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Old 05-03-2008, 02:29   #16
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I wonder what the cost would be to just have enough solar to topp off the last 20%. This would be hard to do if you had the refer going.
That is the hardest part. Unless you are running an Inverter with other appliances the 12 volt fridge is the one item that in a week is using most of your power. What type of fridge, how large it is, and the surrounding insulation are going to drive your energy budget. Similarly watermakers and auto pilots use a lot of power too. How you use ppower determines what you need. A battery monitor will help you identify your actual energy use patterns and then you can adjust some schedules and consider more efficient use patterns or equipment.

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Old 05-03-2008, 10:06   #17
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Disclaimer: All theory here, I have none of this.

I would think that wind AND solar is they way to go. And if you already have a genset, even better.

Many times you don't have sun: Bad weather, and I seldom see the sun out at night (not since that time at Haight-Ashbury the 60's anyway).

Some times you don't have wind.

How many times do you not have either? Seems like a combination would be the way to go. If you need X amount of power to keep going, for solar, you'd need at least 2X to compensate for night, or maybe 3X to also compensate for no sun for a day... Wind, similar, maybe 2X would be good enough? With both solar and wind, maybe 1X each or 1.5X each? And less if you can use a genset some of the time.

Having both would cost more, but if you can reduce the size of each, might not be much more. And less space needed for solar panels and maybe smaller blades and less weight for the windgen.

The ratios above are totally ficticious, but the general slant is probably there. Anyway, I'm just thinking outloud.


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Old 05-03-2008, 10:21   #18
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I agree that a combo is a good way to go. Problem is if you have already dropped a chunk of change into a genset. In hindsight I should have gone with solar panels wind generator and a honda generator.
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Old 05-03-2008, 18:23   #19
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The choice oof wind OR solar will vary of course with your cruising grounds, space available on the boat for panels and personal preference. A top LARGE blade wind generator in the Bahamas anchorages gave us the daily equivilent of 320watts of solar panels on average...60-80 amphours/day over time. Further into the trade winds we might have improved that a bit.
There is of course some extra noise with a wind generator. On the other hand, you can fit one to any boat and have no space worries or shading/loss of output worries.
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Old 06-03-2008, 14:47   #20
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HIGH COTTON has a HUGE CUSTOM ARCH with LARGE diameter aluminum over the stern that handles the dingy with davits, large area for SOLAR panels (which we don't have yet), KVH TV antenna and pretty much anything else we need to install..........the deck on the arch is probably 2' X 8'.

so finding space for anything is not a problem on this boat....... VERY CONVENIENT!
S/V High Cotton
"Had I known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself !!!
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Old 06-03-2008, 18:43   #21
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Hello High Cotton,

I have a kubota (25hp) genset and two 50 watt solar panels. I purchased the solar panels over 10 years ago and have never had a lick of trouble from them .... I figure they replace, on average, about 40 amp-hours per day back into the batteries (considering short days of winter / long days of summer and sunny days / cloudy or rainy days).

I also have an inverter with 130 amp battery charger so I can replace the same 40 amp-hours in about 20 minutes while I'm running the refer (AC) and making water (also AC) uses about 1/4 gallon per hour. Like I said I have the solar panels and they require no maintenance however, if they were to fail tomorrow, I wouldn't replace them.

One more thing, My Kubota gen-set can barely be heard unless you are next to or on the boat. It certainly makes a lot less noise than many of the wind generators I've seen (and heard) out there ..... and it only makes it for about an hour a day (Not 24 hours a day.

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