I have saved more than $6000 in gas costs so far as a result of using solar
to power the entire boat. The key to good solar is to set the panels in an area that is free of shadows for at least five hours a day. I swing the boat at anchor
using a bridle
from the rode
to a midships winch
to move the shadow of shrouds, mast
etc away from the panels. For ten years I have run everything on solar exclusively. I have 24 AMPS at 14.2 Volts on a sunny day. I use a TRACE 40AMP three stage regulator
with temperature compensation. The batteries are 6V 220AH Trojan T 150 (4 of them), which gives me >400 AH of storage
capacity. Each day I put into the batteries about 120AH, which means I can take no more than 100 AH/ Day out of the batteries. To keep the consumption
down I use LED lights
for NAV and Interior
, Engel low power
freezer/fridge, etc. One panel is dedicated to NAV equipment, 7 to lights and house.
It is essential to use a solar regulator
that has adjustable three stage regulation or temperature compensation or both, otherwise the batteries will dry up when you are off the boat.
I also can run a microwave, a/c for an hour or so, TV, Computers
, SAtellite communications
. I use a TRACE 1500W inverter
from the panels is 6GA for about 8 feet round trip into a 30A breaker before the regulator and 4GA from the regulator to the battery
via a 60A breaker near the battery
. The reason for the large gauge wires is to prevent a fire from overheating
of wires. Also the ABYC standards call for 6GA solar wires (i think).
For a photo
of the Solar panels
go to www.waeshael.com
and click on the sailing link.
Hope this helps.