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Sanyo HIT Double

Note: As of now (spring 2012) the double is out of stock.

One of the issues facing cruising sailboaters is having enough room for all the solar panels needed to run the boat.  The Sanyo HIT Double, a bifacial panel, makes the most energy per square inch of any solar panel available.  It does this by gathering light energy from the bottom as well as from the top.  So, if you are installing the panels on an arch or on davits, sunlight reflected from the water and/or from a white dinghy can be made into electricity.  These panels are rated at 195 watts, but that does not include the power that comes from the bottom because of the standard used to test panels. The back face of a HIT Double panel generates electricity from ambient light reflected off surrounding surfaces, and combines with power from the front face of the panel. Depending upon system design and amount of reflected light, this results in up to 30% higher power generation (more kWh) per square foot.

HIT bifacial solar cells are hybrids of single crystalline silicon surrounded by ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers, available solely from SANYO. The crystalline silicon is the most energy-efficient, and the amorphous is more shade tolerant, so this is a combination of the best of both worlds.

As temperatures rise, HIT Double solar panels produce more electricity than conventional solar panels at the same temperature, due to their low temperature coefficient.  So they work very well for tropical and subtropical areas!

Technical Info   BUY NOW

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Mage Solar

 Mage Power of Germany now in the USA with very attractive warranty and pricing

More power

Reliability is at the core of all of our solar energy systems. So is power. To that end,
MAGE POWERTEC PLUS modules use mono- and polycrystalline cell technologies. They keep the energy flowing and operate with an electrical cell efficiency of up to 17.3%. And it’s important to note that our modules boast allowable tolerances of up to +5 watts. Which guarantees maximum power without compromise. In fact, nominal power is always obtained and often exceeded. This gives us a distinct advantage over our competitors, whose modules may actually deliver less than the wattage they claim.

More quality 

on the subject of superiority, our 10-year product warranty is also in a league of its own, and easily surpasses those required by law. And MAGE POWERTEC Plus modules go far beyond competitors´standards with the the added guarantee that they’ll produce 90 % of their nominal power for 12 years and 80 % for 30 years. That´s three full decades of reassurance. In order to certify such high quality, we insist that our products meet or exceed the most rigorous North American and international  standards. What’s more, every MAGE POWERTEC Plus module must pass stringent optical, mechanical and electrical quality controls.

More security

It’s comforting to know that MAGE POWERTEC Plus modules can handle the toughest demands with regard to stability and corrision resistance. This is due to their engineered hollow-section frame and 3,2 mm (0,13 in) special solar glass. We also use high-quality EVA foil, which is ideal for embedding solar cells, while the weatherproof foil on the back of the modules protects against humidity. As a final security measure, we place a junction box with bypass diodes on the back of the module to avoid overheating of the individual solar cells (hot-spot effect). Our extremely robust modules resist a maximum pressure of 5,400 Pa (= 113 psf).

Product Info: http://www.magesolar.com/us/products/mono-and-polycrystalline-modules.html

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Aurinco Solar

 

Thin, Walk-On Solar for your Boat

• Efficient – monocrystalline silicon provides twice the power of thin film panels

• Ultrathin – All models are only 3/16″ (4.5 mm) thick

• Light-weight – ideal for racing, or for mounting on a bimini, dodger or other light structure

• Flat front – there is NOTHING protruding from the surface that can catch sheets, sails or your feet

• Snug-fit back – wires are recessed and protected in grooves, either mounted hidden through tiny holes to interior or without holes on top

• Rugged – sealed with a durable UV-resistant surface, salt water proof to IP67

• Step-on – you can step on the textured surface and add optional anti-skid strips

• Mount on curved surface – the narrow Bluewater modules are slightly flexible and can be installed to follow a curved cabin roof or deck

• Temporary use at anchor – mount on boom with bungee cords, then store under bunk or cushion while underway

• Partial shade resistance – an array of modules is less sensitive to major power loss from boom, mast and sail shadow than a large single panel

• Beautiful not an eyesore on the boat you are so proud of

 PAGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION — SPEC SHEETS & PRICES WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON or phone Hotwire at 727-943-0424.

It is very beneficial to reduce the load on your batteries (for example, by using LED reading lights, LED anchor lights, and other led lights for cruising sailboats…)  in order to reduce the watts of solar panels necessary to recharge your batteries.  

 

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Why I am not a Florida Licensed Contractor

In the state of Florida one of the requirements for a contractors license is verifiable work experience working  for  a contractor for at least three years.  I have never worked for a contractor, and while I thought it might be possible to get around that requirement when I took the tests, it looks like I will never be able to get the license because I won’t be closing our business and going to work for someone else.  I have other certifications; Airframe and Powerplant FAA Certificates, Bachelor’s in Education, ASE (automotive) Master Mechanic, USCG Captain’s License and others, none of which count (nor should they).  I do have 16 years experience working with wind and solar systems, mostly on cruising sailboats.  I have attended various manufacturer’s seminars, including UniRac, Xantrex, Outback,  Sharp, Sanyo, SMA, Morningstar, Southwest Windpower, and others. I stay in touch with new developments and give seminars on “Solar for Your Home”. (Nothing like lecturing in front of a bunch of people to motivate you to know what you are talking about!)  Historically, there have been rebates offered from the State of Florida and from Progress Energy. In order for your solar system to qualify for the  rebate, you will have to show that the system was installed by a licensed electrical or solar contractor.    I have contractors I work with who can do the installation.

