The hemorrhaging continues
The hemorrhaging of our bank account continues. As our time in the US is drawing to a close, we decided to once again take advantage of our friends’ house as a ship-to location and order an additional solar panel. We have always intended on adding additional solar to ZTC but we decided long ago to wait until getting to the US from Canada to save on installation costs and shipping. Now having the 3 – 50 watt panels on our bimini functioning (in some capacity) has definitely inspired us even more to get this done.
There are multiple websites where discount solar panels can be purchased, with various brands being offered for sale. For all I know they are all made in the same factory and rebranded with different labels. We decided to go with the popular 135 watt Kyocera panel from AltE Store. I shopped through their website selecting both the panel and a charger that I thought would be appropriate but rather than ordering online, I decided to call the company to speak to a rep to make sure that I wasn’t missing anything critical. I’m glad I did. The controller I had initially selected was a MMPT* controller which apparently uses some kind of voodoo to increase the output of the panels (feel free to chime in here Matt Marsh). When I told the sales rep that I intended to run our existing panels and the new Kyocera one through the charger, he told me that MMPT units were not really so good for that. He then suggested that I get a non-MMPT charger which costs approx. 300 dollars less! No, it won’t have that special voodoo power, but it will work for our entire array. Oh, did I mention it costs 300 dollars less?
The panels were ordered at 1:00 PM yesterday and I received a tracking number from them by email around dinner time last night indicating that they were shipping. You can’t beat that! I did pay a bit extra for 3-day shipping so that hopefully we’ll have them in our possession by Monday and then can install them the first of the week. I am not at all sure how we are going to mount the panel, or even where the new charger is going to go. I guess we’ll figure out all those details once they arrive.
Here is how another PDQ 32 has a panel installed on their stern.
Positive amps from the sun… ya gotta love it. Even right now, in the early morning, we are seeing 2-3 amps coming in from our existing panels.
From the AltE website:
“Maximum Power Point Tracking solar charge controllers (MPPT) are different than the traditional PWM solar charge controllers in that they are more efficient and in many cases more feature rich. MPPT solar charge controllers allow your solar panels to operate at their optimum power output voltage, improving their performance by as much as 30%. Traditional solar charge controllers reduce the efficiency of one part of your system in order to make it work with another.”