Solar Power

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I've been indecisive about going the wind generator or the solar route for the new Zanshin unit June 2014 and finally opted to try solar power. The new generator of ultra-thin and flexible solar panels appealed to me and I finally decided to get panels from Solbian solar panels, manufactured in Italy, through their U.S. distributor Bruce Schwab in Maine. I had the panels shipped to St. John and proceeded to install them in a temporary fashion as quickly as I could, since I'd been running the generator an hour a day for the past months and wanted to reduce the generator runtimes as well as to allow the batteries to get a full charge every once in a while.
Soon after I received the panels I put Zanshin into storage and it wasn't until March 2015 that I ordered additional panels and proceeded to make a permanent installation. The first step was to prepare the boat for 2 CP125 panels to be glued to the foredeck. Since the genoa sheets flop around in this area I didn't want to get the panels with control boxes on top but wanted to glue the panels in place with the wires going out the bottom so that no protuberances could catch any lines. The holes had to be measured carefully, as the somewhat flimsy leads from the read of the panels were not in the same location on each panel. In the end the holes I drilled and filled in the hull were in the right location and with the help of Andy from Five Star Yachting the two panels were glued in place. I had run the wiring inside the boat, an exercise that included me taking off a lot of the headliner and pulling 10AWG wire through some tight places.

Unpacking solar panels It is like Christmas, unpacking my 3 new solar panels and controllers
(2015-02-27 16:43:06 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/16.0, 1/60s] ISO 640)
Unpacking solar panels
Solar installation - epoxy The panels to be mounted in this location have power tabs on the back and these holes are for the wires coming off the bottom of the panels. The holes are drilled, wooden core epoxied and then plastic tubing has been inserted and epoxied in place to prevent water ingress.
(2015-03-12 15:42:30 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.6, 1/3200s] ISO 200)
Solar installation - epoxy
Solar MPPT Controller panel The 6 panels each have a dedicated Genasun controller to optimize power generation. Each controller has a small shunt attached so that I can later measure each panel's output.
(2015-03-02 16:22:51 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.6, 1/8s] ISO 100)
Solar MPPT Controller panel
Final caulking of the Solbian panels Andy from Five Star Yachting doing the final work of sealing the edges of the Solbian panels on Zanshin with 3M 4200
(2015-03-15 11:03:45 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.6, 1/800s] ISO 160)
Final caulking of the Solbian panels
Constructing the controller panel The solar controller panel (previously a big cutting board) is taking shape as I add cables and parts.
(2015-03-02 15:27:24 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.6, 1/60s] ISO 100)
Constructing the controller panel
Flexible Solbian panels on the dodger The semi-flexible Solbian solar panels are affixed to the dodger by means of Velcro strips sewn into the cloth and glued to the panels.
(2015-03-21 15:49:41 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/22.0, 1/30s] ISO 100)
Flexible Solbian panels on the dodger
Shiny solar panels The flexible Solbian panels have just been cleaned and given a protective coat before being Velcro'd to the dodger.
(2015-03-21 15:46:57 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/16.0, 1/50s] ISO 100)
Shiny solar panels
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