Great way to mount rigid solar over your bimini
We are constantly asked if a Standard Canvas Bimini can support rigid glass solar panels safe and effectively. The answer is a resounding ‘NO’.
Of course we all have dockmates who have loaded their bimini tops up with one or two solar panels and sailed the lakes for 20yrs with no issues. However, I have lost count of the number of stories I’ve heard that when these lake cruisers head south and into real ocean conditions….how fast a perceived ‘tested’ system is suddenly off the boat and sinking to the bottom. Finally a good solution if you don’t want a full blown arch.
See a detailed Catalina 42mk2 Project Blog on this solar install. Click Here
On typical DIY installs you will see the 1″ bimini frames tied in with tiny set screwed bimini deck fittings that just can not handle the dynamic loads of ocean swells and wave action, especially laterally. It may be okay in calm lake conditions but not for bluewater.
So the age old solutions to solar mounting has been; rear davit cross bars, lifelines, fwd deck or on top of the dodger. Our complete davit solar arch is by far the best solution however is not always an economical route. As such, we have developed a smaller and minimal arch for just solar panel mounting alone. This design is then tied into the sternrail pushpit for addition stability with solid 1″ struts (not pictured).
Below a Ticon 30 that was outfitted with two 320W CS3K Solar Panels by Canadian Solar. There was even space to integrate a GPS antenna mount.