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Rasputin 06-18-2013 05:47 PM

Solar vs. Wind Turbine.
Huge thanks to all who are here and help me in wading through some seemingly simple issues as I learn. Appreciated.

Simply, Solar vs. Wind Turbine?

Looking at one or the other now but not both due to cost.

I have 6 - T125s, Xantrex SW3000 Inverter, Honda 2000 Gen, good power under diesel engine / alternator.

As a whole, my power situation is good. We (me, wife and daughter) can be power frugal but would like to keep the water hot (110 or engine circulation), freezer cold and run the convection / microwave oven, TV and other items when needed with less concern or having to run the Honda on the deck. Most is just weekend cruising to Catalina Island and some coastal cruising to different California marinas. Mexico a couple times per year.

I have the space to consider solar panels or wind turbine. Southern California (LA Area) sees good wind and no shortage of sun.

How does one determine the best option based on total input and most consistent? I hear they can be pretty equal.


jimgo 06-18-2013 07:20 PM

Re: Solar vs. Wind Turbine.
Each one has their advantages and disadvantages, as you well know. With where you are, I think it's pretty much a coin-toss. Have you priced out solar and wind based on your anticipated needs? That may ultimately be the deciding factor.

BTW, your area is amazing for sailing. I get out there a few times a year and sneak rides when I can.

ebs001 06-19-2013 09:45 AM

Re: Solar vs. Wind Turbine.
Both have there advantages and disadvantages.
Wind Generators operate 24 hrs a day rain or shine but require wind of at least 10 knots but preferably 15Kns plus. This doesn't make for the most pleasant anchoring and they can be noisy. Most are and some very.

Solar require sun and are effected by clouds and shadows. They are totally silent so your neighbours will never complain.

First thing you have to do is calculate your daily energy requirements and then how you are going to supply that power. For example how long do you plan to run the Honda each day. Are you going to run your engine. You'll find that some of the things on your wish list like hot water can only be accomplished by running your engine.

Then you can figure how much renewable power you will need. When I'm cruising I use about 6ah per hour or 144 ah per day. Most of that is refrigeration. So I need about 150ah per day which means I need about 450 watts of solar panels or about 15 knots of wind with a D400.

A friend of mine has both and is right now in the Windward Islands. He says he wished he had more solar.

SimonV 06-19-2013 09:58 AM

Re: Solar vs. Wind Turbine.
If its one or the other it has to be solar. But both are better and even then you may still require to run your motor to top up the batteries occasionally.

Rasputin 06-19-2013 05:31 PM

Re: Solar vs. Wind Turbine.
Huge thanks for the input.

redline 06-21-2013 08:59 AM

Re: Solar vs. Wind Turbine.
When I added the radar/dinghy arch to Redline a few years back, I ordered both the solar panel brackets and a post for a wind generator at the same time, planning to add those later. We ended up installing two Kyocera 130W panels right away, and adding a third the following year (after learning that the particular panels we had were being replaced by another not-quite-identical model, but were still available). From day one, we're thrilled by the solar. The (mainly fridge) overnight consumption was typically replaced by early afternoon each day, and if I had room to expand our house bank (of 3 Group27 batteries) I would, as the panels can generate more than I can store, and this at 46 degrees North.

Now we sometimes need to run the engine for hot water, as we no longer do for battery charging. It was a surprise the first time we ran out, now it's just a reminder of how little fossil fuel we're using ;-)

As for the support post... it's holding up our WiFi and its antenna, and lately the HF antenna and its tuner. No plan to change those, either. I'm sure wind has it's place, but as long as we can get by with silent, vibration-free, no-moving-parts solar, we will.

aeventyr60 06-21-2013 09:51 PM

Re: Solar vs. Wind Turbine.
Before we left somebody said " solar for Mexico, wind generator for the So. Pacific. I'd add the solar first. Then get the wind generator.

PBzeer 06-22-2013 06:26 AM

Re: Solar vs. Wind Turbine.
I figured if I was sailing, I'd have wind for the wind generator, and if I was motoring (no wind), then I was charging anyway. If I was starting over, I'd get solar first. As for hot water, I have a large SolarShower that I tie down on top of my dodger (it has a hard top).

freedoman 07-02-2013 01:13 PM

Re: Solar vs. Wind Turbine.
I've had a wind generator on my Gulfstar 37' sloop since 1991 and wouldn't consider doing without it. I have 3 group 31 Defender batteries (130 a/h each and they stay topped off most of the time. The unit is a Four Winds that is so quiet people come by and find it hard to believe how quiet it is. I bought it with a control unit that measures output and state of charge of the battery. It also has a bump start to get it going in light air, a reverse switch which reverses the field to stop the unit so I can put a lanyard on it when I leave. Similarly it has a spring load governor that deflects when the wind speed gets too high and slows the unit down; and finally it has a 3 stage regulator that keeps the batteries from overcharging. If we're on the boat for days with slight wind I simply leave it running when I go home and the batteries are topped off when I get back. I'm not at all against solar, I just love my Fourwinds which is mounted on a 9' SS pole.

freedoman 07-02-2013 01:18 PM

Re: Solar vs. Wind Turbine.
I find that one of he advantages of a wind generator is that the batteries are charging overnight while we sleep. No sun needed.

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