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Old 11-10-2011, 11:33   #1
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Wind and Solar in the PNW . . . Experiences . . .

Hello Fellow PNW sailors!

I am wondering your experiences in the PNW and power generation. I am looking to slowly piece by piece add to the vessel I am just about to buy.

To start, what would you say is the best bang for your buck in the PNW with power generation? Eventually I will have solar and a wind system as I intend to do some serious long distance cruising in the next 1.5 years.

Just from logic, I would assume solar has much lower returns here in the dark & rainy bog we all live in.

Wind Gens seem to have a really bad reputation for noise & and poor output? Any experiences with a good wind gen?

Looking forward to your thoughts and experiences here.
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Old 11-10-2011, 11:50   #2
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Re: Wind & Solar in the PNW . . . Expereinces . . .

I don't have a wind generator. I've got a couple large solar panels and an MPPT controller. I also carry a Honda i2000 generator but it doesn't get used much. In the summer I produce a lot of power in the summer but if I'm cruising in the winter I may run the generator occasionally. Midday, sunny summer day, I'm producing over 20 amps at 12v; winter cloudy day I might hit 5-7 amps with the good producing hours being very short. When I'm not on the boat house and starter batteries are always fully charged. If I don't run the engine for several days and usage is heavy I run the generator for an hour. In winter I'm more likely to need to do this of course. I haven't felt the need for a wind generator yet.
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:05   #3
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Re: Wind & Solar in the PNW . . . Expereinces . . .

Well that all depends on your style of living.

But as for the PNW a combo of wind and solar works good here. Wind in the fall and winter. And solar in the spring and summer.

Our looong summer days keep the solar working even if it is overcast a bit. and the windy cooler/cold months supply the wind-gens.

Personally, I would prefer the solar over wind and just have a genset for what the solar can't produce, which can be run during anchorages, if needed.

I carry 3 batteries, all 800 amp hour. One up forward for the windless and wash-down pump. The other two for cabin and motor. I can go three days at anchor on my sailboat w/freezer running w/o charging the two main batts. If I were ever to get too low I could use the forward batt to jump the motor for a start.

Not all the traveling here in the PNW is sailing it's about 50/50 depending on the individual. So ones batts usually are kept up with the motoring. So a large battery bank seems to be the most efficient for me w/solar as support.

Off-shore would be a different story.
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:14   #4
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Re: Wind & Solar in the PNW . . . Expereinces . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
Well that all depends on your style of living.

But as for the PNW a combo of wind and solar works good here. Wind in the fall and winter. And solar in the spring and summer.

Our looong summer days keep the solar working even if it is overcast a bit. and the windy cooler/cold months supply the wind-gens.

Personally, I would prefer the solar over wind and just have a genset for what the solar can't produce, which can be run during anchorages, if needed.

I carry 3 batteries, all 800 amp hour. One up forward for the windless and wash-down pump. The other two for cabin and motor. I can go three days at anchor on my sailboat w/freezer running w/o charging the two main batts. If I were ever to get too low I could use the forward batt to jump the motor for a start.

Not all the traveling here in the PNW is sailing it's about 50/50 depending on the individual. So ones batts usually are kept up with the motoring. So a large battery bank seems to be the most efficient for me w/solar as support.

Off-shore would be a different story.
Excellent thoughts on the idea of a larger battery bank. I dont motor much, but yes with a larger house bank I can last longer.
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Old 11-10-2011, 23:11   #5
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Re: Wind & Solar in the PNW . . . Expereinces . . .

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I carry 3 batteries, all 800 amp hour.
Off-shore would be a different story.
What battery are you using that is 800 a/hr? I've used (6) 2 volt 700 a/hr AGM batteries, each weighing 100 lbs. For 12 volts @ 700 a/hr and 600 lbs.

Next time I'm considering ThunderSky LiPo, 3.2 volt 160 a/hr at 12.3 lbs per cell. This would be 640 a/hr (16 cells in series/par), but weigh less than 200 lbs, and if cycled to 70% depth of discharge or less, will live for greater than 5000 cycles. That is 14 years of constant service, every day pulling 70% DOD. With this amount of life, the $3200 price tag is tolerable.
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Old 12-10-2011, 00:46   #6
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Re: Wind & Solar in the PNW . . . Expereinces . . .

