a) extra power during daylight sailing,
b) the ability to operate the fridges, instruments and autopilot without having to worry about running down the batteries on sunny days (we have 3 fridges and one freezer),
c) less reliance on the Generator or engine to charge the batteries (redundancies).
The installation was simple, quick and easy. Quick and easy, because it was done by none other than Geoff Weir from Solarfuture, the Australian & New Zealand distributor for Solbianflex solar panels. Those solar panels are not only ideal for the harsh marine environment, but also very easy to install on a sailing vessel. Geoff simply put them via zippers on our existing Bimini. You hardly notice them at all, even though there are now 4 x 100 watt panels on our Bimini, giving us up to 33 Amps of additional charging power.
Geoff ran all four pairs of cables inside the bimini frame which made it a very clean and professional installation. Additionally, we have one regulator per solar panel which avoids a drop in output from other panels when one is partially shaded.
We had them now in operation for the last 2 months and they’re working a treat! A week ago, we’ve sailed from Pittwater/Sydney up to Port Stephens, a sail of about 10 hours. By the time we arrived there at sunset, the batteries showed 97% full. And this despite of having the fridges, all the navigational instruments as well as autopilot running.
We are very pleased with the performance of the Solbianflex Solar Panels and are very happy to recommend them to anyone contemplating solar panels for their vessel.
See below pictures of the hardly noticable installation!
Any comments about the above would be highly regarded.