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Old 19-10-2011, 05:58   #1
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Wind vs Solar

Ok ladies and gentlemen which is better or do I fit both before we depart for all points south soon.
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Old 19-10-2011, 06:57   #2
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Re: Wind versus solar

Keithgdgp

That is a loaded question.
Are you going to the Caribbean where their is plenty of sun?
Are you running just one fridge/freezer?
Do you have all LED lights?
Do you have a mono hull or a cat.
Do you like silence?

Mark
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Old 19-10-2011, 07:07   #3
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Re: Wind vs Solar

Neither is "better." Both work in different ways in different circumstances.
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Old 19-10-2011, 07:20   #4
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Re: Wind vs Solar

You would do better to think of them as a team concept with both systems contributing to have a complete energy system. Most of the wind generators are 300 watt with solar only being limited, in watts, to the area you have to mount the panels. What you would be better served to do is decide which system you will start with.
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Old 19-10-2011, 07:29   #5
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pirate Re: Wind vs Solar

Speaking as someone who's lived aboard in the Carib/US E.coast and Europe...
fit both.. you will need them..
and a good fridge is a blessing if you enjoy good food..
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Old 19-10-2011, 07:32   #6
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Re: Wind vs Solar

Both are good...in their right place. Before investing in either of these expensive solutions, there are a host of other projects you should probably do in order to maximize your return on either solar or wind.

First, do you have LED lighting in the interior? If not, I would search for high quality bulbs to replace as many frequently used interior lights as possible. Look for bulbs that have some sort of constant control capability to deal with the fluctuations of battery voltage that are inherently present in a boat. Knock on wood, I'm going on 2 years on a single set of bulbs that I replaced out...prior to that, I was replacing a halogen bulb *SOMEWHERE* on the boat every couple of months. Not only that, I've knocked down the amp usage by an order of 80-90% for bulbs.

Second, I'd invest in the installation of a good battery monitor system. Personally, I've installed the Victron BMV-600 avaialable for under $200. This has been an amazing investment. Not only do I know the true state of charge on my battery bank, I've been able to track down stray and parasitic drains on the bank. For example, I was able to track down a .2 amp leak on my boat to a parallel relay that the manufacturer installed badly. .2 amps may not seem like much, but over 24 hours, thats 4.8 aHs, which is the equivalent of running my fridge on full tilt for 1 hour.

Third...invest in a good battery bank. I've recently upgraded from a group of Deep Cycle Group 27s to a set of 4 six volt Golf Cart batteries from Costco. For around $600 including wiring (cables I made myself) I have installed 400+ amps of capacity, doubling my prior capacity of the OEM banks. I prefer the simplicty of flooded cell golf cart batteries since they're available nearly universally and taken care of, will match or exceed the lifespan of gel or agm batteries. Also, I have no need for mounting my batteries in odd locations or upside down, negating the benefit of gel cells.

Fourth - insulate insulate insulate that fridge!! 12v reefers are infamous amp hogs. By insulating my fridge cabinet and venting the compressor area better, I've been able to knock off almost 20%-30% off of my amp needs for the beer cooler. I've also invested in a separate "deep freezer" (a Waeco chest) that I put all the food that doesn't need to be looked at every day but kept cold so that my day fridge doesn't have to work as hard.

Now, lets talk about wind vs solar. My caveat on this is that I prefer solar. They're passive and beyond the wiring and mounting costs, pretty maintenance free. The challenge with wind is that while they can crank out amps in windy days, the reality is that even the best models need around 10-15 knots to produce any good amperage. In such conditions, you're likely in an exposed anchorage and not having much of a good time...simply to top up the battery bank!

Solar in my kneck of the woods (South Florida) is a passive charging method that works nearly every day for 4-5 hours peak output. With a MPPT charger, I'm able to squeeze an extra 15%, so with two 190 watt panels thats around 80-90 amps a day being put back into the bank. Thats enough to keep me a few days before running the little Honda Eu2000 between top-ups, but reality is we move around some when out traveling so the engine tops up frequently enough.

I've thought about Wind for extra amp coverage - investing in a KISS generator from Trinidad. But fears of mechanicical/moving parts and the noise level have kept me away.
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Old 19-10-2011, 08:17   #7
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Thanks one and all for your replies. I am going to the med for a start then who knows after. I have all led lights yes and I have a well insulated fridge. I have a 35ft mono hull and no I don't like silence. Got something like 3000 tunes on my I phone which I like to listen to.

I am erring towards solar to start with and see how it goes.
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Old 19-10-2011, 08:23   #8
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Re: Wind vs Solar

Welcome Aboard Cruisers Forum

On UD we have both, standard 400W windgen and 300W solar.
I like keeping my batteries topped off as much as possible. Battery life is longer if you don't draw the batteries down and then charge them up.
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Old 19-10-2011, 08:47   #9
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Re: Wind vs Solar

lack of space dictates that I include wind
Has anyone tried or heard of these
300W Marine wind generator turbines for yachts and sailboats.
way cheaper than anything I've seen so far
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Old 19-10-2011, 08:51   #10
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Re: Wind vs Solar

nightOwl has a good grasp of the power situation while living aboard. His ideas are spot on -- follow them! On my boat I started with wind and found it sufficient for most of my needs AT THE TIME however like many my wishes have outstripped my wind generated supply so rather than opt for a second genny I went with solar. So far having both has been a better solution.

One thing I've noticed when looking at my solar regulator is the green LED is often on both prior to dawn and after dusk -- not for long but it's certainly been lit when I could not reasonably expect any power generation... of course I only might be getting enough juice to make the LED bright!

In any event, I consider both critical components of a comfortable life afloat -- along with my AIMS1000 inverter ( Power Inverters and Solar Inverters for Home and Businesses The Inverter Store ) I'm set.

Happy cruising.
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Old 19-10-2011, 08:55   #11
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Re: Wind vs Solar

i use both systems to be truely unplugged...wind power is what it is.....iam at least half deaf.....love having enough to keep the freezer going...it helps to love mechanical toys
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Old 19-10-2011, 09:00   #12
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pirate Re: Wind vs Solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by norsearayder View Post
i use both systems to be truely unplugged...wind power is what it is.....iam at least half deaf.....love having enough to keep the freezer going...it helps to love mechanical toys
THERE ARE reliable quiet ones out there... Aerogens for one...
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Old 19-10-2011, 09:26   #13
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Re: Wind vs Solar

We have a KISS windgen, been very reliable and quiet for it's age. Newer ones are any quieter..
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Old 19-10-2011, 09:41   #14
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Re: Wind vs Solar

both, if you want to keep meet frozen, beer cold, and have ice in your rumdrinks, and don't want to keep going ashore to get it.
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Old 19-10-2011, 09:44   #15
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Where can I pick up a wind gen for cheap? Classifieds, Craigslist?
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