Last updated on November 19th, 2019
Solar panels are an invention that has revolutionized the use of renewable energy. Today, we will look at the use of boat-solar panels which has brought a new source of energy for boats and sailboats.
10 Boat Solar Panels to Use On The Water
Solar energy is harvested from the sun. It is sunlight converted to electricity for instant use, or it can be stored in batteries for future use. Solar energy is applicable in various places, and in this article, we will look at boat-solar panels which we use to provide power in boats.
Whether it’s for large, or small-scale lighting, solar energy is a reliable source of power as long the sun is available.
However, if it’s the only source of power you can access, you might want to buy batteries to save some electricity for use at night when the sun goes down.
Just as you can mount a solar panel for use at home, you can also mount it on your Sailboat. Mounting a solar panel right gives you the best out of the solar system. It will produce sufficient energy for you.
Before buying and mounting solar panels on a boat and sailboat, do your due diligence to know how much energy you need in a day.
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This will depend on the pieces of equipment you have in your boat and how much energy they consume each day.
With this information, you can go ahead to purchase your solar panel.
Things to Consider When Buying Boat Solar Panels
These are some of the most important characteristics to consider when buying solar panels for your boat.
Product information will help you know its power output. Sum up all your power requirements in a day then use this information to match up the kind of panel you want to buy.
Actual Output vs. Maximum Output
Whatever is advertised on the solar panel is the maximum output on a perfectly sunny day. Depending on the kind of area you are sailing, what are weather conditions? Will the solar panel be perfect for the zone?
The power output can drop influenced by wind, rain, or clouds. Will the output on such a day be favorable to you?
Will you be able to operate normally low power? Make your decision wisely when buying and installing alternative energy.
Your boat will determine the size of a solar panel you require, inclusive of the types of equipment you have in the boat. Take your time to research and know the amount of power sufficient for your boat.
It could be big (solar panel) with a low output. A big boat needs a solar panel that is powerful enough to power it efficiently.
Get a solar panel that fits your boat needs and also the dimensions of your boat.
Mono- And Multi-Crystalline
Solar panels made from a polycrystalline material are more expensive, but they are long-lasting, with good power output. These are some of the most important differences between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels.
Amorphous Thin Slim Silicone
They are flexible to fit in curved spaces. They are cheap and less efficient compared to crystalline panels.
A sailboat needs good power to function without incidences. A good solar panel can be expensive. One or two panels are enough to power a big boat with a number of items on the boat that are constantly in use.
Guide to Buying The Right Solar Panel For Your Boat or Sailboat
How much energy do you need? Don’t just march to the market and purchase boat-solar panels because you need one. You need solar panels that serve you efficiently.
If you need a lot of power output, you cannot buy a small solar panel as it will not serve the purpose. Know well the amount of energy you need in a day and get your Sailboat a solar panel that will supply it with power sufficiently.
Solar Energy or Engine? Of the two, which one will you use most? If you choose solar energy over the engine, then you have to install powerful panels that are big enough to power your boat.
Again, if you decide to use both, you don’t need a big or powerful solar panel. If you are sailing in a windy zone, you can switch off your engine and take advantage.
How to Hook Up Solar Panels to A Boat Battery
- You have already purchased your solar panel. Decide where you will mount it. The roof or stern rail
- Use DC wires. They should be black positive and red negative depending on your boat
- Drill small holes into the cockpit to pass the wires from the solar panel to the main cabinet
- Attach the wires to a solar panel controller
- Attach the same set of wires from the controller to the battery. NOTE, the red wire goes to the positive, while black goes to the negative terminal.
See Related: Solar Panel Angle by Zip Code
Best Solar Panels For Boating
Let’s get into our list of the best solar panels that you’ll want to consider for your boat or sailboat.
Monocrystalline makes this solar panel powerful, durable, and efficient. The panel has an aluminum frame that protects the cells from external damage and helps it withstand high temperatures.
In addition, it has a shiny coating which makes it scratch-free. The panel does not reflect light meaning all power is contained inside. Also, it is durable and can be fixed outdoors for years.
- High power
- Installation is easy
- Comes with an in-built diode to control current flow
- Highly flexible use, there are more options for you to use this solar panel
How wonderful to sail off in your solar-powered boat to the deep sea for as long as you can, comfortably without having to worry about a power outage? You fish or tour comfortably and only come onshore for supplies. Isn’t that awesome?
