Custom panel builds

willo

Solar Addict
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
430
I'm just starting to dig into the idea of a custom panel build. What do I mean?
Well, I've got this:
1655735520534.png
Which I've built using finished nidacore panels. It's the new hard bimini for my sailboat. It rocks in at 8 ft by 12 ft!
I've got three 550 watt panels I was planning to stick on here. I'll end up with the rear most hanging off due to the need for the shaped front end.
I am probably adding a small window/hatch toward the front so I can see the sail, but otherwise the front shaped area will be sans solar panel.

When I was in engineering school way back when, we had a solar car team.
1655735787896.png
This is just an example, but this is the kind of custom shaping that I'm interested in.
I'm interested in panelizing the forward area of the bimini. I may not bother, but it seems like a bit of fun to be had here.

I figure I could use the top as a mold, make up a fiberglass/resin backer that would mount perfectly on the bimini, and then build the array on that and build in some tabs to bolt it down. That would allow me to remove it if it fails without trashing my bimini - and it would actually let me build the custom array at home in my garage instead of in the boat yard.
 

BradCagle

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Joined
Aug 27, 2021
Messages
467
Nice!

I've got a box of raw sunpower cells, and the dog bones to connect them. I've wanted to build a custom shape, and encapsulate the cells in resin.

Nothing in particular yet, I guess I might get around to it some day :)
 

willo

Solar Addict
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
430
Without too much work I found 100pc of sunpower cells with tabs for $340 on aliexpress. That's really not bad at all. I'm thinking I can use my battery spot welder on these things maybe...
 

willo

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Joined
Apr 8, 2020
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430
hmm ok I found an older how-to vid, seems like just a solder job. not to bad.
Vid in question:
 

BradCagle

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Joined
Aug 27, 2021
Messages
467
Without too much work I found 100pc of sunpower cells with tabs for $340 on aliexpress. That's really not bad at all. I'm thinking I can use my battery spot welder on these things maybe...

I don't think you want to do the spot welder. The copper layer on the back of the cells is incredibly thin, and a spot wield will very likely FUBAR it.

They are super easy to solder. There's a solar car team that has a video on youtube, they show how to handle/solder them.
 

willo

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Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
430
Given the cell outputs, I'm digging this. The marinized cells are $$, but in reality they are just custom made with a frickton of resin on top so people can walk on them.
 

BradCagle

Solar Addict
Joined
Aug 27, 2021
Messages
467
hmm ok I found an older how-to vid, seems like just a solder job. not to bad.
Vid in question:

Dont use the flux like this guy says. It just get's all over the cells, and you dont need it anyway.
 

willo

Solar Addict
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
430
Love that vid, don't chew on your lead solder and you should be fine. :D
 

Hankaaron77

New Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
8
When building a solar panel how do you figure out the wattage and voltage? Is it a simple the wattage/voltage of each cell multiplied by the number of cells? Also, what are some good sources on alibaba or aliexpress? Thanks
 

aybabtme

New Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Messages
18
I've got a box full of Maxeon cells and I'm heading this way too for a custom fit on my sailboat's roach roof. However the big question I have is how to encapsulate them. Anyone has any insight?
 
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