We have been without an alternator
for 2 1/2 months and have lived exclusively on solar at anchor
during that time (and it's winter now with short days and the sun low in the sky!).
We run two laptops for 8+ hours a day, watch a movie
every night and listen to a few hours of music
on the stereo. We have a DC fridge and DC freezer
We decided to turn off the standalone freezer
when the alternator quit, just to be on the safe side (new alternator arrives today, yay! ice cubes!!). The batteries are in float mode every afternoon between 1:00 and 3:00.
We have three 185 watt solar panels (24 volt), a Xantrex 60 amp charge controller and two inverters that came pre-installed from the factory (600 watt pure sine wave and 2500 watt modified sine wave inverter/charger). And a 640 amp-hour AGM
Solar power supporting anchor-based living can definitely be done, but you do need a lot of watts if you want to live like you do in a house. The mast
and boom frequently shade one or all of the panels. If a little shade falls on one panel it shuts down... So get more watts than you might need according to theoretical calculations...
My hubby was an electro-mechanical service engineer
for his profession and he installed the wiring
and components in one day. It was the 3rd solar power system he had installed on a moveable home (the two others were on a travel trailer and a fifth wheel
trailer that were also used for full-time living off the grid). So he knew what he was doing, though the other systems also took no more than 3 days each.
We had our solar panel arch built in Ensenada, Mexico
, by a fabulous steel
fabricator, (Alejandro Ulloa who can be found through the Baja
Naval boatyard). He mounted the panels as part of the job.