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Old 06-07-2012, 08:15   #1
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Energy needs ????

Hello all. I am totally distraught with the whole solar panel, wind generator issue. I am not sure about figuring out the needs and requirements on a sailboat, then there is the whole efficiency thing. How efficient are solar panels on a boat? Is a wind generator a better solution? It seems that when mother ocean is involved, things are wwaayyy different. Can you all please send me some input into all this. I welcome any and all...the more the merrier.
I'd like to thank everyone here who has ever taken the time to write and add their thoughts and more importantly, their experiences. It is a world of information that you cannot put a price on.
May the seas be with you and the wind in your favor. God bless, Willie

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Old 06-07-2012, 08:37   #2
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Re: Energy needs ????

Both wind and solar can work very well, one or both of these technologies provides all the electrical power on some crusing boats ( including mine) and most of the power on many more.
They are very dependent on location, power needs, and the type of boat, so you will need to provide a lot more information for people to advise if they would be suitable for you.

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Old 06-07-2012, 09:36   #3
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Re: Energy needs ????

A wind generator has limited application for a cruiser IMO. You really need 15+ kts of wind to put out meaningful energy and how many anchorages have that much wind.

Are solar panels efficient? Well efficient means a lot of things. You can rig up an articulating mount that will keep the panels perpendicular to the sun all day long. But a good blow will probably rip them off. Most solar panels are permanently mounted near horizontal, sometimes on the dinghy davits and sometimes on stainless bows over the bimini.

Fixed mount panels are almost never pointed perpendicular to the sun, so it takes more panels than otherwise, but panels are getting pretty cheap.

A typical cruiser who uses 80 amphours each day for refrigeration, lights, radio, computer recharging, etc, will need 200-300 watts of solar panels to keep up with that load. A simple solar system with two 140W, 17 V panels with a simple non-MPPT controller will cost about $800 excluding wiring and mounting.

That is a pretty cheap way to cover a cruiser's energy needs.

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Old 09-07-2012, 07:04   #4
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Re: Energy needs ????

There's a lot of stuff to read through here, but if you really don't know where to begin then I think this website is a good place...

HandyBob's Blog
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