Well I have managed to mount the panels. The last few weeks have shown that you can get a helpful amount of energy from the panels. The array is 160 watts of amorphous silicone stuff which gives an output of around 6amps peak. We have regularly been getting between 4 and 5 so not so bad.
I finished the MK1 solar mount yesterday
and wired it in and turned it for the morning sun. I used the cut down
wooden mast with a topmast like fitting to take the mount. Rather tall
it is, I might have to have it a bit lower but we'll see. It is not
discreet, the panels are about the size of a full sheet of ply and wave
about 12 feet in the air.
It swivels so that I can point it
south, it tilts so that I can adjust it for the time of year. 14
degrees in December to 62 degrees in June. On the other hand 38 degrees
gives a pretty good summer - winter average.
We hit thirty knots
last night and I was up and outside in the wee hours. The wind noise
woke me, certainly different from normal. it moans round the panels.
The mount is a facsimile of an American design that (kindly) put their
engineering drawings on the net. They say it is good for 90mph. I have
done a fair copy, even using the same (T60) type of ally. I did go
down a size on the steel tube but I increased the thickness to
compensate. The weight and windage is certainly no more than you would
get from a sail so although it frets me it is no more than a steadying
sail really. If the whole lot comes crashing down I'll let you know!
I would like it to be a bit lower ideally but it's up now and I have lots of other things to do before sailing off this year.
Now to finish the solar hot water so I can have so time off for good behaviour!