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Solar Panels

Would it be advantage to have solar panels on the roof and which do you sudjest would be the correct size and how much should i expect to pay.The boat is moored for 6 months

Asked by: Chas Lee-Amies  | 5.28pm, Saturday 19 November

WW says:

The main thought is: do you want to just keep the batteries topped up when you are away from the boat, or do you want the panels to be able to provide self-sufficient power, for leisure or residential purposes?
Also, what size battery bank do you have, and, if you want them to provide power, what appliances will you be running?
If you let us know, we can give a more detailed answer.

Mark Langley  | 6.37PM, Saturday 19 November

It sounds as though your alternator is not fully charging the batteries, as after a days cruising you should have plenty of power. It is worth checking the charging voltage at the batteries, and it might be worth doing a power audit to check your requirement if all seems well otherwise.
Adding solar panels sounds like an excellent idea. A small panel will keep the batteries topped up and in good condition whilst the boat is not in use; whereas a large panel will supply power whilst moored up, possibly meaning that the engine will not need to be run for battery charging when moored up for a day.
The smallest panel worth fitting is 12/14W, but to get useable power 30/40W would be best. It all depends on how you use the boat and the depth of your pockets!
A regulator will be needed for panels bigger than about 14W.

Rupert Smedley  | 5.47PM, Sunday 27 November

Readers say:

Cheers for.your reply.the problem is after.a days cruise the batteries give up . I have had the batteries tested and they are ok.(18months old). I have 3 leisure batteries XEL 110ah.The boat is moored at Bugbrooke for approx 6months of the year. I want to boost the batteries when it is moored and if possible to provide power for leisure purposes.Do you think solar panels are the way to go? Thanks a lot. chas

Chas Lee-Amies  | 9.28AM, Sunday 27 November

You need to do a full audit of your power consumption to assess what you need. Have a look at the spreadsheet that I wrote. It is published on the site and can be found at www.waterwaysworld.com/advice then click 'electrics' on the left. You can do various 'what ifs?' including the addition of solar panels of varying powers to see what effect they would have.

Nicholas Cooke  | 8.54AM, Tuesday 6 December

i have used a solar panel on my narrowboat for 9 years it gives about 50 watts it keeps my batteries fully charged and that is good for them because they are still the same batteries and when ever i go to my boat they read 13.8 volts. you can't use solar panels to charge batteries they would cover your roof, you need a good alternator and a charge controler

terry roberts  | 7.38PM, Tuesday 6 December

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