Like most boat owners, your generator or bank of batteries probably delivers sufficient power to cater to all your power needs. We have, however, seen more and more ... read more boaters purchasing and installing solar power chargers and accessories. So how can solar power benefit you?
Important Information About Solar Panels Normally, a boat derives its electricity from an on board generator or a bank of batteries which will normally be charged at the dock. Solar power simply means power or electricity is generated by the sun. This can be a great way to light up a dock with simple solar powered cleats, or even use it to charge batteries when out on the water.
Components of Solar Power System:
- Photovoltaic Cell/Solar Panel: It transforms the sun rays into electricity. It is rated in watts and the charge is usually 12 volts DC (Direct Current).
- Charge controller: This device regulates the amount of current that flows from the panel to the connected devices. Too much or too little current may damage the electronics or any other accessories.
- Batteries: Most standard devices can run directly from the solar panels. However, in cloudy days or at night no energy is produced. Connecting the solar panel to a battery provides power in the absence of the sun.
Types of Solar Panels
The solar panel transforms energy from the sun into electricity and comes in the following types:
- Fixed panel: This photovoltaic cell is rigid and is not supposed to be bent or folded. It is normally fixed at one point.
- Semi-flexible: Unlike the fixed or rigid type, this panel can be bent slightly. This makes it suitable for use in areas that are slightly curved.
- Foldable: It features small PV cells that are connected together. It can be opened when about to be used and folded back after use. It is quite flexible and suitable for small applications.
- Roll-able: This panel can be rolled like a blanket. It is quite flexible and well suited for small appliances or electronics.
Common Solar Power Boating Accessories Solar remains one of the best solutions to the high cost of energy. The system will also provide continues flow of electricity without the fear of running down the batteries. A boater may incorporate the following solar accessories:
- Battery Charger: Larger solar panels can be used to charge the main battery of a boat or other large electrical accessories. Smaller solar panels can be used to charge electronics such as cell phones, ipods, or even direct charging of 12v batteries.
- Lights: Instead of connecting lights to the electrics, a boater may install solar lights. They can be dock lights, warning lights, dock cleats, and some boat lights. They come with a solar panel and an internal battery. Quality dock lights come with marine grade solar panels to withstand the harsh marine weather.
- Solar shower: Instead of heating water or taking a cold shower, you may opt for solar showers. They comprise of a water tank and a panel containing black tubing in the inside.
When determining if a solar panel system is right for your boat, first, ascertain your power needs. What is the consumption in watts of each device? How long are you going to operate the accessory? How many hours of sunshine? What’s the induction current?
When you know your power needs you can determine which panel(s) is right for you. Iboats.com stocks a variety of different size solar panels and accessories to help you make the solar power leap. Have questions? Call our customer service team at 1-800-914-1123. read less