Helpful ideas for solar based power systems 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 and Solara
Sunware and Solara 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. Sunware Retail Website
Victron Charge Controllers
Remotely control and monitor the extensive features of your SmartSolar MPPT charger with built-in bluetooth by pairing it with your smartphone or other device via VictronConnect. If your installation is connected to the internet Victron Remote Management Portal (VRM) provides access to the full power of your MPPT, anytime, anywhere; both services are free to use. For remote installations – even when there is no internet connection or phone signal nearby – you may be able to monitor your MPPT by bluetooth-pairing with a LoRaWAN(long-range wide area network) device, available optionally.
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.
Genasun makes über advanced MPPT Solar Charge controllers that provide the power you need when you need it most. Using advanced circuit design and construction methods honed at MIT, then refined by deployment in the harshest earthly conditions, Genasun provides the most reliable and efficient power management systems available. https://genasun.com/
- 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
Also a tremendous wealth of info can be found from our friends at Distant Shores TV
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.
Sealing wiring slots in stainless tube; these Trim Lok trim seals work well over tubing. Can be found here
…to be continued (feel free to send your recommendations and advice)