Flexible Solar Panel Issues
Flexible Solar Panels get hot
Solar panels get hot from normal operation upwards to 160ºF! The hotter they get, the less efficient, and the shorter their life span. Our flexible solar panel mounting solution using our twinwall polycarbonate solution solves this issue!
Flexible Solar Panel Crystals can Crack
Placing of a Solar Panel across Bimini or Dodger bows without additional support is not recommended by panel manufacturers. Doing so can crack the cell crystals leading to failure or even catch fire.
Additionally, when flexible solar panels that are affixed directly to canvas without support, oscillation induced by high winds causes is crystal cracking. Think of a flag flapping. How many times have you seen your Bimini flap during a summer squall, or frontal gale? That flapping is transferred directly to the flexible solar panel and subsequently causes crystal cracking. Our flexible solar panel twinwall polycarbonate mounting solution solves these issues!
Here at Potomac Sailmakers we are boaters first. We sat down with a major Flexible Solar Panel manufacturer and discussed the matter at the Annapolis Boat show last fall. The result was a design that meets the following specifications:
- Is lightweight
- Supports Flexible Solar Panels Across Bows
- Provides cooling which increases efficiency and panel life longevity
- Quickly removable
- Secure in heavy wind and sea conditions
- No Leaks
- No Screw hole penetration through canvas
- Makes handling and stowage safe (solar affixed to backer as “one” unit)
- Provide Chafe Protection
Solar Panel Mounting Assembly
Meet the Potomac Sailmakers’ flexible Twinwall Polycarbonate bolt-on Flexible Solar Panel Mounting Kit. It starts with a vented lightweight & strong twinwall polycarbonate substrate that is custom cut to the dimensions of the Solar Panel. It is affixed to the panel by either mechanical and/or special high temperature adhesive tape. This becomes a single solar panel assembly that now nearly impossible to over flex which would cause damage to the solar panel crystals.
Next we fabricate side fabric side rails for both “long” edges of the panel; assembly. These serve the dual function of securing the unit to the canvas and providing chafe protection. The side rails are sewn to the canvas and are secured to the solar panel assembly by high temperature velcro. On both short edges, we fabricate screens which provide chafe protection and allow panel ventilated cooling while keeping small insects out of the air vents. This kit is offshore ready and strong enough to securely hold panels in gales, rough sea conditions, summer squalls. We use Top-Gun® fabric on the rails which provides excellent chafe and UV protection.
One of the great benefits of our system is that the solar panel assembly is quickly removable!
1. Our Kit, we sew – Send us your Canvas or drop it off at our loft and have us sew the rail kit on. We will return the canvas, the custom cut twinwall polycarbonate, mounting tape (solar panel to twinwall), velcro and any other options you want. You can even ship us your solar panel if you wish for a complete turn-key solution.
2. Our Kit, you sew – We provide our complete sew-on kit and you sew it on or have your local canvas shop sew it on
3. DIY – This “non-sew-on” installation an be via a through-bolt kit such as is offered by Custom Marine Products or your own method.
Storage Bag – custom made storage bag for PSOLMA© when it is not mounted.
Batten supports – These are custom sized battens that go underneath the canvas and rest on top of the bows. They keep the panels from depressing the canvas thereby preventing pooling of water and associated debris and providing a more professional streamlined look. The battens are held in place by chafe resistant straps that wrap around the bows. The battens are strong laminated vinylester pieces with end caps that we also use on our small boat racing sails.