"Not all those who wander are lost."

J R R Tolkien

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17 July 2013

Building our boat: Thinking ahead

Or was that jumping the gun  a bit? I have just bought some, relatively inexpensive, solar panels for our boat. I now have 3 x 170W panels, that's 510W. I have been searching to get the hang of what's needed, what's possible and what the cost might be over here in the UK. Those panels are 2 years old, but that does not seem to be a problems as some panels are now over 40 years old and apparently showing no sign of deterioration in electricity production.

Also, I have read that the European Union are about to impose a hefty surcharge of up to 47% on the cheap solar panels coming from China and obviously, the prices are  going to rise sharply in the near future. The Germans are also going to wind down their solar energy production soon. So, I decided to buy those now!

All I have to do now is suss out what our "needs" are going to be, and the rest of the paraphenalia associated with producing my own electricity.

 Advice welcome!

The bottom panels are coming along nicely. Not as fast as I had hoped, but not bad. I have now built and glassed 4 of them and I am about to start fitting them. Darn things weight about 100kgs each, so I get help form my daughter's boyfriend, who's into weight lifting. Besides, we've now had some days when it's actually too hot to work in the tent between 11am and 4pm. Time to sit around with a cool drink!


  1. You are going to need a charge controller. MPPT type controllers are a few bucks more, but produce more power. Get decent batteries. Flooded lead acid are still a good price to performance choice.

    Make sure the batteries can be charged from your motor(s). Equipment that runs directly on 12V is more efficient than those run off an inverter. You might be able to get by with a cheaper/smaller inverter too.

    Since you are starting from the ground up, pay attention to the power use of everything you put on the boat.

    Pay close attention your connections and disconnects. The marine environment is harsh.

    Just some top of my head suggestions.

    1. Thanks Sixbears. Yes, I had thought a MPPT seems to make sense particularly in the UK a bits of a boost would be good!

  2. No harm in thinking ahead, Joel; I wish MORE people did.

  3. Indeed it can help save stacks of money too!