No matter what brand of solar panels you choose, simple physics will lower the production when the panel is not angled towards the sun. If you live in the northern hemisphere, you might for example find yourself in the situation where the sun is 45 degrees over the horizon on the south.
If you then instantly compare a solar panel lying flat on the ground with a solar panel directed towards the sun you will notice more than 30% drop in production.
This will trigger even the least competitive person. But please stay calm, we would like to share some further knowledge. IF you would measure on the two panels mentioned above over an entire day you would only get an 11% drop in the total production for the panel lying flat on the ground compared with the panel angled 45 degrees towards the south. This is because of the sun’s movement over the day.
This is GREAT NEWS for all of us planning to put solar panels on moving boats and vehicles. One can safely attach solar panels on top of the vehicle or boat. The most practical and safe solution is still almost as good energy-wise as any of the more inconvenient mounting solutions.
Of course, the most efficient solution would be a solar tracking system, this is often found at solar power plants. A tracking system is usually expensive. If you plan to fit the solar panel on a pole and manually adjust it, please consider that this would mean that you have to set the alarm and every hour from dusk to dawn adjust the panel manually. This if you want to get the benefits from tracking the sun. If you find this complicated you will then have to choose between leaving it horizontally or slightly angled towards the south (as long as the boat is not moving). The Pole has then mostly lost its purpose except for possibly be kept away from some shadows.
At SUNBEAMsystem we truly believe that solar panels should be something you install and then forget. The best solution for your energy problems but also the least troubles. Hence we only build lightweight panels built to be fitted on a firm surface. Our panels are not built to be fitted on a pole, but we do offer the QuickFix model and the Sunzip upgrade for the same. This will allow you to fit solar panels on top of any type of Canvas like a tent, bimini, or sprayhood/dodger. The fittings are semi-permanent and will only come loose when you want to.