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Old 02-06-2015, 20:47   #46
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Go solar and get a small Honda generator for backup for less cost than the whirlybird. The idea is to anchor in protected areas out of the wind. No wind=no electric generation. So basically, if you've chosen your anchorage correctly, the whirlybird will just sit there.... doing nothing.

We plan on adding Solbian panels to the Bimini within the month, if the company will sharpen their quote pencil a little more.

Wind doesn't sound like a good investment to me.
I agree with everything you posted, except for Solbian. Why not buy Renogy panels? They use Sunpower cells, and they're only $200 for a very compact 100w panel. More power per sq. ft. and more reliable.

I'm not a fan of wind gens, but if I did have one, I'd mount it high up on the mast, like on a top spreader.
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Old 02-06-2015, 20:52   #47
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

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Originally Posted by bailsout View Post
KISS= reduce your power needs by living, sailing more simply.
Excellent idea.

For you.

But screw it.... I want cold beer and meat for dinner sometimes instead of having to catch fish and it's easier to have frozen veggies in tupperware than to can the veggies and things like that mean running the 12 VDC Engel fridge/freezer. And I like being able to turn on the radar whenever needed and not worry about checking the battery monitor or starting the main donkey engine. In fact, it's nice to know that there's enough power to START the donkey if the dedicated starter battery goes kaputt. {You know...stuff happens.}

Big battery bank + {solar + wind power} = 21st damn century.

Capt. Cook did wonders, but he had a crew of, what, 120-odd people? And remember just how lovely life was aboard his ship for those "before the mast".
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Old 02-06-2015, 20:54   #48
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

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Solar is great...but are sailboats supposed to look like power plants with racks of panels soaring majestically above? I encourage big battery banks, properly designed high output alternators on the main engine and smart voltage regulators. Long voyages in the trade wind belts are often without sun, leaving diesel generated power a very cost effective alternative...not to be overlooked.
I dunno...

were they designed to have biminis on them? A properly installed rack of solar panels can look a lot like a bimini, even close up. You can make it as ugly or as pretty as you want, limited only by your imagination.
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Old 02-06-2015, 21:02   #49
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

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I know that solar has come down in price, but quality panels at less than $1/watt? I would be interested in where these are available.
SolarBlvd sells 230 watt panels for $1,375.00 for 10. That's 59 cents/watt.

If you want to buy a single panel, it's $147.50. That's 64 cents/watt.

They're out of stock today, but they have them probably 3 weeks out of the month.

Right now, they have the 250w panels for $2415.00 for 10. That's 96.6 cents/watt. I prefer the 230 watt panels.

A while back, I bought 14 Sharp 208w panels for 75 cents/watt.
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Old 03-06-2015, 00:09   #50
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

Many great answers; I can't find a wrong one, just different horses for different courses. But they seem to have all missed that you already have an AirMaax 300 that just needs mounting. Mount it. Particularly if you're heading down to my neighbourhood, mount it. The distances in the Pacific do mean some long passages. We missed Tonga (30 years ago) after a weeks sailing from Auckland without a sextant shot due to continuous cloud cover, so solar wouldn't have been useful. I'm a lot older and more conservative now and love to run a full suite of electronics all night on a long passage. There are heaps of rogue illegal fishing boats operating in the South Pacific and they don't announce their presence by lights or radar. So I end up running my radar all night.
When I finally give in and buy a catamaran, (handbrake pressure, she wants to be able to talk to me in the cockpit whilst she's cooking????), I'll depend on solar only because I'll have acres of space to mount the panels and two engines with big fridge compressors and huge alternators.
Mount it.
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Old 03-06-2015, 03:24   #51
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

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Originally Posted by bailsout View Post
KISS= reduce your power needs by living, sailing more simply.
Spoken like a true old salt. But this is the 21st century and I would say today's cruisers enjoy their life of comfort. If you wish to follow the cruising tips written about in the 70s or more recent, hobo types then good for you. Its when sitting in a far flung anchorage that you see nearly everyone has wind and solar. Don't get me wrong there are still some doing it rough, but when you give them a cold beer or can of Pepsi, you realise your power hungry vessel is a true home.

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Old 03-06-2015, 05:51   #52
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

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Big battery bank + {solar + wind power} = 21st damn century.
I'm with you overall. But there are some that seriously believe that boating should be like camping in a pup tent.
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:01   #53
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

Are you on a "sail boat" if so windage is a factor in the ability to sail forward. more panels more windage. more windage aft more weather helm, more weather helm slower forward movement. wind gen has less windage than one 150 watt panel and puts out 6x the power.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:18   #54
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

How are you calculating windage for a solar panel lying flat on a bimini or arch? Seems that would be much less windage than a 6' disk always vertical to the wind.

