Solar Panels on Boats: Is It Worth It?

Retiring from work life and travelling on a boat is just a dream for some but for some it’s an everyday reality.

Just like cars, boats run on fuel and have a battery too. If you’re thinking of putting solar panels on your boat, you probably have loads of questions as to whether solar panels make sense on boats in the first place. Other questions might include how they work on boats, what the challenges are, how you would find the space and so on.

Below is a quick guide answering all your doubts on fitting your boat with a couple of solar panels.

Are Solar Panels Viable on A Boat?

We know Australia is one of the sunniest countries in the world. We also have a government that is leaning towards a green energy and solar power has been on the rise. Most homeowners are now switching to solar panels. You can look for solar panels NSW if you live in the area. Most of the states saw a drastic increase in the number of solar systems installed.

So, does it make sense for you to fit a couple of panels on your boat? Surprisingly, yes it does. This is surprising because there are stories of failed solar panels that couldn’t even keep a light bulb on due to the salty air breeze damaging the crystals. However solar panel manufacturing techniques have improved, so this is not a concern anymore.

Solar panels are more powerful and cheaper. They are also flexible and quite durable, which allows them to withstand the tough sea life.

How to Utilize Solar Power on Your Boat?

They are two main ways you can use power from solar panels on your boat. The main purpose of solar panels can be to charge your boat’s batteries which power all the other electronic components on board. You can keep your drinks chilled, charge your phone and even enjoy some lights in the night without switching on your noisy engine.

The second use of solar panels on a boat is to sail using solar power. In 2017 there was a case of a captain using solar power to cruise over 7200 miles on his 48-foot tri hull boat. You can’t exactly reach top speed but however you can get from point A to point B comfortably.

Where Do I Start?

The first step is to think about whether you want to just power up your electronics or use solar power to sail and bid adieu to fuel. If it’s the latter, you might need a big solar system however if you pick the former option then you have to calculate an average power requirement.

After deciding the size of the system, the next step is to determine where you’re going to fit the panels. Smaller the boat the more tactical your approach has to be. Make sure you don’t cover any of the panels with your mast, sail, book, spreaders etc.

These are the basic things you need to know when it comes to installing solar panels on your boat. Make sure you get the installation done by professionals.

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