This solar package offers one of the best portable solar panels for boats and has all that you require to fix a solar system in your boat. It comes with the solar panel, a 30-amp charge controller, 40ft solar cable, mounting brackets, connectors, and a manual guide.
The system produces 350watts in a day based on the sun. Upgrade power production by adding several panels on your boat for efficiency. You can customize the power controller to suit your needs and monitor the power produced using the LCD screen.
What makes the WindyNation solar panel special?
- Perfectly made for boats
- Comes with an off-the-grid set, you are ready for install with one single purchase
- You can adjust settings to suit needs
It is firmly built and long-lasting. For those who live in hot zones, then here is an awesome match to your Sailboat. The materials used are of high quality which makes it top-rated on Amazon.
Features that make the Newpowa stand out
- It is a slim fit
- All its features make it a top-quality panel
- Aluminum frames that hold together the cells
- Smaller wattages, which makes this panel ideal for beginners
If you are interested, then this is for you.
Why does the Acopower stand out?
- Efficient in power production
- Specifically designed to power sailboats
- A ready fit for weather changes
- Small in size and takes a small space
This panel is a bit expensive but worth every coin. The solar panel can charge several batteries or a single large battery. If your boat is big, here is your kind of fit.
The system has top quality, high-performance cells made of polycrystalline. Fitted with an aluminum frame that protects its inner components, this panel offers the best source of portable solar energy for you.
Newpowa’s battery lasts up to a decade and can charge 90%. In two and a half decades, it might drop its charging power to 80%. This sounds like a lifetime power source for a sailboat.
Unique features include
- The product is a built superpower
- Made of high-quality power cells
- It is a ready-fit for your Sailboat
Therefore, if you are looking for the best solar panels for boating, then this brand will be an awesome one to consider.
This is a powerful, easy to use panel. It can charge high capacity batteries in 3 hours max. It will take your boat off-grid and make you independent. Renogy comes with a package of all requirements to set up for the off-grid.
The package consists of the panel, mounting brackets, charge controller, cables and an adapter kit. The unit price is inclusive of all these items. In case you need more power to your boat, you can always add extra solar panels.
The Renogy sailboat solar panel features the following
- This solar panel expandable at will
- The panel is powerful and has a short charging time
- Offers a high-power output
- Full kit to allow you to install right away
This solar panel stands out due to its flexibility of up to 30 degrees. The solar panel has no frame, and it has four holes on each corner which makes it easy fix to your Sailboat. To make it even better, you can fix it on any vehicle.
After installation, many panels break as the boat sails, but this one shifts with the boats without cracking. However, anything is breakable so fix your solar panels in secure places.
What makes it unique
- Highly flexible
- You can install it easily
- The solar panel is light in weight
A great solar panel to fit on curved areas, which makes it flexible. Since it has an output of 100watts, it makes this product quite efficient. Winnewsun Flexible 100W has six eyelets, but it all depends on how and where you want to mount it.
Its flexibility gives you mounting options like the use of glue, tape, or zip ties to fix it. This panel is top-rated for solar conversion.
What makes it unique
- The solar panel is light and flexible
- You can easily install it
- Sufficient power input
Fold and carry around wherever you go. Once you are done using it, just fold it, put it in its case until next time,
Unique features of this Nature Power solar panel
- Compact design
- Portable that enables you to bring it anywhere
- Easy to carry and transport
- Very efficient production
Another great brand of solar boat panel is “All Powers 500W Bendable solar panel For Sailboat.” This solar panel has wonderful features than a usual solar panel. The product is water-resistant, semi-flexible, as well as dust resistant.
Resistance to dust keeps it clean and allowing more sunlight into the panel for conversion. The bendable nature of this product keeps it from breaking.
One remarkable thing about this product is that it is lightweight but still powerful, weighing 2 pounds.
You can easily fix it on your boat due to its weight and bendable nature.
Also, it gives you extra choices than rigid panels. It is best for a small space and crowded spaces.
Why is this ALLPOWERS solar panel unique
- Considerably flexible
- Fits in small or crowded spaces
Conclusion on Boat Solar Panels
Boat solar panels power your boat with natural energy from the sun, making it self-sufficient. You can take your boat off the grid when using solar energy, which means that you can sail as far as you wish.
Therefore, you need not worry about a power outage or having to go back to the shore to fuel your boat. You only go back onshore to get supplies or when you are done fishing or touring.
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