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Old 19-07-2014, 05:27   #16
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Another vote for both.... Wind gen while making passage, not enough room for adequate solar and susceptible to damage from seas and deck traffic. In a quiet anchorage, secure the wind gen, and break out the solar panels. Quiet and no worries about green water busting up panels and mounts.
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Old 19-07-2014, 05:47   #17
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Wind mills your only alternative when sun not present. There are some good (powerful AND silent) units around, e.g. the D400.

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Old 19-07-2014, 05:56   #18
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

My vote/opinion.

larger solar to supply a larger battery bank for storage, ditch the wind mill
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Old 19-07-2014, 06:06   #19
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

I've noticed that wind generators often create moderate to severe shading on solar panels when both are installed. On many boats it’s virtually impossible to avoid this situation. Probably a lot of people would be just as well off in terms of energy generation if they got rid of their wind generator and the shading that comes with it. Another solution would be to put the wind generator on a telescopic or demountable pole.
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Old 19-07-2014, 06:07   #20
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
My paradigm is that wind is good for higher latitudes and solar is better for tropics.

Don't forget that the efficiency of solar panels drops off a cliff at high tropical temperatures. Solar actually works really well in the summer time in high latitudes -- cool temperatures boost efficiency, and the long days extend the productive time. Where I am now (over 60 degrees N), it doesn't even get dark at night for a month either side of the solstice. And there hasn't been a cloud in the sky for a month. I believe output from solar would have been awesome -- had I not been so stupid as to ignore good advice and install a wind generator last year

So I think solar is good anywhere where it's at least not cloudy all the time. I've heard people say that average production from solar in the UK (over 50 degrees N) in the summer time is better than in Florida due to the combination of cooler temps and longer days.

People have all kinds of different experiences with wind, but my experience was that it was utterly useless -- I got no usable power at all out of a Rutland 914i despite using it in very windy places during windy weather.

That's only one data point, and YMMV, but if you ask me -- send the wind gens to Davy Jones and put in some solar.


Yes, as Ex-Calif correctly says, the big problem with solar is where to put it. That was the factor that made me go with wind last year. And the reason why I presently have neither wind nor solar -- just hydrocarbons -- a diesel generator.
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Old 19-07-2014, 06:23   #21
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
Here's a look at our energy production data for the last two 28 months:
Solar has produced 57% of our power (first 250W, then 410W and now 1380W)
Wind has produced 28% of our Power
Honda 2000 and Alternator produced 15% of our Power
Excellent date - How are you tracking this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Says the man living within a degree or so of the equator.

Get ten degrees off and the trades can generate a lot of energy when "the sun don't shine".
Everything is higher latitudes for me - LOL

Yeah - My brother is in Thailand/Malaysia - Even that bit north he has good windgen days.


Quote:
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Don't forget that the efficiency of solar panels drops off a cliff at high tropical temperatures. Solar actually works really well in the summer time in high latitudes -- cool temperatures boost efficiency, and the long days extend the productive time. Where I am now (over 60 degrees N), it doesn't even get dark at night for a month either side of the solstice. And there hasn't been a cloud in the sky for a month. I believe output from solar would have been awesome -- had I not been so stupid as to ignore good advice and install a wind generator last year

So I think solar is good anywhere where it's at least not cloudy all the time. I've heard people say that average production from solar in the UK (over 50 degrees N) in the summer time is better than in Florida due to the combination of cooler temps and longer days.

People have all kinds of different experiences with wind, but my experience was that it was utterly useless -- I got no usable power at all out of a Rutland 914i despite using it in very windy places during windy weather.

That's only one data point, and YMMV, but if you ask me -- send the wind gens to Davy Jones and put in some solar.


Yes, as Ex-Calif correctly says, the big problem with solar is where to put it. That was the factor that made me go with wind last year. And the reason why I presently have neither wind nor solar -- just hydrocarbons -- a diesel generator.
Your caveat about summer is important for a year 'round solution. But I get your point and agree with all.

Get as much solar as you can - within the bounds of aesthetically pleasing - I just hate the look of the "floating solar farm."

Maybe mount the windgen on the bowsprit and tell people it's the boat's propeller...
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Old 19-07-2014, 06:36   #22
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

This isn't a question about where to mount a wind generator. It's on a solid mount and I am not going to move it. Actually, if I did decide to ditch the wind gen, I'd keep the pole right where it is. It's got a crane I use for the dinghy outboard, and I was thinking of putting an 8 ft. VHF antenna on top of it and using it for a flagpole too.

And I have LOTs of room for more solar, which you cannot even see on our hard top unless you are someplace higher than the top of our boat. Not a visual "floating solar farm" at all. The wind generator is much more visible.
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Old 19-07-2014, 06:37   #23
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Sorry for the thread drift but it's so funny: about half the people that ask me about my wind generators (landlubbers) think they are for propelling my boat. Some think it's for pushing or pulling my boat others think the fan blows wind into the sails . Edit: and I confess I'll look them straight in the eye and tell them I can get at least another knot of speed when the fan is on
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Old 19-07-2014, 06:46   #24
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

I must say that we were strongly advised 'against' wind gens due tot he fact that we would be sailing with the wind from behind most times.

However, in the pacific we have had terrific wind most days and nights at anchor and I really wish we had done the install since our batteries could do with that little boost during nights.

Our solar panels deliver up to 50 AH in good sunlight ... should and could have put more of these on and kept the boat looking neat ... but I personally think I slipped up by not going with win gens.

