We knew we needed to upgrade the Solar Arch to have brand new solar panels, but also more solar panels. We determined we needed to have 8 to 10 solar panels in the final arch.
Ernie chose to use AL pipe welded into a frame. We became concerned over the span and flexing so we looked for ways to reinforce it. I came up with putting a storage box under the panels like many fishing boats have above their helms. The box provided the needed stiffness as well as a great storage space and place to run wiring for all the things that would be eventually mounted on the arch.
Installation involved bolting it to the deck and then looking for ways to continue to stiffen it. We arrived at a very workable solution, but didn’t get it sufficiently sealed so we have some leaking through the deck holes that still needs to be addressed.
There are many ways to hook this many panels up and Peter Kennedy from PYCS was instrumental in helping me into a great solution. We chose to have 5 strings of 2 panels in series. This provides the controllers with sufficient voltage to adequately charge the batteries. By using more controllers we get around shading problems as we might lose use of 1 or more panels depending on boat and sun orientation.
Having this much structure on the stern of the boat opened up all sorts of possibilities to store and mount things.
So far we have:
- The dinghy motor and lift
- Fishing rod storage under the panels but overhead
- 4 Trolling rod holders
- Cup holders
- Dinghy anchor storage
- Boarding ladder storage
- Life Sling mounting
- Stereo Speaker Mounting
- Sail trim light
- Swim deck light
- Light for water in back of boat
- and adding more as we go…..
So again having this much area provided us mounting support for many of our RF needs
- GPS Antenna for AIS
- GPS Antenna for Autopilot course Computer
- SatCompas & GPS
- RADAR/ STARLINK Mount
- Iridium Go! antenna
- VHF Cockpit Antenna