Geeking out on solar

By NEMROD Sailing
Series - Boat Related Things.
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It has been a long-term plan for Scott to install solar panels on the boat. He bought three 365 watt panels back in the UK and we loaded them up on to the van roof and drove down to Greece. They each weigh 24 kilos, so we needed a robust framework to house them. Scott had spied a stainless steel fabricator on one of the roads leading into Levkas, so he went to see him with a sketch of what was wanted and got a quote for 1450 euros to fabricate and install the panels.

The day of the installation, 3 guys showed up with the framework and it took them around an hour to bolt on to the Bimini roof. I went to do some grocery shopping and it was all done when I got back. Boy did it look swish! It is a very discreet installation: from the rear you just see the polished stainless steel of the frame.

Scott had already wired in the controller so it was just a matter of connecting it up. We went to bed anticipating sunrise and all it would give us. The Victron controller connects to a convenient app you can install on your phone or iPad. This gives you all kinds of stats on the performance of the panels. Each morning now Scott quotes his stats and feels very happy – he is geeking out on solar for sure!

In practical terms, what it means is that we can run the windlasses, fridge, freezer, computer, USB sockets without running down the house batteries. Prior to installing solar, the house batteries struggled to reach 12.5 volts, even after a few hours motoring. Now we regularly see 13.4V on the app at sundown.