or shading both of which will make the disparity even greater. Clearly, the higher the quality of the solar cells the more power produced over time.
How much solar power do I need on my boat?
It depends on how much power your boat uses and what you are trying to accomplish. Running a radio for an afternoon will use considerably less power than a refrigerator, lights, water pump, and a computer while living aboard on an anchor. Sizing your solar system is not an exact science and it may be best to leave space on your solar controller to size up as needed. As they say, you can never have too much power! An abundance of power is much more fun than a deficit. We have a google docs sheet available for edit to help you figure out the power you need, see it here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1CnNTXkCZ6kqdcLZ_kXOVL3F_L_zgdWxvnv8pe7XjC8A/edit?usp=sharing Of course feel free to call us any time to discuss your needs, we've built hundreds of solar systems and are happy to share our knowledge.
Can I power my refrigerator with a 120 watt panel?
Most likely yes. It will depend on the battery bank you have to run it when the sun isn't shining. Refrigerators on boats are one of the most frequent uses for solar power. Here is a google docs sheet available to help you figure out the power you need on your boat: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1CnNTXkCZ6kqdcLZ_kXOVL3F_L_zgdWxvnv8pe7XjC8A/edit?usp=sharing Generally a refrigerator on a boat draws 5 amps.
Call 248 705-8337, 773 965-2546 or email [email protected]
Link To Our Article On How To Size Your Solar Panels For Your Boat
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