I think that relying on wind to deliver good charge to the batteries would be a mistake, but ... they would be terrific to 'help things along', and sometimes, its just that little extra that keeps the voltage alive!
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Old 19-07-2014, 06:52   #25
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
. . .
Your caveat about summer is important for a year 'round solution. But I get your point and agree with all.
At high latitudes,you'll get bugger-all power out of solar in the winter time, of course.

I live on board a good bit in the winter in the UK, where I don't have any other home, and my boat is on a mid-river mooring with no power. I like to sail in the winter, too.

In the winter time at these latitudes you will be burning a lot of hydrocarbons anyway -- you have to heat the space, and you need electrical power to run the furnace even if the main fuel is diesel, and you have to heat water, etc., etc. Power demand is higher for other things, too -- like lighting. So it would be hard to be off-grid in winter at high latitudes without a good diesel generator. I run mine a few hours every day in the winter time.

In summer, however, you don't need heat or much lighting and you can really profit from solar. Long sailing passages mostly happen in the summer, and here solar can be really great (you can't run a diesel genset when you're under sail and heeling).

My father has solar on his boat, and he's practically self-sufficient in electrical power (admittedly his power needs are much more modest than mine). He shook his head when I bought my wind generator.
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Old 19-07-2014, 07:10   #26
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pirate Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

I sailed solar only and wind gen only.. given the choice..?
I'll go the wind route every time...
The ideal I found was a combo..
AeroGen's Rock.. quiet and efficient.
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Old 19-07-2014, 07:44   #27
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4arch View Post
I've noticed that wind generators often create moderate to severe shading on solar panels when both are installed. On many boats it’s virtually impossible to avoid this situation....

... Another solution would be to put the wind generator on a telescopic or demountable pole.
Ha, just picked up a cheap secondhand air marine. I was thinking exactly the same thoughts about how to mount it. The stern gets pretty crowded these days! I like to mount them on the centerline to keep them clear of people on docks. And also help protect them in a knockdown. Maybe a pivoting mount so they can be kept from shading the panels, and rotated to windward in a blow?

Having had a boat almost 100% wind and another 100% solar I prefer the solar by far for most situations. I found even around Wellington and cook strait that the windgen would not give much power in most anchorages. The wind being too gusty, or too light or too strong. When it did work it worked well, but the output was sporadic and I didnt have the battery storage to effectively use the extra amps.

At sea the windgen was great, but I was in the southern Tasman Sea in winter, heading west.

The amps coming in at night was nice back when we only had incandescent nav lights. Not such a worry for me now with my LEDs.

Some very nasty accidents have happened with windgens. Factor that in as well. Last thing you need in a blow is a chopped up bodypart.
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Old 19-07-2014, 08:30   #28
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
We are on year 7 of full time living aboard off the dock (at Anchor or Mooring) so 100% of our power comes from Solar, Wind, or the Honda 2000i generator/ engine alternator. Even as the the owner of the KISS Wind Generator, I still tell people to put as much solar on their boat that they can fit FIRST and then if you have budget and room install a wind generator. To me it's a bang for the buck issue and even as the owner of a Wind Generator company, I still view Solar as the first choice.

Here's a look at our energy production data for the last two 28 months:
Solar has produced 57% of our power (first 250W, then 410W and now 1380W)
Wind has produced 28% of our Power
Honda 2000 and Alternator produced 15% of our Power

Now our cruising and live aboard grounds are on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Sea of Cortez, and Morro Bay in California, which is not known as a windy area. Other than the useful percentages, what I think is important is that when one charging device was not putting out much power the other typically was, so there is some value in having power generating options rather than relying on one source.

It's great to be sitting on the boat at night in 20kts of wind and seeing Amps going into the battery bank, but it's also a bummer to be motoring across a dead calm Sea of Cortez and looking up at my $1500 wind generator/wind vane asking what's it doing up there! Right now, sitting here in the Morro Bay summer fog, my 1380Amps of solar is still putting out about 24Amps while my KISS is putting in 13-17Amps as the wind blows. So in the end, it's nice to have both because I was able to run my washing machine today from wind and solar.....nice.....
Rich,

Thanks for posting your opinion and data. I found it interesting and helpful.

Since you do have a large solar bank (1380) amps, would you please post a photo or photos to show how they are installed on your boat?
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Old 19-07-2014, 08:54   #29
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

A friend of mine was in Phoenix Island (no solar or genny) where the wind blew 24/7. He had too much juice coming out every day - no need to start his engine for 3 months. Today the same windgen is standing on the pole without blades. A common sight and end for many.

One boat just left for South Africa, gave overwhelming vote for solar. "Put as much as you can" he said. In the tropics it is the solar taking the lead. His D400 blades took off in a cyclone storm in Tonga. His watermaker is spectra giving 7gph with 8amps demand. So his set up of 500watts solar on top of bimini pumps out 20 amps on a bright sunny day here (tropics) enough to run the watermaker and fridge/ no freezer set up with no genset.

I would do put my money on more solar before trying to fix the windgen. One noisy bugger howling in the wind - I can feel the boat hums without the "brakes".

Anyway the entec genset shakes my world upside down!
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Old 19-07-2014, 09:00   #30
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

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We have no shortage of wind here. A day of less than ten knots is pretty rare. We seem to average around 15 knots in the summer, 20 in the winter.

So it sounds like the majority, so far, would put money into refurbishing an old wind generator instead of junking it and buying another couple hundred watts of solar.
It's all good! Good to have both IMO. Though when it's blowing day or night I rest easy knowing I have the ability to harvest energy from the winds
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