With its Bali line of catamarans, the French Catana shipyard has created a highly successful portfolio of cruisers with innovative features, making best possible use of the available space. For being able to spend multiple days at anchor without the need of starting the engine for electric power generation, we have developed a made-to-measure photovoltaic system covering the forward area of the salon roof.
Mechanically highly resistant Solbianflex SR series panels are perfectly suited for walkable solar installations. Cells with a total power of 538Wp have been arranged to match the shape of the forward nonskid areas, integrating neatly into the design of the boat while maximizing the use of space.
Two separate Victron SmartSolar MPPT charge controllers together with ten laminate-integrated bypass diodes minimize the impact of partial shading, the string layout has been optimized for shade from mast and sails. Due to this optimization, up to 50% of the panels can be covered without major impact on the rest of the system’s performance.
All wires are fed through deck directly below the solar panels, creating an invisible and waterproof connection to the inside of the boat where they are following hollow structures to the battery compartment. This not only results in completely invisible wiring, it also protects this vulnerable part of the installation mechanically. The lens structure of the panels’ topsides optimizes heat dissipation and makes the panels safe to walk on even in wet conditions.
Together with other surfaces on the salon roof we have realized systems with up to 1.302Wp on the Bali 4.0 and 4.1 which have identical top structures. The standard system with 538Wp usually delivers sufficient energy to run all appliances onboard except the air-condition. In summer, it charges between 160 and 250Ah on a sunny day, enough for all fridges, light, instruments, autopilot and small electric devices such as smartphones and laptops.
Panel series: SR
Battery voltage: 12V
Battery type: Gel