The launching point with regard to a successful solar panel installation is simply assessing your requirements. We present right here a basic evaluation based on the test boat utilized for our recent report on choosing and installing a solar panel. A few values are actually from experience, and various other are accepted rules of thumb.
Search for the present draw of each and every piece of equipment (confirm with panel ammeter if available) and approximate the number of hours operated. Record the number and capacity of your batteries, recognizing that you can not draw below 50% charge without having reducing their life, and that you will rarely charge past 85% while away from the dock– consequently, just 35% of nameplate capability is actually usable. Finally, total your charging sources, featuring motor, wind, and solar. For solar, take the rated wattage x 5 hours/12 = amp-hours while on passage and wattage x 7 hours/12 = amp-hours while at anchor (sails do not shade and the boom can be rigged out to the side). This is far below the ranked capacity– sailors in the tropics will certainly do better, and sailors further north or cruising in the winter season more poorly– but this is an accepted starting point.
How many days can you manage with poor generation? Are you willing to cut back during the course of a lengthy cloudy stretch? Will you recharge at a marina or by running the motor every now and then? Long-term cruisers appreciate a wealth of power, while the occasional cruisers may be satisfied with less.
Every single AH (amp-hour) used possesses an actual cost in weight, panels, and dollars. In the event that you could minimize consumption by 50 AH/day you will definitely save a battery (the usable capability), a 120 watt panel, and possibly a mounting arch. The cost savings might be $500 and 150 pounds for just a couple of bulbs.
Lighting. Switch from incandescent to LED as well as fluorescent lighting, starting with the lights you utilize most. We utilize LEDs and fluorescent for the anchor, salon, and cockpit lights, but since we rarely run at night time, we left the running and steaming lights alone. Likewise, the deck light and many task lights remain halogen or incandescent; they are certainly not used enough to matter.
Go to sleep at night and get up along with the sun. Large savings in juice and even more time to play. The gas solenoid is actually a huge user for us; it runs the propane fridge and cabin heater, thus it is on for long hours, but we can turn it off at night or do without refrigeration from time to time.
Fans. Run them on low speed and also watch the hours. A wind scoop doesn’t make use of power. Instruments. Do you really need GPS as well as other instruments full-time on passage? Twenty years ago they didn’t even exist. Stabilize the sails to reduce the load on the autopilot.