catamaran pv array

1 Posts
Nov 6, 2015 12:24 am
catamaran pv array

I am installing a pv array on a 21 ft Wharram catamaran. Its function is to charge batteries to power an electric outboard motor.
System consists of:
    4 pv panels of 90 watts @ 12vdc (total 360 watts)
    4 golf cart batteries (6volts) wired in series for 24vdc
    Midnight solar "Kid" mppt charge controller
     2000 watt electric outboard motor @ 24vdc
 The panels are mounted so that at times I will fold one on top of another so that only 2 panels are charging. This will only be occasionally, most of the time all 4 panels will be in full sun.
  My question is which would be better, to wire the panels in series for nominal 48vdc or series/parallel with 2 strings @ 24vdc? If the array is in series and 2 panels are covered, does that stop the charging or does it carry on at 24vdc?
47 Posts
Nov 6, 2015 04:04 pm
Re: catamaran pv array

What an interesting question. While there is not one "right" answer, my instinct is to have 2 parallel strings of 24V, with a breaker for each string. When you have to fold up one string, open the breaker to take it completely out of the system, preventing any potential unwanted interaction between the 2 strings.

However, I know space is always at a premium, so I'm thinking the idea of wiring them all in series may actually work. Even with 2 blocked out, you'd still be at nominal 24V and enough to charge the battery.

I'm interested to see if anyone else has thoughts on this.
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