Output would depend on the specific windgen and solar comparisons - let alone the sun/wind expectations for any specific area.

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Old 03-06-2015, 08:49   #55
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

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You mean you rely on actively having power going into your battery bank 24-7?!

I did away with the wind generator after it threw a blade 100 miles South West of the Canaries and damn near took my head off. Solar just......... works! It makes no noise. It just sits there and makes power! What could be better than that?

The way solar technology is moving these days the panels are small enough, light enough and efficient enough that anyone who can't find space for them either isn't trying too hard or needs to seriously re-think their power system as a whole. It's almost not worth buying the really high quality panels, because they'll last for 20 years and by that time not only will hard panels be a thing of the past (give it two years in my view for this to happen on boats); people will just paint their decks with solar paint and job done.


About 3 years ago a friend got what was then a great deal on solar panels at about $1.30/W. A year later I went to the same place and got mine at less than $1/W ($90 for 110W). Today that place sells 200W for under $150 I believe. And in few years they will be probably selling but flexible ones even cheaper. Of course one can get better quality panels for twice as much but it makes no sense to overpay for something which will be obsolete in less than 5 yrs. Just like today's basic entry notebooks for $199 are light years ahead of a $2000 5 yr old ones. So even buying the cheapest one every year one is still way ahead of the game in the long run compared to someone keeping their high end notebooks 3-5 years (as most people do with pricey models).
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:49   #56
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

Don't believe I've ever read someone complain that they added solar and it slower the boat down
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:59   #57
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

Solar is more consistent than wind in most areas. Solar is quiet and maintenance free.

We are putting more solar but keep our wind gen for generating power whennwere sailing and the sails, heel shade the panels.

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Old 03-06-2015, 12:25   #58
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

When we had our new sailboat made we had two 100 watt solar panels and a German made wind generator, (Super Wind) installed. We also had a prop shaft generator installed that is just the perfect power plant when at sea. It is also a German made, low revolution, high amp generator. At 5 kts we put out 5 amp hours and at 8 kts we put out close to 20 amp hours. Sailing across the Atlantic we stayed at 100 percent power the entire passage while running most devices, 2 chart plotters, AIS, radar, fridge nav lights and so on.
This year before we go through the Panama Canal and off to the south pacific we will install 2 more solar panels, same size for those days west of American Samoa where sky's are far more cloudy than to the East and the trade winds do not always kick in. On days at anchor in the San Blas Island as the rainy season was coming closer we would loose about 8% of battery power at night. By adding two more panels we will go from making about 6 amp hours on cloudy days to 12 amp hours. With about 6 hours of real solar making in the tropics that should fill the banks even on cloudy days with no wind for the wind generator. What we did on those cloudy days was pull anchor go for a couple hour sail catch a few fish for dinner and then come back to the anchorage we were in or go to a new anchorage. We hate to run the engine while at anchor.
If you get the right wind generator they will make no noise even when it blows, not any you can hear from the cockpit or your neighbor can hear. At 23 kts of wind I can stand by the Super Wind wind generator and just hear a slight whir.

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Old 03-06-2015, 16:26   #59
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

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How are you calculating windage for a solar panel lying flat on a bimini or arch? Seems that would be much less windage than a 6' disk always vertical to the wind.

Output would depend on the specific windgen and solar comparisons - let alone the sun/wind expectations for any specific area.

Mark

Well when I'm under sail My boat heels. the panel is no longer horizontal. I put a 210 watt panel on the davits and add 4 degrees to the weather helm @ 60 deg to a 15 knot wind I put a wind gene on the mizzen and didn't register any change in the weather helm, in the same conditions.

Where are you putting a "6 foot diameter" wind genn.? The biggest I've seen is 50 inches. And no it's not the same as a disc.
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Old 03-06-2015, 17:11   #60
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Re: Does Solar trump Wind Generators these days?

Fantastic post! I enjoyed it very much.
I too have a 300w solar with a wind turbine combination and a 500a battery bank.
Unfortunately I opted, by choice, for a cheap chinese built wind turbine.

At $500 all up it came to a fifth the price of a Silent wind or AirX and I convinced myself that the dollar per watt ratio is better being mathematical minded.

What a disaster!

Believe me, you get what you pay for. There is nothing worse than a silent wind generator it starts at low wind speed while others have long stopped looks great but doesnt generate much! Grrrr! dont get me started
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