We basically never turn the freezer
(or the two frig's) off and we're substantially OK on solar only (2 x 327W panels) when on anchor
and even when underway with the autopilot
and chartplotter(s), altho underway the sails
often shade the panels
enough so that some generator
supplement is needed. Of course if it's heavy overcast -- light cloud only slightly inhibits the panels
, but they'll still cope with our demands -- then we need the generator. We can even sail overnight without the generator if the batteries are full approaching sunset.
In practice, we use the generator not so much for the batteries (although that obviously assists when appropriate) but rather for hot water
and the toaster...
Pics of our panels follow, but if anyone's considering the rigid panels, it would be better to orient them north/south, rather than east/west as we did. The north/south orientation provides more shade below and (most importantly!) more 'footprint' that allows more panels.
...and now a word from the sponsor
For Australian mariners, we supply (and of course use ourselves, both on our vessel and at home) SunPower panels, the best available in both lab conditions (officially rated efficiency) and all 'real world' applications, e.g. overcast, high temperatures, low sun angles. Several of our customers are CF members and there are posts with pics of their vessel installations (all north/south...and all with more panels!
) available on CF.