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Old 17-05-2016, 08:23   #31
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Have both. Like both. Complimentary, not exclusive. Solar is great during the day. Wind can blow 24 hrs. Anchorages are often low-wind, but 24 hrs of low wind can produce lots of amps. Often no wind days means more wind. Solar also takes more real estate on the boat than solar.

If I had to prioritize I'd start with solar, but go with both if you can. Best of all world.
This. On a delivery passage at night we made many amps we otherwise would not have had. Think of them like RADAR and AIS...they are complementary, but if you could have just one, you'd pick RADAR...right?
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Old 17-05-2016, 08:27   #32
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

A combination of solar and wind is best.
A good wind turbine will be expensive while solar panels are cheap but it really is a have to have option.
Just mount the wind turbine so that it does not cast a shadow on the solar panel else it will steal more power than it generates!
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Old 17-05-2016, 09:03   #33
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

I would lean toward solar also probably. On a windy day a wind gen really puts out, but it's too inconsistent a choice. You have to charge every day with refrigeration, no matter if it was real windy yesterday... you still will have to charge today. With Solar you can leave the boat a day or two and everything is good.
I would not buy wind power again... not worth the trouble and money. I'd have a good high output alternator as a backup instead.
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Old 17-05-2016, 09:16   #34
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

we're aboard our second boat here in the BVI. We use both.....they have different functions. Wind will give you the most amps while sailing and if the wind is up....solar is good when you install enough plates for your needs. For us solar is secondary and we installed them when the boat stayed for periods ona mooring and we wanted backup power, just in case!

If you need to choose between the two....my choice is wind.....
What size boat do you have and what are your daily amp needs?
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Old 17-05-2016, 10:28   #35
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

After nine years in the EC, we have both. Solar is great in the morning to bring your batteries charge up, but if you want to do anything in the evening that uses a moderate amount of power, over and above refrigeration/freezer requirements, like watching movies, you'll either need a wind generator or a gas/diesel genset. I have an AirBreeze pulled up into the fore triangle. No vibration and very little noise. We take it down and store it in our spare stateroom when underway, as they tend to be useless on most points of sail.

Anchoring close to shore just invites mosquitoes and local thiefs who swim out to anchored boats. The constant dinghy traffic you are exposed to by anchoring close in, especially in charterboat intensive anchorages as they return from the local watering hole late at night, is very annoying.

No one has ever complained to me about our wind generator noise, but diesel exhaust or the noise of small gas generators from a boat anchored upwind will ruin the best anchorages for you.
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Old 17-05-2016, 11:05   #36
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

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Hi,

I am considering the options to provide power generation on my sailboat to live off the hook in the Caribbean. Looking for feedback/opinions on which is better - wind generator vs. solar panels.
Use both.
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Old 17-05-2016, 11:11   #37
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

I've been sailing for 4 months a year (winter), mostly in the Windward Islands of the Caribbean for the last 13 seasons. I first added wind, a KISS, then added solar a few years later. A 135 watt panel. Wind does most of my charging and solar helps out. The wind is usually 10-18 kts in most anchorages. There are still days when I have to run my engine to top up my battery bank. On a windy day (15+) the water maker and KISS work wonders. Most of the boats in this part of the world have wind and solar. There is usually some degree of overcast, 50-80%, that cuts down on solar production, you have to hide on a clear day or get burned.
Good sailing, Terry
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Old 17-05-2016, 12:14   #38
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

I have six panels four of which are flexible and I can step on them
I have one service bat 300 ah and a 600 watt inverter Never had a problem with power I can even work with soe power tools
East Med my home base simiar sunshine with the Caribbean
So your best shot is solar.
Wind too noisy here in the Med
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Old 17-05-2016, 14:37   #39
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

Hi Jim, at the alameda boat show I sniffed around the generator-water thing for almost an hour talking it up with the sales guy. If the literature, and u know how that goes, is even 50% of what it states... That is impressive ampage produces while under way. I can even see it being productive if u r anchored in a spot where there is a good tidal race or strong current of 3-5 knots. Just one more thing to hang off the stern. Smile.
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Old 17-05-2016, 14:42   #40
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

So much input.... but given the tone of some of the comments about wind, I suddenly wondered if anyone has had the opportunity to form opinions based on actual experience (noise, output, safety, reliability, etc.) between the commonly seen HAWT and VAWT types. Thoughts appreciated.
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Old 17-05-2016, 14:50   #41
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

Pro of solar:

Never have to worry about a fan blade flying off and pierce you in the heart or slice your head off.

