Installing a Solar Panel with Velcro! | iTechworld

Installing a Solar Panel with Velcro!

iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w solar panels are a unique product that fill a great niche for the marine market. They are thin, light and efficient. They are also semi flexible making them quite versatile in mounting options.
In the photo above we see an iTechworld 120 Watt Semi Flexible panel is being laid out to be used on canvas. My canvas maker decided on Velcro for the fastening of the panel to the roof. The entire panel weighs just 1kg direct mounting to most soft canvas tops makes this a very neat and tidy fitment.
As you can see by the photo the iTechworld 120w Semi Flexible panel is very thin. Unlike previous armorphous "flexible" panels the iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w Solar Panels are monocrystalline. This makes them about half the size of a comparable armorphous panels and because of their American Sun Power cells makes them very efficient for the real estate they take up.
The benefits of an iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w Solar Panel is that it can be unique and specific to canvas installations. Are these panels more expensive than traditional panels? Yes certainly, $250 vs. approx $149 for hard frame, but you can often save more money using an iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w Solar Panel than by using a traditional rigid panel.
Things to consider:
#1 Light weight means it can be affixed to most any Sunbrella type canvas or dodger (consider shading on dodgers).
#2 This weight savings usually means the original canvas frame is more than strong enough for the added weight of the iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w solar panel. The last rigid solar panel I installed, in the 120W range, weighed 10kg. This was just the weight of the panel alone and did not include the extra stainless tube, fittings & aluminum framing needed for attaching it to the canvas. When all was said and done this single 120W panel added over 20kg pounds to the top of the canvas. The iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w Solar Panel added perhaps 2kg total. That is a huge weight savings.
#3 When fitting a traditional rigid panel to a canvas roof, a frame needs to be custom built at the expense of the fittings, stainless tubing and the aluminum support frame for the rigid panel. This can run into the hundreds of dollars in just supplies not including custom tube bending/crowning etc. etc..
#4 When fitting a rigid panel to a canvas roof it often needs to be converted to a full strapless type setup. The fittings and stainless tube for this add even more money to the install.
In this photo you can see two 120W iTechworld rigid panels installed onto a custom built frame. The owner had this fully custom frame built to fit over the existing canvas roof in order to support the weight of this 240W array. The cost of this installation far exceeded what the cost would have been to install two iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w Solar Panels. More than twice as much to be exact.


Richard of Rockingham W.A decided that dual Velcro, both top and bottom, with a lapel was the best method to attach the panel to the canvas. Suffice it to say it is a very, very robust attachment.
The owner of this boat, an avid offshore voyager, has been caught in off shore storms before and wanted a solar option that allowed the easy removal of the panel. He also did not want a panel with a bulky, sharp aluminum frame to try and stow below in rough seas or for storm prep.
Here you can see the Velcro lapel affixed to the panel.
This iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w panel will easily stow below a berth cushion and not even be noticeable. He also did not want to re-invent his canvas frame which was simply not strong enough to support the weight of a rigid panel.
This picture shows the panel bottom Velcro and the top Velcro. The lapel is simply folded over the panel to button it up.
Also take note of the slim profile of the panels compared to my fingers. When stowed beneath a berth cushion you are barely able to discern a bump in the foam. This is a very nice feature of the iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w Solar Panels. There are also no sharp edges to scratch a beautifully varnished interior.
Notice the canvas pouch created for the wiring to go.
This keeps everything neat and tidy but also gives easy access for to essential cabling for when moving the panel. An Anderson plug is going to be fitted to enable the panel to be removed at any time.

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Article author

Ian

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