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Old 10-08-2007, 08:01   #1
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Wind generator or Solar panel

Which is the better decision.? Which provides more power per investment dollar.? Seems to me (newbie with no clue) that solar provides more reliable power since you cannot always depend on the wind..sun is always there..
Which is easier to install and maintain.? Takes up less space..?
What are your opinions and experiences.?
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:14   #2
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scgilligan,
I was looking at wind generation for my boat but was told that was unrealistic for my area. Solar was the way to go. I was also told that in the Virgin Islands I would be better off with a wind generator. So, I guess the answer to your question is based on where you cruise. At night and cloudy days have an impact on solar panels.
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:20   #3
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I think both are good and each has benefits and drawbacks.

You can build up a solar sys more incrementally.

It is completely quiet and had no moving parts to break.

Wind works at night!

Wind can produce higher outputs.

Solar takes up real estate

Wind do dads are ugly.

Hard call... I am still in the solar realm and happy being there.


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Old 10-08-2007, 09:05   #4
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I'd realy lean toward solar!
We have been anchored near boats with wind generators and they are NOISEY!
I also believe that when even properly mounted they can be a safety hazard. it is possible for bades to fly off especiallwhen struck by something, even a bird.

I also heard of an unfortunate incident when a crew member stood on a stern pulpet while docking and was struck in the head by a spinning blade. He survived, but that surely left a mark!!
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:29   #5
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I agree with Jef. Your decision will depend to a great extent on where and how you sail. For example, if you were going to do mostly the east coast and Bahamas, I would opt for solar panels only. The amount of sun you get there will be ample for keeping your batteries happy, and you don't need to deal with the noise/maintenance/cautions involved in wind generators. However, if you are going to the Caribbean where the trade winds blow consistently and, at least in rainy season, you won't have full sun all day, then a wind generator is a good thing.

Being partial to solar panels, I can suggest a number of ways to mount them that will take up minimal real estate as Jef puts it.
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:37   #6
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Solar panels work in daylight too, just not as much output. But boy are they quiet.

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Old 10-08-2007, 10:00   #7
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On a 30 foot boat having solar panels hanging off your stern is one thing. A wind generator on the same size boat seems a bit scary to me. To close for comfort
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:28   #8
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Seeking out a snug little cove to spend a few days on the hook probably includes the desire to get out of the wind. I know I don't always get that completely, but it seems that I'd be at cross purposes, at least partially.

So I'm in my cockpit, looking up at the wind generator: I'm happy because the cove is smooth & calm; I'm frustrated because the blades of my wind generator haven't budged in over 24 hours.

If I find middle ground, the breeze is strong enough it requires me, e.g., to hold down the pages of the book I"m reading to keep them from flapping about, but the output from the generator is seriously anemic, and I'm thinking about my investment dollars vs. the amp hours I'm not getting.

When the generator is happily whirling away, relaxed living outside is compromised (but we all have different ideas of what constitutes pleasureable situations: some folks are invigorated by a good breeze on the hook).
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:30   #9
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I chose wind when I outfitted my new boat, partly because I was familiar with it, having had a Windbugger since 1990 and partly because of economics. I bought a KISS and feel that it's one of the best on the market. Of course what you choose, solar or wind, largely depends on your cruising grounds, whether there is a reliable breeze or not. Solar was just too expensive, what with needing three panels (120w each), regulator and mounting hardware. Instead of solar I supplement my charging in windless times with a Honda EU2000i. The Honda is about the price of one good panel. Of course having both wind and solar would be the best of both worlds.

As for noise, the KISS is fairly quiet not like some of the AirMarines. You soon get used to the whirring and it is real handy at anchor at night as you learn to guage the wind speed by the sound. we live on the hook six months of the year so reliable charging is a must.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:38   #10
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I like the point about calmer anchorages. I really don't like blowy anchorages... Sunny ones? You betcha... so I think solar is the preferred method for me.

Genset? Hell no.


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Old 10-08-2007, 10:51   #11
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jef,

You like quiet anchorages? Here's a picture taken last winter in a "quiet" anchorage. Unfortunately a front was coming through. The wind generators got a real workout.

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Old 10-08-2007, 13:51   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by defjef
Solar panels work in daylight too, just not as much output.
I think solar panels ONLY work in daylight!
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Old 10-08-2007, 14:04   #13
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Quote:
You soon get used to the whirring and it is real handy at anchor at night as you learn to guage the wind speed by the sound. we live on the hook six months of the year so reliable charging is a must.
Good point, never thought of that: Gauge wind speed by the sound...

Quote:
Here's a picture taken last winter in a "quiet" anchorage. Unfortunately a front was coming through.
I was there: June in the Exumas, we were anchored with a pleasant forecast and not a worry.
Waking up at 0400 from the feeling of being in an elevator as the bow lifted 4 feet, then sank another 4 feet below "neutral" as the wind had kicked up to 25 knots and hurled big rolling waves from West to East.
(Wish I had a wind generator then. )

It took some careful work to get the anchor up without loosing fingers or bending metal...We made it.
Later found out that the weatherman was off 60NM on his forecast..Lots of boats got caugth with their pants down.
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Old 10-08-2007, 14:50   #14
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"I think solar panels ONLY work in daylight!"
the old ones only worked in daylight. With the new ones, you just flip them over and use the LUNAR PANEL on the rear side at night.

< G >
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Old 10-08-2007, 14:52   #15
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In DefJef's defense, I think he was refering to "daylight" as a period in the day when the sun is not visible, but it is in fact daylight. He sure is getting quite a ribbing though. :-)
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