Also tied to the thread: "morbid exit plans"
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Old 17-05-2016, 15:22   #42
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

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So much input.... but given the tone of some of the comments about wind, I suddenly wondered if anyone has had the opportunity to form opinions based on actual experience (noise, output, safety, reliability, etc.) between the commonly seen HAWT and VAWT types. Thoughts appreciated.
Rutland 914i, top rated among medium power wind turbines.

Produces brief flashes of power at 100 watts in wind more than 20 knots, but practical output in a very windy place (above 50 degree N) less than 1 amp @ 24v even on windy days.

Did not produce enough power even to cover self-discharge of my bank.

Noisy enough to be a bother, although it is much quieter than many.

Utterly useless rubbish, in my opinion. Biggest mistake I ever made in gear, and one of the more expensive ones.
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Old 17-05-2016, 16:13   #43
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

I have both, at sea on passage I use the toad generator function of my LVM Aqua4Aerogen which is the duck's guts... 5 amps at 5 knots day in day out.

Inshore I put the fan back on and it rarely pays its way... the Falklands being the one exception.

Otherwise I am rarely in an anchorage with any wind at all.

Given only one choice I would have solar rather than wind.

In the south I use a Honda 1000 if I am holed up anywhere for more than 24 hours as there is usually no wind and little sun.
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Old 17-05-2016, 16:18   #44
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

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Hi Jim, at the alameda boat show I sniffed around the generator-water thing for almost an hour talking it up with the sales guy. If the literature, and u know how that goes, is even 50% of what it states... That is impressive ampage produces while under way. I can even see it being productive if u r anchored in a spot where there is a good tidal race or strong current of 3-5 knots. Just one more thing to hang off the stern. Smile.
The real issue with hydro generators is that they really need a boat that can maintain a high average speed. Kick in speed for many of them is around 3kn, which would preclude generating in any anchorage I would want to be in. At 7-8kn the power produced is substantial, but unless you are constantly rolling off 200nm plus days the performance has generally been show to be poor.

The problem is that people forget that most of their 200nm days happen when broad reaching and they have the waves following them. This also kills the power production. You need 7-8kn thru the water, not over ground to be meaningful.

That being said, on a fast boat they can provide more power than you would ever need.
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Old 17-05-2016, 21:20   #45
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Re: Wind Vs. Solar - Best Options

We have wind, solar, a honda gen, and a high output alt. Although it would be nice to replace the wind and the honda, we don't really have room for an under deck generator unless we want to take up valuable storage space.

Each has come into its own when needed and at the same time results in frustration.

For example today, the sun decided to go out and the wind gen not only kept our boat humming but charged the batteries up to about 93% (according to our balmar). However, most days it just shades our solar panels. The wind generator has also been useful for equalizing our batteries and/or fully charging them. Occasionally we get to the end of a sunny day with "fully charged" batteries that need more hours to complete the charge than there is sun available. Sometimes the wind is howling and we get enough power to run the boat AND keep charging all night long. On one occassion we set the wind controller to our equalization voltage and used it to equalize the batteries.

The solar panels keep us running 24/7 almost all year. Two years ago we went for about 4 months on a mooring without starting the generator or the engine to charge up. The problem is, the panels are bulky and add windage and don't look attractive. I'm less concerned about the looks but the windage sucks.

The honda saved out butt in the Bahamas when we could not get the engine started. We drained the starter battery pretty low trying to crank for two days. Without that honda our ability to continue working through the evening, and having both light to work under, fans to keep us cool, and power to crank the engine - would have been almost impossible.

The high out put alt keeps us in lots of power obviously. It bulks us up leaving or returning to an anchorage.
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