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Old 28-07-2008, 14:01   #1
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Wind and Solar power-Payback

I know this subject has been discussed many times, but I still can not make any investment numbers work. Please show me the light.
I recently anchored a few days, ran my engine 1 hr second day to charge.
Beta Marine uses about 2 liters/hr @1800rpm, 90 amp alternator.
Cold Machine refrig. usual boat stuff.
Diesel $5.30 gal. that's about $2.65 to charge batteries.
Most solar panel systems I've looked at were going to be about $1500 to $2000. Thats a 566 day pay back(on the low side).
Wind generators $700 low end generator. 266 day payback.
Other than enviromental issues, where is the payback to carry all that additional equipment.
Very interested in your thoughts.
phillip
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Old 28-07-2008, 14:26   #2
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None of it makes sense unless you are a dedicated cruiser. Cruisers don't like to run their engines just to charge batteries. It's not the best thing to do with a diesel. When you're anchored or sailing for the better part of six months of the year (as I usually am) it makes a little more sense. I rely on wind (KISS) and rather than solar panels went with a Honda EU2000i. However the panels are looking better every day.
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Old 28-07-2008, 14:27   #3
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First the solar panels will work when you are away from the boat. For how many years will a solar panel last? Will it be longer than the generator? The solar panels make no noise either, or smells so that is a luxury.

I love the sound of my wind generator whirring away giving me electricity even in the dark with no smells either. The initial cost is a lot that is given, but the longtime rewards are good. The immediate reward is not running the genny, listening to it, and smelling it!
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Old 28-07-2008, 14:30   #4
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Rick,

Thanks for reminding me. This year before we left for the Bahamas I bought the same Honda. I plugged it into my shore power inlet, and charged my batteries for 7 1/2 hours. Not to mention my made for a house freezer for the same length of time. Also a VERY QUIET machine! I ran it as a test, and it only drank $3.50 in fuel.
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Old 28-07-2008, 14:39   #5
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I've looked at the Honda's, I believe they would run my a/c, seems like a better solution for Pensacola, FL area.
phillip
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Old 28-07-2008, 14:46   #6
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You'll never fully charge your batteries by running your engine at anchor--takes too long. And less than fully charged batteries will slowly decline in capacity, i.e. will need replacing sooner. Solar or a wind generator will keep them topped up and healthy for a longer life.

Several cruisers I know swear by the little Honda generator.
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Old 28-07-2008, 14:54   #7
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Silver Heels,

It should run the a/c, and a lot more. I think I paid $950.00 out the door for the EU2000i
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Old 28-07-2008, 14:56   #8
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Hud's right...

1 hr is most definitely not sufficient charging time to fully charge batteries. You may be replacing amps in the bulk stage, but how do you fully charge the batteries in order to get them up through absorbtion and sometimes to float?

This can't be done the way you are doing it... well not practically, anyway. You'd have to run that diesel for an entire day a couple times a month to fully charge the batts (keeping sulphation down).

The wind - I could leave it. My Air-X generates next to nothing. It's the solar panels in my experience that generate real power.

A generator is practical if you need to run big, AC powered loads (AC powered refrigeration and holding plate is a prime example).

Otherwise, if you have slow-drawing DC loads (DC fridge) you will find solar and wind a better fit.

As to doing the math... I've done it several times and found solar/wind and generators are exactly equal in price over the first 10 years of ownership! I didn't price out running a diesel inboard engine, as it's bad for one to idle it along with no load attached.

Solar and wind come into their own in the 2nd 10 years of ownership, as they keep producing power well after the genset has gobbled up all your money on oil, new generators, etc...

However! You need a backup generator if you have solar and wind in most cases. A week of clouds and rain and you get pretty low, unless you have spent to the max on solar panels.

If you'd like throw in some specific numbers, we can all have at them.
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Old 28-07-2008, 15:43   #9
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Your load requirements and where your sailing are usually the most important factors in determining effectiveness and pay back of a solar/ wind system... environmental factors is a plus... a big one for me along with the reduction of noise and smell of an engine running at anchorage.

In my prime area of sailing... below 18 degrees, sun is generally abundant most of the year and wind is almost always in the range of effective power generating ability even in a nice calm anchorage.

As previously stated, running your engine for battery charging typically results in a long term under charge of your batteries and early death... those babies are not cheap!!! I'm replacing 3 now... any contributions would be gratefully accepted!!!!!

I'm also installing solar cells and hope to add a KISS wind generator during my next cruise the winter.

