How to Select Marine Solar Panels
for Your Boat
Marine solar panels provide the necessary electrical current to charge your boat batteries while you are at open sea.
It allows for a longer stay at sea.
The stored energy is used to powered small appliances like boat lights, pump systems, safety lights, radios, tracking devices, GPS navigation, communication devices like cell phones, two-way communication devices and other small electrical appliances.
12Volt devices can directly be attached to the 12V battery bank while an
is used to obtain domestic voltages like 120Volts AC for AC appliances. Remember to use energy efficient devices.
A marine solar system does not differ from a residential one only for its hardware that has to withstand salt conditions and its working environment is in continuous movement.
Therefore boat solar panels cannot be optimal directed to the sunlight and a considerable amount of energy will NOT be generated by the panels. So you have to use larger panels to account for this inefficiency, about 20% to 40% larger panel capacity.
A marine panel is also exposed to salty sea environment and therefore extra attention need to be given to all the electrical connections, wiring and attachments hardware.
Protection against corrosion is a must to expand the life span of your investment. A more regular maintenance schedule is necessary.
The use of deep cycle marine battery with a marine
is recommended. These require nearly no maintenance.
The capacity of the alternative energy system for your boat, depends largely on the available space to install solar panels.
Here is how to size your system.
Take the wattage of each individual electrical device you intend to use and multiply it by the total hour it will be running.
The multiplication will give you the Watt hour usage for that device.
Do this for all the devices you intend to use. Then sum up all the Watt hour from all the devices and you will get a subtotal Watt hour usage (or energy usage) from your system.
Add 20% extra energy to this subtotal and you will get a total Watt hour usage. Divide this total by 2 and you will get the watt size of your system.
You can make your choice from two types of
, the normal hard type and the flexible solar panel.
The flexible marine solar panels can be mounted almost on any surface, while the hard panel need specific mounting type.
Whichever panel you choose, make sure you place it where no shadow can fall on it.
Cells that are exposed to shadows will draw current from the other ones thus reducing the overall power output of the panel.
The choice for your panel type is mostly dependant on your boat structure.
Study all the possibilities for different panel types for the various spots on your boat if there are more than one spot.
Remember that the hard type marine solar panels must be securely mounted to your boat so it won't tear off by the wind.
Solar panels are very delicate so remember to treat them with care.
On ocean liners and yachts these marine solar panels are usually installed on the top highest decks. On small fisher boats usually there is a small deck on top of the front (prow) of the boat others may have a roof, these spots can be used to install your panels.
Once you have decided which panel to purchase, don't forget to read all the materials that is included with your purchase, this to avoid all violations of guarantee terms.
Some manufacturers offer complete kit. This is an excellent way to start your boat renewable energy system. Besides you will save some money if you buy in kits. A solar kit usually contains, solar panel, marine battery charger, wiring and connections and some may include inverter.By purchasing in kit you have the certainty that all pieces match together.
Having a solar system on your boat can also be a life saving element. Even a very small one that can charge the batteries of your cell phones or your communication devices for in case you get stranded at sea. Be prepared you can never anticipate those unfortunate situations.
Go to Home page from this page Marine solar panels