Solar panels work great on a sailboat

by Gary
(Surprise, Arizona)

You can see the ends of the panels above our heads

You can see the ends of the panels above our heads

We lived for 8 years on a sailboat in the Caribbean...I know it is tough, but someone had to do it.


We had a energy usage of 100 to 120 amp hours per day. 85% of the use was our 12 volt refrigeration system...the beer was always ice cold.

Running the engine was the last resort to keeping the batteries charged up. Especially at anchor, it was noisy.

We had a wind generator that would keep the batteries fully charged when the wind was 15 knots and up. It also could be noisy, no problem when you are off the boat...but when reading in the cockpit it could be annoying.

Our favorite way of keeping the batteries happy was our 2 75 watt Seimens solar panels. We had a bracket made for them atop the bimini...for landlubbers that is the canvas over the cockpit which protected us from the sun...they were out of sight, made no noise, and silently produced around 45 to 50 amp hours per day.

Solar energy is the way to go folks, for us ...it was free...there was zero maintenance...and it was quiet.

Life is good.

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Dec 04, 2009
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Did wind and solar meet 100% of battery charging needs?
by: Gary

95% of the time the answer was yes. On those very rare calm days we may have ran the engine for 30 minutes.

Dec 04, 2009
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Wow!!
by: Mashubi

What a great picture Gary!! I am sure you and your wife have some amazing stories to tell about your eight years on the Caribbean!! Did you find that between the wind power and the solar power that you had enough energy to get through the day?

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