Installing a solar panel on a boat is an effective solution to benefit from electrical autonomy at sea. In order for this equipment to meet your needs, it is advisable to choose the right quantity. However, this depends on many parameters such as the power of the equipment, the electricity needs, the surface of the boat, etc.
Understanding the working principle of a solar panel for boats
First of all, it is necessary to understand how a solar panel for boats actually works. Like a domestic solar panel, it collects energy from the sun and converts it into electricity. The direct current can be used directly to charge one or more batteries. The resulting electricity can be used to power various devices on the boat. The current is of course returned at the desired time.
In order for this equipment to promote the production of electricity, an MPPT charge controller must be installed. The main role of the MPPT is to ensure good management of the system. Sometimes the use of an inverter or a charger is necessary to recharge the batteries.
Calculate your consumption
To know how many solar panels to invest in, it is very important to know your electricity needs. While some people only need one installation, others need several. To do this, you need to know the power of all the equipment used on board. You can find this information in the operating instructions for each piece of equipment. The power per hour of the latter is multiplied by the number of hours of use. The value obtained is then compared with the power of the solar panel. You can then determine whether one installation will do the job.
Knowing the available surface area on the boat
The daily power consumption is not the only parameter to consider when determining the ideal number of solar panels for your boat. It is essential to determine the available surface area of the boat. This is also a criterion that can help you to choose the ideal size of your solar panel. Obviously, a small boat can only accommodate one panel. However, if the boat is large, you can install several panels. A solar panel for a boat is usually placed on the deck or on a bimini.
If you do not feel able to size your solar panels, you should call in a professional.
Choosing the right solar panel
To make sure that the solar panel on your boat meets your needs, it is very important to choose the right one. There are two types of solar panels: flexible and rigid. The first type is known to adapt to all types of supports. The second type is known to be specifically strong and efficient. To choose, you should carefully consider your electricity needs.