The physical job of installing the solar panels was not nearly as difficult as the job of deciding what panels and where to put them. I did a ton of research comparing flexible vs ridge panels, mono vs poly, series vs parallel, mounting them on the deck or bimini, building an arch, extending railings etc. I personally did not want to mount them on the bimini as it was so expensive and I worried about putting holes in it etc. I also learned that the flexible panels don’t dissipate heat well or last very long. But ridge panels are heavy and need a structure to mount them on. No perfect solution it seemed.
So what to do? Start searching Youtube for sailing blogs where they have added solar. I happened on to a great channel, S/V Ramble On.
After seeing their solution I thought it would work for our sailboat. So, first we had to extend our side railings to hold a 51″ x 26″ panel. We ended up extending the hard railings 48″ on both sides. The solar panel would hook to the railing via clamps and be able to swing out to face the sun.
The Youtube video that helped us so much: S/V Ramble On “Installation of Solar Panels“
We were able to extend both sides but one of the Renogy 175Watt panels was damaged so we had to send it back and wait for a replacement. One that we probably will need delivered to Buffalo where we are removing the mast to go down the Erie Canal. We hope to leave in the next 10 days. I don’t want to wait in Erie for a solar panel!!