Solar Panels for Boats
Introduction to Solar Panels for Boats
Solar panels are getting increasingly popular among sailors of both big and small boats. These will help to keep the batteries charged at sea and reduce pollution even when the boat is miles away from the nearest electrical hookup. The great thing about solar panels is the fact that they are getting cheaper as the years go by.
The Needs of the Boat
Before choosing which solar panels are the right ones for the boat, it is important to realise what the boats energy needs are. Make a note of all the power that is being used from the lights and appliances and then with a couple of calculations, it is easy to work out the boats’ needs.
Calculating the Wattage Needed
The simplest way of calculating what energy is being used is to take the total amps that are being used on the boat multiplied by the number of hours that they are running for. This number then needs to be divided by two to get the wattage that is needed for the boat. By doing this it makes it much easier to find the correct solar panels for the boat.
Different Types of Solar Panels for Boats
Not all solar panels are the same. For example, there are solar panels that can generate lots of power even in shaded areas whilst others cannot. Sizes are another factor that needs to be taken in to consideration. Obviously you wouldn’t go for a huge solar panel on the boat if the area available doesn’t allow for it.
- Monocrystalline - Solar panels using monocrystalline cells are great for generating electricity, they are fairly small but do not work well in shaded areas. For sailing boats, solar panels need to be able to generate electricity even in shaded areas.
- Polycrystalline - Solar panels using polycrystalline cells are pretty much the same as those using monocrystalline cells. One major difference is the fact that they take up even less area of the boat.
- Amorphous - Solar panels using amorphous silicon cells are not as efficient as those using monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells. They are bigger in size but do however, work well in shaded areas.
What is Needed
Most marine solar panel kits come with everything that is needed. This even includes the mounting kit to secure the panels to the boat. The kits usually comprise of the solar panels, a charge controller which regulates the charging of the batteries and stops them from overcharging, and batteries that store the charges that the solar panels have made. If any AC power devices are being used on the boat then an inverter needs to be purchased separately.
With all things considered, solar panels for boats are a great thing to look in to. There will be no more wondering where to charge the boat every time it is needed as everything is right there on the boat. They save time and money and there is no better way of going green.