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Plant City Install

UniSolar PVLs

Pictured is a system I “integrated” in Plant City, Florida.  For this roof, there is enough surface area to put down almost 6000 watts of solar panels.  Because the roof has little pitch, we were able to put modules on the East and West facing roofs with less than 10% loss in efficiency.   However, in order to keep the overall system efficient, we used two inverters, having two sets of strings with different number of modules in series.

  If you have a steel roof, with flat “pans” of at least 16 inches between the ridges, then you can put down flexible modules.  These UniSolar modules come with adhesive backing, are lightweight, and add no wind loading.

UniSolar PVL modules installed on steel roof.

West Roof
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Solar Incentives

There is a 30% federal tax rebate available.  It covers 30% of the installed cost of the solar system.  You must have a tax liability (you must owe taxes in that year) to take advantage of the tax rebate, but it does “rollover” (you can take the rebate in the following year).

Solar panel prices have fallen by more than 50% in the last three years.  The Florida Public Service Commision has influenced the state’s invester owned utilities into offering rebates for solar installations, typically $2 per watt.  With the utility company’s rebate and the federal rebate, there is a “window of oportunity” to get a solar system for very little cost.    For example: a 2000 watt system might cost $9,000 up front.  The Utility rebate = $4,000.  The federal incentive would be $3,000.  Your cost = $2,000.  If it saves you $1 per day, $365 year, that’s 5.5 years to recover the investment, for a system that should last over  25 years.  Depending on how you calculate your return on investments, this should be better than the stock market, even if you know how to invest there.

If you have equity in your home, you can borrow the money.  There are federal loan programs that can help.  Most bankers are not familiar with these, so you will need to do your homework.    Most solar distributors have loan programs (though not at very good rates).  There are lease-back programs, where you do not pay for or own the system, but get some of the benefits.  There may be available PACE (Property Assisted Clean Energy) where the loan is tied to your property, and the payments are through your property taxes.

Under Florida (pending, but in effect) statutes, the county cannot raise your property taxes because of the solar installation.  There is no sales tax on solar products.  Our insurance went up less than $100 per year when we included the solar system in our home owners.  Deed-restricted communities cannot prevent you from installing a solar system.

For more information about federal and Florida  incentives, see: 

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Solar System “Packages”

Nearly everything is included in these packages or “kits”.   Many more combinations of solar modules (panels), inverters and mounting packages are available.  Info from the vendors: http://www.sunwize.com/products/solar-grid-tie-systems-solar-installers.php    and    http://kyocerasolar.com/products/mygen.html

Some typical packages:

Kyocera MyGen MG-2    2160  WATTS,     KYOCERA 180 MODULES

Sunwize 999GTS033-Z     2112 WATTS,     SHARP MODULES

 

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Solar for your Home or Business – The Basics

There are basically two types of solar PV systems (Photovoltaic, solar electric as oposed to solar thermal where the sun’s energy is converted directly into heat): stand alone and grid-tied.   A stand alone system is where there is no power available from the grid, like a cabin on the woods, a flagpole or sign that needs light and is too far from the grid, or a gate opener or electric fence.  A grid-tied system has the advantage of not requiring batteries, and when there is more power being produced than is being used, the excess goes into the grid.  A good primer on the basic of solar systems is at:  http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/consumer/solar_electricity/basics/index.htm

In a grid tied system, the grid acts sort of like a battery, because in Florida (as in most states) the utility company is required to purchase the power back, and pay the same amount for that power as they charge for the power.  This is called “net metering”.  The net metering rules in Florida state that when you have produced more power than you use, the utility company credits your next month’s bill for up to 12 months, at which time they send you a check.  This makes sense, as the amount of power your solar system produces varies by the season.  A grid tied system is less expensive initially, because you do not have to buy batteries, battery enclosure, battery charger, cabling and related equipment.  A grid tied system is less expensive in the long run because the batteries have a limited lifetime and require periodic replacement.  Grid tied systems also have the advantage of gathering and using all the power your solar panels make, because any excess can go back into the grid.  Several of our vendors supply complete grid ties systems, see:  http://www.sunwize.com/products/solar-grid-tie-systems-solar-installers.php  or   http://www.kyocerasolar.com/products/mygen.html

In a stand alone system, the batteries are charged during the middle part of the day, and discharge somewhat at night.  If it will cost as much to bring the power lines to your property as the solar system will cost, then the pay back is immediate, with no power bills in the future.  Several companies make this kind of equipment.  One of the best is Outback, see:

You can also have a hybrid system, that is grid tied with battery backup.  If you live in a area with frequent power outages, this might be a good choice.  The batteries in a hybrid system could be expected to last longer than a stand alone system, because they are not being cycled (charged and dischaged) as much.  If you are considering a stand alone or hybrid system in order to have power during a hurricane, consider that typical golf cart batteries will need to be replaced about every 5 years.  A better choice might be to have a generator, especially a propane powered one (so the fuel does not go bad).

How much does it cost?   That depends on a lot of factors.  Prices of solar modules have come down a bunch in the last few years.  Roughly about $1 per watt for the panels and $1 per watt for everything else.    The federal tax rebate program pays 30% of the total cost, see: http://www.dsireusa.org/library/includes/incentive2.cfm?Incentive_Code=US37F&State=federal&currentpageid=1&ee=1&re=1    The system on our home provides nearly all of our power, not including the air conditioning.  Our system is about 2800 watts.  Our house is very efficient.  Our electric bills (when the A/C is not on, or used very little) less than $20.  A good way to calculate how much power you will get is available from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory: http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/codes_algs/PVWATTS/version1/US/Florida/ .

A great source of information is HomePower Magazine.  see: www.homepower.com