Why do you need a solar panel on your boat?
While there is a bit of an upfront cost to purchasing a solar panel for your boat, you will more than make up that money over time. This is because the savings of using a solar panel will outweigh the costs quickly. Without solar panels on your boat, the only way to run any lights or appliances is running the engine. This can quickly become problematic since the price of gas is only going to continue to go up.
Solar energy, on the other hand, is only going to save you money. Once you have purchased and installed solar panels, there is not a lot more cost to maintain them. In this way, you will end up saving a ton of money, since all of those extra gas funds you were burning through to run your lights and appliances is now staying in your wallet.
Not only that, but solar panels are much better for the environment as well. Since they do not create any sort of exhaust or pollution, you can do your small part to help our planet stay cleaner, which is to everyone’s benefit.
Features to consider while choosing a marine solar panel
There are several different factors that you need to take into consideration when you are looking for the best solar panel for marine use. In this section, we will go through everything you need to know to find the best solar panel for a boat.
Monocrystalline vs. polycrystalline
When you are looking for solar panels for your boat, there are two basic options to choose from. You can either go with monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels.
If you are looking for the most efficient type of solar panel, then you can go with the monocrystalline. They are much more common on the market and believed to be more energy efficient and long-lasting. However it entirely depends on the particular model, so read the customer reviews carefully to ensure that it will serve you well for many years to come.
For example, our second product on the list, the Newpowa 30W Solar Panel, despite being polycrystalline still provides you with enough power and sturdy design.
Maximum power (Pmax)
Depending on what type of appliances you intend to run off of your batteries, you need to decide how much wattage you need your solar panels to supply. The best guideline is to get panels that will provide 20% more power than you need. This will help alleviate any issues you might encounter on cloudy days.
Voltage at Pmax (Vmp)
The voltage is the amount of energy that is required to move energy from one source to another. Depending on what the voltage requirements are for your batteries and appliances, you will need to make sure that the solar panels provide the proper amount. Otherwise, they will not be able to move the proper amount of electricity along to charge or run your equipment.
Current at Pmax (Imp)
The current, or AMP, is how quickly the power will flow from the solar panel to your batteries. This will help you figure out how long it will take for your batteries to recharge after you have been using them to run your lights or appliances. The higher the current, the quicker the batteries will recharge.
The dimensions of the solar panel will play a big part in how much energy they can provide you. Basically, the larger the panel, the more sun they can soak up.
The size of your boat will limit the dimensions of your panels since you only have a particular amount of space to install the panels.
If you have a limited amount of space, then the ACOPOWER HY010-12M
is a good option, since they aren’t too big.
Solar panels are, by and large, relatively light. Even the heaviest panels, such as the Renogy 100W Monocrystalline Solar Panel don’t even weigh twenty pounds. This makes them perfect for pretty much any craft. It will also allow you to choose from permanently installing them or just putting them up when you need them, which can help save space on a smaller boat.
Since you are going to be mounting these panels onto a boat, you need to make sure that they are entirely waterproof. Otherwise, they are going to fail quickly when you are out on the water. Another good feature to keep in mind is whether or not you want the panel to be rigid or flexible. A flexible panel can be better aimed towards the sun, while rigid panels are more durable and less expensive.