Solar Panels Installed!

 

I've added this page because over winter I've installed 300 watts of solar onboard our own boat. I had to do a lot of research to get the install right, and I'm hoping that you can use my experience to have a nice easy install for yourself.

We're only 30 feet long so have had to fit rather less panel area than I would have liked, but the effect has been really rewarding. The main reason for this installation was to reduce engine running hours when moored up. We found that if we arrived somewhere that we want to stay for a while, we were having to run our engine for hours at a time just to top up the leisure batteries! This has now been radically reduced.

The three main components of a successful install are:-

Batteries:

Not any old batteries will do! Do not be fooled by so-called starter / leisure batteries. They are false economy. A successful install requires proper deep cycle batteries. These batteries have thicker plates and are designed for the purpose. Our own system uses Trojan T105 batteries. These are known as 'golf cart' batteries. they are charged up at night and run golfers around, silently, for hours at a time next day. This is something that a starter/ leisure battery cannot do. Take a look at our 'Batteries' tab to the left of the screen.

We chose to use Trojan 6 volt batteries to increase our available power. Connect two in series to get a large capacity 12 volt battery rar

Here's a link to Genuine Trojan Deep Cycle Batteries

Solar Panel Controller:

Essential this, and important you buy good quality. Our solar panels, although described as '12 volt', actually produce nearer to 22 volts. We have three identical panels, wired in series, and on a bright (not necessarily sunny) day, we are pushing 66 volts into the controller. We have a 24 volt system so you might think we would be 'cooking' the batteries with 66 volts, but no. The controller, which is a Victron, regulates the voltage going into the batteries. Any 'left over' voltage is converted to amps and helps speed battery charging.


This is the controller I have fitted. The supplier is the best you could possibly find.

They are official UK Victron agents and are very helpful. Nothing is too much trouble for them.



Brand new - fully Victron guaranteed

 Victron MPPT Solar Controller

Solar Panels:

We are using 3 X 12 volt X 100 watt panels and have them wired in series, giving up to 66 volts in total. The controller is a Victron 75 | 15 mppt. This controller can cope with an inputted voltage maximum of 75 volts and up to 15 amps current. You can see that our 66 volts is well within the controllers limits. The 'mppt' in the controllers name stands for 'maximum power point tracking'. This ensures that maximum benefit is extracted from the panels.

If you are outside of the UK