Thursday, May 24, 2012

We have Solar!

Yesterday we picked up two 240w solar panels and the controller. Had the mounting hardware and wire all ready, so it was a relatively easy task of bolting on the panels last night and finishing hooking up the wire this afternoon. Early results: Impressive. We have 480w of solar panels, and right off the bat it was dumping 25.5A into the batteries. At the then 13.95v that comes to 355w delivered! Remember, this is May - and these panels are not oriented for optimal production - instead they are laying flat.

I still need to connect a computer to the controller so we can set up the data-logging capability. But once have that done will be able to log (and report) in great detail the energy production of these two panels up here in the PNW!

Kristi was busy taking photos,
These things are BIG - 65" x 38"

Everyone on the dock was lending a hand.

Here they are, all in place

Amps increased as we got closer to Noon!

Details of the system:
    2x  REC-240 Solar Panels @ $394 ea = $788
    Morningstar 45 MPPT controller         @ $425
    Mounting Hardware and Wire:             @ $619
   Total System Cost:                               $1,832
   Less 30% Fed Credit                              $550
   Final Cost                                            $1,282

As always, the Small Stuff adds up. Hardware and Wire being a significant cost. But the big ticket items are the panels.

As mentioned in a prior post one can source these for around $1/watt - however you will need to add in shipping. Expect $250-300 for shipping a panel or two - it is the size that counts. I contacted a local solar company: They were more than happy to add two additional panels to a large order they were placing, and gave me a fair price on the Morningstar controller as well. I figure I paid about the same as mail ordering these, plus I got to support a local business!

One hint: When you order panels, make sure to also order jumper wires. There are a few different 'connectors' used on Solar panels and you need to make sure you get the correct ones on your pigtails.

With the 30% federal tax credit, and the rather high cost of generating energy using our small Kubota generator, I figure we will get an ROI in about a year and a half. Will know more after we get some actual data to look at.

But for now, I am very happy! (Plus, I am surprised how well the panels blend into Viking Star. Walking around, they really are not that offensive in their looks)

The view from afar

To see more about these, including performance - click on the Solar label on the right.


  1. They look good, I and when you look at the boat from the dock, you can't even see the solar panels. I am glad that they are working out so well for you all!

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