Mounting a solar panel on a wind generator pole

webcraft

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Our Aerogen4 needs new bearings and swivel, and for the same cost and a lot less hassle I can get a 100W rigid solar panel.

The robust pole that has held the heavy Aerogen aloft for 21 years or more provides an ideal site.

How to mount it on the pole, though? Preferably so it can swivel in all directions to track the sun as required.

Has anyone else done this, and how did you go about it?

- W
 

doug748

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I have done this with a 10W panel using the head from a camera tripod fixed to a sheet of 10mm acrylic with the panel mounted flat to the acrylic sheet.
Works fine but the pole is very short, hardly a pole at all and a 10W panel only measures 10in by 14in. It might work for a 20W panel but, in my view, that is getting near the limit on a single pole of some height.
 

searocket

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On the transom I have a 100W flexible panel mounted on a carbon fibre tube via a windsurfer flexible diablo. The panel is fixed to a (lightweight rigid ) cored fibreglass base with a M8 bolt in the middle.The diablo has an M8 threaded core. The CF tube also has an M8 bolt. Then 4 adjustable lanyards on each corner of the panel. The panel can be orientated to any angle.
It's a French idea.
 

webcraft

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I have done this with a 10W panel using the head from a camera tripod fixed to a sheet of 10mm acrylic with the panel mounted flat to the acrylic sheet.
Works fine but the pole is very short, hardly a pole at all and a 10W panel only measures 10in by 14in. It might work for a 20W panel but, in my view, that is getting near the limit on a single pole of some height.

I'm planning a 100W panel
 

webcraft

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On the transom I have a 100W flexible panel mounted on a carbon fibre tube via a windsurfer flexible diablo. The panel is fixed to a (lightweight rigid ) cored fibreglass base with a M8 bolt in the middle.The diablo has an M8 threaded core. The CF tube also has an M8 bolt. Then 4 adjustable lanyards on each corner of the panel. The panel can be orientated to any angle.
It's a French idea.

This sounds great, but . . .

My pole already exists, is strutted and has supported a very heavy Aerogen4 for over 20 years. It is maybe 50mm diameter. I would be happy to use a rigid panel.

I need a way of installing some sort of UJ I can mount a support frame on.

- W
 

Roberto

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On the transom I have a 100W flexible panel mounted on a carbon fibre tube via a windsurfer flexible diablo. The panel is fixed to a (lightweight rigid ) cored fibreglass base with a M8 bolt in the middle.The diablo has an M8 threaded core. The CF tube also has an M8 bolt. Then 4 adjustable lanyards on each corner of the panel. The panel can be orientated to any angle.
It's a French idea.
+1
Very common on Mini650 class boats. Google Images search may offer a few variations on the subject.
 

Minerva

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My only advice would be to go for a flexible panel mounted on a frame for rigidity.

I suspect a normal glass panel would break in short order being supported from one point and subject to the expected flexing / wind load would encounter.
 

webcraft

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Could give you additional sail area till it rips the pole out of the deck.
The 11kg windgen has spun in 80kts with knackered bearings. The pole is solid.

A uj-mounted solar panel could be turned sideways and feathered.

That all said, what would be your recommendation for maximum panel size?

— W
 

webcraft

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My only advice would be to go for a flexible panel mounted on a frame for rigidity.

I suspect a normal glass panel would break in short order being supported from one point and subject to the expected flexing / wind load would encounter.

It would not be supported from one point, it would be on a rigid frame that itself was mounted on the UJ

Flexible panels soon break down if allowed to flex too much. They can be given sufficient rigidity by mounting on twinwall polycarbonate. I have used this solution for guardwire-suspended panels, but I don't think it would be strong enough for this application.

- W
 

webcraft

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On the transom I have a 100W flexible panel mounted on a carbon fibre tube via a windsurfer flexible diablo. The panel is fixed to a (lightweight rigid ) cored fibreglass base with a M8 bolt in the middle.The diablo has an M8 threaded core. The CF tube also has an M8 bolt. Then 4 adjustable lanyards on each corner of the panel. The panel can be orientated to any angle.
It's a French idea.

What size panel?

— W
 

doug748

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Why?

— W


Windgens feather to the wind nicely but, with flat panels, I worry about the windage, particularly if the thing gets out of sync and the breeze gets under it, in big waves or gusty winds.
Your post is sturdy but I would still imagine there is scope for things to get flexible leading to vibration in poor conditions. A four foot by almost 2ft panel is going some, searocket's lanyards in post 2 would be essential and a simple idea starts to get complicated.
 

webcraft

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Windgens feather to the wind nicely but, with flat panels, I worry about the windage, particularly if the thing gets out of sync and the breeze gets under it, in big waves or gusty winds.
Your post is sturdy but I would still imagine there is scope for things to get flexible leading to vibration in poor conditions. A four foot by almost 2ft panel is going some, searocket's lanyards in post 2 would be essential and a simple idea starts to get complicated.
 

webcraft

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OK, I will just mount it flat and fixed, like a solar arch but only one pole. Less efficient for sure, but should be able to make it pretty solid.

Yes?

- W
 

Ammonite

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Mine is similar to this but a more robust bespoke stainless steel fabrication by a previous owner, although the angle is fixed at c. 30 degrees from horizontal. This is obviously a compromise but means you can leave it in place whatever the weather, something I would not want to do with most of the off the shelf versions I've seen. The clamp is loose enough so it will swivel but not so tight it gets blown about and sits on top of a ring that prevents it sliding down the pole. It's a very robust construction as it supports a D400 which is a lot heavier than your windgen. The pole is bolted to the transom and pushpit with two additional braces below the panel. It works really well.
Amazon.com
 
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Martin_J

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I use the NOA mounts for my smaller panels which are mounted on the pushpit rails..

They are very well made but not the sort you want. .

However, NOA do make a pole mount kit as well, so something should be possible.

Perhaps this can give you ideas..
Noa Solar Panel Turning Pole Mount with Deck Fitting | Force 4 Chandlery

And the Seamark Nunn website even has a photo which shows it in use (and shows it in more detail).

NOA Turning Pole Mount for Solar Panel 40mm

NOA make them for a 30mm, a 40mm or for a 50mm diameter pole...

Screenshot_20240605-002250_Samsung Internet.jpg
 

William_H

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The first thing for OP to decide on is the ability to turn the panel to the sun assuming it will be angled about 30 degrees. He would presumably want to be able to turn the whole pole from the bottom. Probably not so easy on the wind gen pole.
The various links to commercial products can give him an idea for actual panel mounting.
However the above concerns re the size of the panel 100w would seem valid purely on a gut feeling of strength versus wind resistance. Plus it might look terrible on all but a large boat. ol'will
 
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