Marine Solar Power – Tips and Tricks on Equipping Your Boat With Solar Power Generator
Marine solar power systems are becoming more popular among sailors not only because they can keep lights and appliances running, but also because they are quieter. The source of energy is also free and abundant. Installing a marine solar power system on your boat, however, is different from setting up a solar panel for your home. Here we look at what you need to look out for.
There are many pre-packaged marine solar power systems in the market. If you are just starting out and have some cash to spare, do yourselves a favor and go for these instead of being adventurous and try to DIY the first time. However, if your boat design requires that you do a customized job, then you have no choice.
Even when you are buying the system off-the-shelves, there are things you need to be aware of. Firstly, you will need to ascertain the amount of electric power (watt) you need. Just simply make a quick note of all the power consumption of your lights and appliances and add them together. This can be done by taking note of the total amps you need multiplied by the number of hours it will be running. Divide this number by 2 to get the wattage you need. After that, multiply the wattage by $20. This is a rough estimate to tell yourselves how big a system you need which also translates to how much it is going to cost you.
Another aspect you should take note of is that there are different types of solar panels. Just to give an example: Solar panels manufactured using monocrystalline cells have high efficiency in generating electricity, and take up less space, but lack shade protection. Shade protection is the ability for the panels to continue generating electricity even in shaded environment. This feature is important especially for sailboats. Marine solar power systems using polycrystalline cells also have high efficiency, uses even less area, but still lack shade protection while panels using amorphous silicon cells have lower efficiency, uses more area, but do have shade protection.
Most marine solar power systems come with a mounting kit to secure the system. Some kits are flexible types that can be attached to canvases or decks while the rest are hard ones are only suitable for decks. Most kits will have these components: solar panels to collect photons from sunlight and produce a charge, charge controller to regulate the charging of batteries and prevent overcharging, and batteries to store the charges supplied by the panels. The system generates 12 Volt DC current. If you need to power devices that require AC power, add an inverter to the marine solar power system. This is usually sold separately.
George Tho is a DIY enthusiast. Using solar energy to power appliances and lights is a great way to power your boat and reduce pollution, if you are the adventurous type, find out how you can build your very own marine solar power system with less than $200 even if you are a complete DIY novice.
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