I think its useful to differentiate storage
(batteries), charging events
or periods (engine or generator
, solar during day, hydro when sailing), more-or-less steady loads (refrigeration, autopilot
electronics), night time loads (lighting), and high power loads that can be done when sufficient power is available (watermakers, ice makers).
I think wind
generators are basically a waste of time. That is opinion.
I think shore power
is a waste of time if you ever want to cruise
for more than a weekend (if it works cruising, it will still work in a marina).
I think generators and engines are a horribly inefficient way to charge LA batteries, OK for high charge accepting batteries (I agree with Nigel Calder).
I think hydro maybe useful only to provide additional power for autopilot
, as autopilot load and hydro generation may more or less track.
I think an engine alternator
is fine for a starting battery, and, what the heck,charging other stuff when the iron genny happens to be running, but not as a consistent source of electricity. So no ned for a large alternator
So solar seems the way to go for the source of all other electricity.
Since solar is less consistent that the loads, its necessary to have much more than "needed."
What is "needed" includes refer, nav, lighting
, and autopilot (unless you also go with the hassle of hydro generator).
So the excess, when available (after charging the batteries) is used for watermaker
and icemaker. And maybe Airconditioning, if you like that sort of thing.
So load management is turning on the watermaker
, icemaker, and airconditioning, in that order, after the batteries reach full charge. And turning them off again, in reverse order, as current
decreases in the afternoon.