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What battery are you using that is 800 a/hr?
Oops! My mistake. That was 800 cold cranking amps (CCA) which comes out to 180 minutes at 25 amps.
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Old 06-12-2011, 03:37   #7
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Re: Wind & Solar in the PNW . . . Expereinces . . .

Silentwind from Spreco is the quietest and best build wind turbine available.
www.silentwind.com.au


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomdaica View Post
Hello Fellow PNW sailors!

I am wondering your experiences in the PNW and power generation. I am looking to slowly piece by piece add to the vessel I am just about to buy.

To start, what would you say is the best bang for your buck in the PNW with power generation? Eventually I will have solar and a wind system as I intend to do some serious long distance cruising in the next 1.5 years.

Just from logic, I would assume solar has much lower returns here in the dark & rainy bog we all live in.

Wind Gens seem to have a really bad reputation for noise & and poor output? Any experiences with a good wind gen?

Looking forward to your thoughts and experiences here.
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Old 06-12-2011, 14:21   #8
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Re: Wind and Solar in the PNW . . . Experiences . . .

I have 2 135 watt panels close to nada in the winter, but the boat is at the dock on shore power, long sunny days in summer or just long days in summer give me power for frig, music and lights and a bit extra. I think I would add another 200 watts and a small wind turbine for cruising and add a water maker. So 470 watts solar and what ever I get from the wind should be lots up here and if its good here its good anywhere.
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Old 06-12-2011, 15:01   #9
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Re: Wind & Solar in the PNW . . . Expereinces . . .

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Silentwind from Spreco is the quietest and best build wind turbine available.
www.silentwind.com.au
Do you handle these blades?
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Old 06-12-2011, 15:53   #10
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Re: Wind and Solar in the PNW . . . Experiences . . .

Since China has entered the solar market big time, causing the cost to drop from $5.00 a watt to $1.13 per watt, I would just "solar up" to meet your needs. Only chore is a wash down. Wind turbines are great when you leave and cruise in the Trades, but at the current price of solar it is hard to beat the "plug and play" nature of installing panels to meet all your needs.
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Old 06-12-2011, 16:06   #11
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Re: Wind and Solar in the PNW . . . Experiences . . .

Not to long ago I Purchased a new "Air Breeze marine" wind generator. I am in the process of doing many upgrades for offshore one of which includes a windvane self steering device. After installing the windvane it didn't seem like there was much room for the wind genny without risking compramise. I dont want to build a big arch and dont like the idea of a tall viberating single pole so i have decided not to install the genny. Perhaps my lack of forsight can be of some use to you. The generator is brand new and still in the box, if you decide to go that route let me know I would be happy to sell it.

Not sure what your fitness level is but my plan "B" is a pedal power generator I would be happy to share to details of that system with you if it seems down your alley. I have done several long distance cycle tours (4000+kms) so i look foward to being able to get some riding in while on passage. I recently built one to power a friends 14'x16' cabin. using two xc2200 6volt batteries running a small sound system, watching movies on her laptop and all LED lights she only has to pedal about 45min. a week. not bad considering it gets dark at 4PM.
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Old 06-12-2011, 16:46   #12
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Re: Wind and Solar in the PNW . . . Experiences . . .

I am not sure about the Silentwind generator but I did help install a Superwind 350 generator last year and have never seen one quieter. It was on a Westsail 32 and a custom pole was used. There was no vibration - you could not feel vibration while on the boat - if close enough you could hear the blades moving through the air in a good breeze - say 15 or 20 knots. Starts charging at 8 knots and reaches a max of over 25 amps at 24 knots, where the output levels off. It is self feathering at high wind speeds. superwind Gmbh
Wind gens that are both quiet and high output are expensive.

The bad news is the price - it was just over $3000 and over $1000 for the custom pole.

I am going with solar before going offshore - quiet and the lowest maintenance system available. On a larger boat - large enough that you can be well separated from the wind gen on its pole/arch at the stern - say 40+ feet - I would go with both.
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