Originally Posted by Four Coconuts
I agree with the other posters and would take it a step further. I think for tropical sailing latitudes wind gens are no longer competitive given that the benchmark Kyocera
only cost about $1/watt now. We've got 1,000w and it does everything we ask of it, even making water
and ice cubes, silently & reliably. Load up on solar if you've got the room.
" Load up on solar if you've got the room"
Aye, there's the rub.
I disagree about the wind generator, however.
Quiet is important, and there are lots of tests which will show you what to expect; current
blade technology has made a huge difference in the noise
level of any/probably most windgens.
We have a KISS and its power contribution difference (vs not having it) is huge. Yes, it probably shades part of a panel at various times, but if the wind's blowing, it doesn't matter what time of day or year, or how your solar panels are pointing, it keeps on putting out when your solar is dead.
I anally (well, you get the idea) balanced my blades and at 15A, it's a whiiiish. It can get a bit noisy at 30 knots, but then, so is everything else.
A D400 will put out up to 50A, and is probably the quietest one you'll find, albeit at double the price
of a KISS, but you can't service
it yourself. (The KISS uses off-the-shelf bearings and seals
; an alternator
shop could probably rewind it for you if it came to that [we've horribly abused ours, including salt
and fresh water immersion, for 10 years], and I've replaced bearings once, seal twice, magnets once in 10 years- they rusted apart after one of my excursions to the bottom - and, lately, when the breeze has been nice here, it keeps on putting out 10-15A all day and night, except in gusts where we occasionally peg our analog 30A meter).
If you're in low-wind areas, a Rutland
will quietly give you some small level of amps come rain or shine, and they're cheap
That said, solar is the least expensive way to generate replacement amps IF your situation can use them.
What does 'IF' mean? IF you have reliable sun, and IF you have a place to mount them, it's probably the most cost-effective amp replacement. The least cost-effective would be an engine-driven alternator
, and various other IC means get only a bit less expensive per watt.
I'm - right now - trying to figure out how to replace my 370W/3-panel array on my arch with a couple of 340W (buying them in less than pallet lots is my current
challenge) panels. If I can do that, I won't have to spend many boat bux building a hardtop bimini
which could hold a megawatt, albeit probably only 500w of which would be available due to boom shading.
There's a place for both technologies; if you can RELIABLY replace your watts used with solar, it's the cheapest. But if you can't, and the wind ever blows where you are, wind is a good bet to go with it.