3 Tips on Using Solar Panels for Boats
For those that want to implement a solar power system on their boat, there are a number of options. There are different types of solar cells, different mounting configurations, and different applications for these cells. Solar panels for boats are becoming more and more popular, especially as the efficiency of these panels has increased over the past few years. Here are three tips to help you get the right solar products for your marine applications.
#1 Choose the Right Type of Solar Panels
There are three types of solar cells for boats. These include monocrystal, polycrystal, and amorphous. All differ in terms of efficiency, price, and how they are installed. The most efficient are the crystalline panels; however, for low light situations, the amorphous are more efficient. The amorphous panels are also more expensive.
In terms of durability and reliability, you can expect anywhere from ten to twenty years out of your solar panels. In most cases, solar panels for boats do not last as long as those that are fixed, such as those on a building. Amorphous panels do not last as long, perhaps two to five years. However, depending on the climate and amount of sunlight in the area where you place your boat, amorphous panels might be your best choice.
#2 Choose the Right Type of Mounting to Maximize Efficiency
There are a number of different ways you can mount solar panels for boats. Some panels are flexible, so you can actually bend them to fit in specific areas. You’ll want to mount any panel so that it gets the most sunlight. Locations might include the top of the cabin, bimini tops, radar arches, and deck mounting. When you’re using a deck mounting, you’ll want to ensure you use spacers to allow for adequate airflow between the panel and the deck. You’ll also want to use silicone where holes were made in the deck. This will help ensure that your solar panels are safely installed.
#3 Choose the Right Application for the Solar Panels
There are three different types of applications for solar panels for boats. These include maintenance charging on boats mooring, sole-source charging for boats that don’t have auxiliary charging systems, and augmenting charging systems for cruising boats. There are solar power systems that can power a significant amount of appliances, such as the bilge pump or a television, for several hours during the day. You’ll also want to get a battery bank that will store the energy from the sun for later use.
You’ll be surprised at the benefits of solar panels for boats. Not only do they help to protect the earth resources, such as fossil fuels, these panels product a clean, renewable energy source. It’s better for the environment and it will help you reduce the costs associated with your boat. Certainly, as time progresses, more applications and more efficient solar panels will be developed, increasing the benefits even more.
Solar Panels for Boats Tip #1
There are a number of different manufacturers of marine solar panels. You can find a lot of information on the internet about which panels may be best suited for your needs.
Solar Panels for Boats Tip #2
You can purchase specialized panels that are designed to run onboard water heaters or other appliances. In fact, you local marine dealer will be able to show you examples of these types of systems.
Solar Panels for Boats Tip #3
There are many different sizes in panels, so you can tailor then specifically to your boat. This can also help to make these panels operate more efficiently when you make the most of the available space on your boat.