Installing Solar Power On a Boat Or RV

Published in Technology on 7th September 2018

I discovered myself wondering when there was any real benefit in fitting solar power panels to the boat. The main reason I considered it was due to a trip we made 3 years ago to Boston in Lincolnshire. We’d made the decision to consider three days holiday along with a good lengthy trip would most likely be appreciated through the boat’s engine and transmission. To be fair we’d an excellent trip and enjoyed it.

The only real fly within the cream came whenever we remained anywhere in excess of one evening. We discovered that i was getting to operate the boat’s engine for many hrs each day to ‘top up’ the leisure batteries. Our engine, although in excellent condition, is nearly 70 years of age. It is extremely noisy, making it somewhat irritating. Also obviously, using the engine running we could not leave the boat unwatched. Not ideal.

Used to do lots of research before finally deciding to go forward and install solar.

We already had a nearly new group of four Trojan viruses deep cycle batteries fitted and that i can’t impress upon the readers enough that genuine deep cycle batteries are crucial if you would like success having a solar setup. Take note that batteries offered as starter / leisure batteries are usually not and therefore are likely to be a terribly costly mistake. Deep cycle batteries cash thicker internal lead compound plates than starter batteries and therefore are specifically made to be discharged regularly. Our Trojan viruses batteries are extremely generally suited to electric golf carts, and therefore are billed during the night to supply motive turn on the course for hrs at any given time the very next day. A starter battery could be fatally broken if used in this manner.

The following factor to think about is how you can regulate power in the solar power panels to obtain the absolute maximum in to the batteries with no damage to them. There are lots of possibilities which is a large subject. The main reason a high quality solar controller is important happens because standard 12-volt solar power panels don’t produce 12 volts. It’s quite common for solar power panels to create as much as 22 volts each which current will fry your batteries otherwise controlled correctly. Because of this, we decided on a Victron MPPT controller. Victron is globally recognized like a market leader famous because of its quality products and we’ve been delighted with ours. I’ll begin another paragraph to describe why I’m recommending this controller.

The Victron MPPT controllers are very cleverly programmed. They’re fully functioning ‘smart’ chargers, and may also behave as an immediate power. The most recent ones possess a Bluetooth connection that enables charging regimes to become adjusted to match all battery types. This really is helpful because our Trojans need a bulk charge greater than that offered by a typical engine alternator. They utilise ‘Maximum Power Point Tracking’ technology (hence MPPT) to scrape every available electron in the solar power panels. The best bit. We’ve three solar power panels, each producing 22 volts in sunshine, so we have wired them in series. It has the result of adding the current of every panel together. Which means that we’re frequently putting 66 volts into our controller! Not even close to doing damage, this really is beneficial. The Victron cleverly takes the current in the panels, that is Electricity current, and turns it into AC current. The AC current will be reconverted to Electricity in the current needed through the batteries and leftover power is changed into extra amperage for that batteries, speeding battery charging. Impressively clever for me.

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