100R

solar

21.06.03

Our current solar setup

We had two hard 90W panels once, but we sold one. We would have preferred to keep both, but while long-lasting (compared to flexis) they are heavy, and Pino's topsides could not accommodate the second in a safe and affordable way.

Solar versus The Ocean

We've experimented a lot with our solar setup, due to equipment failure (corrosion) or complete loss.

We prefer to keep our solar panel setup small, because too many panels on deck is cumbersome, it is also dangerous—a large wave, or strong wind, will take gear that you thought secure in a second. In the words of Lin Pardey: "Anything on deck is sacrificial".

Different kinds of panel (monocrystalline, poly etc) will be better in specific situations, and their placement on deck will also affect daily amperage. We positioned a 80W flexi in front of the mast, but that area is prone to wave wash, and the panel wiring corroded within two years. The flexi wiring was not weatherproof—it is possible it was not rated for marine use, we wrongly assumed it was. The 100W flexi lasted longer, but the plastic covering the cells was not UV resistant and began to part in 2020. The two hard 90W Solara panels did not suffer damage. The wiring is well-protected (IP65 waterproof junction box) and the tempered solar glass is very tough. One 90W suffered the wave event, it was thrown from its perch, but it did not break (and still works today 21/05/21).

Timeline

For information on installing solar panels on your boat, see our solar tips.