Not sure the effectiveness would warrant the installation of solar in significantly higher latitudes and wind would only be effective where you Have good winds as a normal weather event. Even in these locations, a solar cell charging system to be in place when your not on the boat would be a good idea if your not tied up to slip with power.

I would not expect fuel to drop significantly in price over the next few years... more likely to increase and become more difficult to obtain in some locations.

Using the iron jib only to enter ports and anchorages and as an emergency back up it a target I like to shoot at.... even if the cost effectiveness is marginal.
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Old 28-07-2008, 16:24   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
Rick,

Thanks for reminding me. This year before we left for the Bahamas I bought the same Honda. I plugged it into my shore power inlet, and charged my batteries for 7 1/2 hours. Not to mention my made for a house freezer for the same length of time. Also a VERY QUIET machine! I ran it as a test, and it only drank $3.50 in fuel.
Rick

I'd be VERY interested in hearing about the state of discharge your batteries were in, your amp-hours and where they were after the 7.5 hrs. I've always thought that the little generators couldn't give much back when you needed more than a few amp-hours.

I'm seriously hoping that I've been wrong about this as I already own an EU1000i for other purposes.
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Old 28-07-2008, 18:27   #11
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Dave,

How your Honda does depends on your charger. I have a 100 amp smart charger and if my batteries are low the 2000 will put 90 amp in and the Honda is working as hard as it can. I don't think a 1000 will give you that. My bank is small, about 400 amps. I have used the Honda to equalize my batteries in the past. The hardest part was refilling the gas tank while it was still running.
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Old 28-07-2008, 19:02   #12
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Thanks Rick

My charger is the original POS that came with the 1991 boat. The gauge maxes out at 15 amps. This means, of course, that since my house and fridge banks (yes, hard core boys, I like my ice) have 430 amp-hours (let's ignore the starter) and I take them down to 50%, I'll need 215 amp-hours to bring them to full charge. EU1000i output is 1000 watts. W=VA so A=W/V. So available amps = 1000/120 = 8.333 amps. I'd need to run the 1000i for over 25 hours. Your high-falutin 2000i would need to run for 12+ hours.

I don't think that my charger is the bottleneck, just the output of the EU1000i.

Anyone have any thoughts? Again, I love being shown that I'm wrong. (As long as you're nice and the admiral never finds out...)

Thanks!
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Old 28-07-2008, 20:00   #13
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Thanks Rick

My charger is the original POS that came with the 1991 boat. The gauge maxes out at 15 amps. This means, of course, that since my house and fridge banks (yes, hard core boys, I like my ice) have 430 amp-hours (let's ignore the starter) and I take them down to 50%, I'll need 215 amp-hours to bring them to full charge. EU1000i output is 1000 watts. W=VA so A=W/V. So available amps = 1000/120 = 8.333 amps. I'd need to run the 1000i for over 25 hours. Your high-falutin 2000i would need to run for 12+ hours.

I don't think that my charger is the bottleneck, just the output of the EU1000i.

Anyone have any thoughts? Again, I love being shown that I'm wrong. (As long as you're nice and the admiral never finds out...)

Thanks!
That's 8.3 amps at 120 volts, i.e 1000watts. Or 1000 watts at 13v = 76amps.

Nice enough?

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Old 28-07-2008, 20:13   #14
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Originally Posted by silver heels View Post
I know this subject has been discussed many times, but I still can not make any investment numbers work. Please show me the light.
I recently anchored a few days, ran my engine 1 hr second day to charge.
Beta Marine uses about 2 liters/hr @1800rpm, 90 amp alternator.
Cold Machine refrig. usual boat stuff.
Diesel $5.30 gal. that's about $2.65 to charge batteries.
Most solar panel systems I've looked at were going to be about $1500 to $2000. Thats a 566 day pay back(on the low side).
Wind generators $700 low end generator. 266 day payback.
Other than enviromental issues, where is the payback to carry all that additional equipment.
Very interested in your thoughts.
phillip
Running diesels just to charge your batteries isn't all that good for them. One day you'll need to rebuild or replace them.

Solar panels will keep the batteries healthy even when you're away from the boat too. If you have enough solar you can even leave the fridge running while you're away for a week or two.
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Old 28-07-2008, 20:26   #15
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So I can recharge 215 amp-hours with an EU1000i in less than 3 hours? If that's the case, the guy who ran an EU 2000i for 7.5 hrs would have put in 152 Amps for 7.5 hrs = 1140 amp-hours.

Is this right?

ps: Thanks for being nice...
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