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!
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