Some helpful ideas to building a solar based power system on your boat.
Below are some interesting links that we have collected from some of our cruising clients. At Klacko, we do our best to give the best advice on eco based power as possible, however our strength is in fabricating strong ocean ready methods to hold your solar panels and wind turbines. Our belief for a good system is to start with as much battery storage as possible and use efficient electrical devices and practices. Most cruisers have reported using 200-250 amp hours per day to live aboard comfortably. Keeping the panels shadow free and out of harms way seem is the next priority…and that’s where Klacko comes in.
Source for glass photovoltaic panels in Ontario: Harder than it looks
I consistently get clients looking for a good retail source for their Solar needs.
Canadian Energy’s outstanding customer service and rock bottom pricing on performance mono crystalline panels, make them a great choice for sourcing your solar equipment; Canadian Energy Website
In 2018, we saw great pricing on 270W Solar Panels from $280-330.00 depending on qtys. Lots of excellent reports on quality and performance from their panels.
Sunware semiflexible and walkable panels. We are the canadian distributor of these premium photovoltaic panels. When you really need something that will take a beating and reliability in all weather conditions, Sunware is best in the business. Used by governments, navy and coast guards around the world. Made in Germany and currently sale priced. Sunware Retail Website
Victron Charge Controllers
We think the ‘smart’ functions that allow you to connect to your smart device or via internet is a great way to monitor your solar systems. Clients have reported 5 stars on their victron purchases.
- A wealth of commentary,information and setups can be found here: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats on Cruisers Forum Discussion
- MPPT vs. PWM Solar Controllers
Compass Marine: Charge controller comparison
The above article has been contested by a highly regarded professional and as such another view was provided below
PDF Publication: Phocos charge controllers explained
- A fun and simple video showing ins and outs of solar on a boat, thanks to the Wynn’s!
- Great installers for electrical systems in Ontario
A new way to mount solar over your bimini
We are constantly asked if a Canvas Bimini can support glass solar panels safe and effectively. The answer is a resounding NO. Yes, we all have dockmates who have loaded their bimini tops up with one or two solar panels and sailed the lakes for 20yrs with no issues. However, I have lost count of the number of stories I’ve heard that when these lake cruisers head south and into real ocean conditions….how fast a perceived ‘tested’ system is suddenly off the boat and sinking to the bottom.
1″ tube tied in with set screwed bimini deck fittings just can not handle the dynamic loads of ocean swells and wave action, especially laterally.
So the age old solutions to solar mounting has been on rear davit cross bars, deck or dodger and on top of an arch. The davit arch is by far the best solution however is not always an economical route. As such, we have developed a smaller and minimal arch for just solar panel mounting alone. This design is then tied into the sternrail pushpit for addition stability.
Our favourite plastic tube clamps
Remember the original rail clamp which was manufactured by Helm Products? It was sold for 20 years as product #HR-200. When the patent expired, they no longer made it. Zarcor now has it available in 3 sizes.
…to be continued (feel free to send your recommendations and advice)