A big part of our cruising plans was to power our boat primarily from a large solar
panel array. This appeared relatively easy, using proven technology that would be straightforward to install and reliable. That is the impression I got from all the cruising magazines, boat shows and solar
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
I purchased 4 Kyocera
130 watt panels
along with the recommended wires and a Blue Sky Energy 50 MPPT
. I had an arch installed on the back of our Stevens 47 to hold this solar array. The panels
are wired in series, 2 panels together for 24 volts in and two such arrays. So we have 2 sets of 24V input wires going to the charge controller which is setup for 24V in and 12V out.
I paid a "pro" to install everything. We most output I have ever seen from this system with the sun high in the sky and nothing shadowing the panels is 12 amps according to the Blue Sky remote
The voltage from both arrays of panels ranges from 38 to 43 volts when tested at the wires before the controller. The wires from the panels to the controller run about 18 feet are at 2 guage. I originally purchased 8 guage as that is what eMarine said to buy but I then replaced this with the larger wire as the Blue Sky tech support folks said it was mandatory. The wires from the charge controller to the battery
bank (7 AGM
Lifeline group 31s - brand new) are 1 guage battery
cable. All the connections were done with a large professional crimper and heat shrink. The connections have all been manually inspected at least 3 times.
We have been through the install and the system over and over, end to end. I shipped the charge controller back to Blue sky and they tested it and returned it saying nothing was wrong with it. They did say they replaced all the electronics
to be sure. When I reinstalled it, same issue.
I have over $8K into a solar energy system that is a joke. I have purchased a Honda
2000eu gas portable generator
and we are going cruising. The solar system is little more than dead weight hanging off the back of the boat and a giant hole in our cruising kitty. If we can get into Stuart I am going to try and remove all that I can and return it to eMarine for as much of a refund as I can get.
Cruiser beware: Solar energy is NOT what it is hyped to be. It is experimental at best. If you do not have a degree in electrical
engineering or you do not build nuclear power plants in your spare time do yourself a favor: save you money
. $8K would have bought a LOT of gasoline for the Honda