While in the Bahamas
last season (feb 1 to June 14), I spent $742.40 on gasoline. I used gasoline for my dinghy
and auxillary gas generator. During that time I put approximately 22 gallons of gas into the dinghy
. The remainder went into the aux generator. At an average of $4.85 per gallon. The approximate cost to run the dinghy was $106. The approximate cost to run the generator was $636. So, for the 20 weeks I was there, I spent approximately $32 per week on gasoline to generate power for the boat (Note, I did spend 4 days in marinas
during that time, that increased my avg fuel cost somewhat).
My boat has 1 175 watt solar panel and 1 wind generator
. During the day, the solar panel/wind generator was able to keep up with my power utilization. During the night, they were not able to keep up. I, on average, ran a 105 amp hour deficit per day. This resulted in my running my generaor about 2.5 hour per day. (My generator was burning a little bit more than a gallon of fuel per day of running)
These were my oberservations and calculations based on my receipts and generator run hours.
Some of my conclussions.
I HATED THE SOUND OF MY GENERATOR RUNNING!!! I tried to pick good times to run it so as not to be a boar to myself, and those anchored around me. The generator I purchased was a generic 2.5 kw. I have since sold it and purchased a Kapor generator that is a LOT quieter, a LOT lighter and also may be more efficient. The Kapor cost me $900. It is a lot less expensive than a diesel genset, and a lot lighter!
I believe 2 additional 175 watt solar panels (I will get the BP 4175) at about $1000 each will provide me with enough excess production to elimnate 90% of my aux generator use. It is my intent to sail more extensively in the Carribean in the coming years. Given my power utilization for the time I was there, I expect it will take approximately 20 months of cruising to offset the cost of the panels. I expect to achieve this in 3 years.
I need to get more output from my wind generator
. I have the Air X Marine
. Its low wind power output is minimal. I have plans to put 6 blades on it. We will see if that will increase its low wind output.
Gasoline is not a cost effective way of generating power. I don't believe diesel is either. Plugging into shore power
is definately more cost effective than any power generating I can do onboard! Solar is expensive, I bought the panel, wiring
controller, switches, relay, fuses
, and mounting hardware
for just at about $2100. It would be a LOT more difficult to put the desired number of panels on a monohull
. On our catamaran
, we will string them across the stern. It will cost me an additional $3000 to get the additional panels and mountings. (Have to have an arch built). So, total ROI is something closer to 50 months in gasoline cost. While in the marina, it is costing us $30 or so a month for energy. But, we use a LOT more while we are docked. It would take more than 15 years to offset the cost of the panels, and I am sure 3 panels would not be sufficient to meet our needs. But, while I am out! panels are a great way to go, for me.
(tired of typing!)