Re: Solar Energy System


It can be confusing if you look at land based solar information and transpose it to a boat. There are two issues for pointing the panels in the right direction. One is distance from the equator and the other is tracking through the day. On land it is definitely worth trying to angle the panels for latitude, for example at 16 degrees south the 5kW of panels on my house are on a north facing roof. Generally it is not worth tracking due to the complexity and cost of machinery in a land based situation.


On a boat it is obviously different circumstances and also shading has the greatest impact on efficiency. Do not underestimate the difficulty of moving a large panel in heavy weather. They have sharp corners and are fragile. Personally I wouldn't put one on a pole, especially a very large pivoting panel for a number of reasons. 


It's possible to make pivoting rail brackets yourself out of aluminium bar and a block of nylon or plastic for a few dollars. If you decide later to add a different mounting system or number of panels there is not much lost. Cost of panels is so much less these days, I would suggest the most convenient size is far more important than cost per watt on the size of system on a boat.


John, Maramu #91 Popeye



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