I've read Maine Sails solar howto and it's a great resource. I've read lots else as well. I keep my 32 on a mooring and I have two batteries for my bank. I only plugged in once all summer and run my A4 only to motor into the anchorage and out again. Solar makes sense to me and I don't have a high load, just nav lights, auto pilot and cabin lights really. Not planning refrigeration or AC or anything like that.
Now, has anyone got any experience with these "Tracer" brand MPPT controllers? I can get an 85 watt mono-crystalline panel with one of these controllers for just over $200 bucks. I might go smaller if i determine that my bimini won't hold the 85. Anyway, just wanted opinions on these, you can find them here:
10A 1210RN MPPT Solar Controller - China Tracer MPPT Solar Controller - Wholesale MPPT Solar Charge Controllers
for the money, I can go through three or four of them before I get to the cost of a blue-sky or other highly recommended controller. For my money I typically buy "the good stuff", but the solar isn't mission critical for me and I think this technology is only going to get cheaper so I'm loathe to fork out for the high end stuff. If I was going cruising long term I wouldn't consider the budget stuff at all. But I'm not, I mostly day sail and have just started weekending. Next year I'm hoping for a week or more on the hook somewhere so the solar will be important then but mostly I just want to maintain the health of my batteries and not worry about them.
This is the site I might buy this stuff from:
Alternately, a 20 watt kyocera panel and blue sky mppt controller from emarine would be 400 plus. Quarter of the wattage, double the price.