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As it stands right now, we only have 184 watts of solar panels on our boat and I'm wanting to add some additional power to them. I have a completely empty hard top and was thinking of placing four to six 100 watt panels on top, or making a new support system to the existing back support and putting them there.

Obviously, they'd be on their own charge controller and ran to the battery bank separately. I have an 800 ah battery bank and a 3500 watt generator. I will be running an autopilot, chartplotter, a 12 volt watermaker, 2 12 volt refrigerators, and all the other normal stuff.

So is 784 watts of solar panel a decent amount of power? My thinking is that there can't be enough solar power coming in and the question comes downs to budget but at the same time I don't want to spend more money than I need to.

Any thoughts or opinions are welcome.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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Well I manage comfortably with 400 watts of solar feeding 675 amp/hr battery bank. I use a lappie a lot and run a fridge that makes ice daily. Mine tilts and I am fairly diligent in following the sun.

The one thing that strikes me about your current installation is the large aerial that can shadow your existing panels. that shadow will dramatically drop your input.
 

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How about a couple of d400 s. Less space and get juice when there's wind but no sun.
 

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Since you have the space on your hardtop, why not. Overall it would be a low cost investment if you can compare/justify against your current costs. For example; if you are always at the dock, what's the point? But, if you are moored/anchored a lot and it's more cost effective than running the generator all the time.

Do you have any wind power? Maybe a good back up.
 

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If my boat had a hardtop it would be totally covered with solar panels. No doubt about it. I met a guy in the keys that had 1100-watts of solar panels on his 51-foot catamaran. Everything ran on 12 volts but his AC which ran on a huge inverter. Never had a problem.

I only have a single, 100-watt panel that keeps my 550 AH battery bank fully charged all the time. I never reposition the panel, and I'm sure there is some loss there, but it's not significant because the batteries seem to stay charged. My refrigerator draws just 6 amps and because it's insulated with 4-inches of dense, close-cell foam the compressor only runs for a short time, then the thermostat kicks it off. At the most it comes on for about 3 minutes every half hour or so during the hottest days. Much less at night.

Currently, in order to run my AC I need shore power. It's a 17,000 BTU brute of a heat pump that does a fantastic job of heating or cooling the boat. I think in order to run that I would need to purchase and install a good, diesel generator, one that is fuel efficient and quiet. I looked at a couple Honda generators, but they were really high priced.

Gary :cool:
 

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I don't think I have ever heard anyone say "we just have too many solar panels". Even if you wind up with excess power (unlikely) it just means you get to run the water maker, or fridge longer.

Because you already have a hardtop you may want to consider removing it and building a new one with panels. It would reduce weight and windage, and allow easier trouble shooting if something goes wrong. THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: SOLAR BIMINI PART SEVEN: PANELS INSTALLED describes a nicely done one.
 

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Corsair 24
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I love to save energy think NOT how much watts you need but how you can better your consumption
 

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I have an old adler barbour on thhe boat I plan to scrap for refirgeration...insulation is key...well see what happens

I only have 100 watts panel wise so far but will add another
 
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