In recent times, solar energy has gained prominence for its eco-friendly nature. Solar energy generates energy from renewable sources and is beneficial for our environment. Solar-based energy serves as a viable alternative to fossil fuels, for they help in reducing our carbon footprint and the emission of greenhouse gases. In turn, we get to breathe cleaner air which goes a long way in improving our overall wellbeing.
You can use solar energy at home to charge your devices and appliances. Also, if you’re planning on a long boating trip, you can rely on marine solar panels to keep your batteries charged. They are cost-effective and effectual solutions to meet your electrical requirements while you’re out in the waters. Only you have to charge the battery of the panels in the sun to exploit the related benefits.
As a result of the efficacy of marine solar panels, they are also gaining popularity among the boating community. They are increasingly being preferred for their durability aspects. More so, they work silently and seamlessly to keep your batteries charged.
Marine Solar Panels Reviewed
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WindyNation 200-Watt Solar Panel will let you generate electricity from the sun and thus helping you to cover more distance on the water. With WindyNation 200-Watt Solar Panel, you will be able to keep your gadgets charged even when you are in the middle of nowhere. It is ideal for people who spend most of their time on cabins, RVs, or boats. The package contains 40 ft 12 AWG Solar Cable, LCD 20-Amp P20L Solar Charge Controller, and 2pcs 100-Watt Solar Panels. All you have to do is to get it attached to a DC-to-AC inverter and a 12-volt battery and your off-grid solar system will be up and running in a matter of few minutes. Detail system information is made available in the digital display of the PWM solar charge controller.
WindyNation 200-Watt Solar Panel is compatible with a wide range of battery types. Be it a lithium battery, AGM, or a lead-acid battery, you can get this WindyNation 200-Watt Solar Panel connected to them all. Depending on the availability of the sunlight, WindyNation 200-Watt Solar Panel can generate 67 Amp hours of charge every single day. You can attach 3pcs 100W solar panels at maximum with the charge controller.
Renogy 160-Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel is extremely lightweight and that means, you can carry it around the boat without breaking a sweat. The solar panels are extremely flexible and that means, they can be rotated at 248-degree. The best thing about this solar panel is that it can be attached to uneven surfaces and this is what has helped it gained popularity among boaters. Renogy 160-Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel is 70% lighter than its standard counterpart.
Weighs just around 6.2 pounds, Renogy 160-Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel is 95% thinner than other solar panels that are available at this price. It is designed to withstand strong wind and can bear the weight of snow. It can endure a 5400Pa snow load. Even in low light conditions, Renogy 160-Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel can offer superior performance. It does not matter whether you keep it under a shade or not because it can still generate enough electricity to power your devices.
Just get this Nature Power 55702 120-watt Portable Monocrystalline Solar Panel fitted with 12v batteries and you will have your solar power system ready. It is that simple. It comes fitted with a solar charge controller and that gives you the freedom to use this marine solar panel with a standard 12V battery. Another amazing feature of this Nature Power 55702 120-watt Portable Monocrystalline Solar Panel is that it has got a compact design and is portable. When you are not using it, you can just fold it down and tuck it away in some other place. This marine solar panel is made from Mono-crystalline silicon solar cells that are known for their ability to produce energy fast. To reduce battery discharging, a built-in diode is in place.
Renogy 200W 12V Monocrystalline Bundle 100W Solar Panel is best suited for those who are planning to invest in solar energy for the very first time. The biggest advantage of using this Renogy 200W 12V Monocrystalline Bundle 100W Solar Panel is that it does not generate any such noise and can be used in RVs and boats. The kit contains Z-brackets, male and female solar panel connectors, 8ft 10AWG Tray Cable, 20ft 10AWG Adaptor Kit, 30A PWM Wanderer Charge Controller, and 4 Renogy 100W 12V Poly/ Mono Solar Panels.
Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel can easily keep itself protected from dust and particles. This marine-grade solar panel can easily withstand impacts and is anti-reflective in nature. Its frame is made from aluminum and this is what has made it highly resistant to corrosion. This solar panel should last at least a decade unless you are doing something terribly wrong. It comes fitted with a 30A PWM Negative ground Charge Controller and if you wish, you can extend its capacity to 400-watt by adding more connection parallelly.
Newpowa 30W Monocrystalline Solar Panel put up great performance even when the sky is overcast and can generate a decent amount of electricity when you are fishing in the middle of a vast ocean. The panel is a quality build and should last a long time. The aluminum frame adds to its sturdiness and rigidity. The sealing and the wires of the solar panel are well done and if you wish to take a sneak peek of the wire connections inside, you just have to push the sliding door. Ideal for marine conditions, Newpowa 30W Monocrystalline Solar Panel can withstand both snow and rain.
ACOPOWER 35 Watts 35w Polycrystalline Photovoltaic PV Solar Panel allows you to set your very own solar power generation system in a matter of few minutes. This solar panel has got a compact design and can be used in the mountain or the sea. You will get a 90cm long cable with it and the installation process is fairly simple and straightforward. It can easily withstand a 5400Pa snow load and high wind speed. Anti-Reflection Coated Glass adds to its longevity. ACOPOWER 35 Watts 35w Polycrystalline Photovoltaic PV Solar Panel is 100% waterproof and you will get a 5-year workshop warranty with this.
Marine Solar Panels Buying Guide
Here are the aspects for you to consider when purchasing marine solar panels.
The size of the marine solar panel is an important consideration because you want your power supply needs to be met satisfactorily. Thus, you must consider making some calculations before your purchases. Do not fret; it’s not all that difficult to do so.
Only prepare a list of the requisite equipment and check how many hours of DC you need every day, and then, add an extra 20% to the calculated figure.
Take the example of your refrigerator. If it needs 5 amps to function 10 hours in a day, then the daily unit requirement is 50-amp hours of DC. Follow by converting amp hours to watts; multiply by 12.8V (the voltage of the average marine battery) and you will come to 640 watt-hours. Then, you have to factor in an additional 20% so multiply by 1.2. Next, divide the figure by the stipulated hours of daily sun exposure which can be 4 hours.
Now, your refrigeration needs seem to be 640*1.2 = 768 watt-hours. Subsequently, divide by 4 hours of sun. The total is 192 watts of solar energy per day.
To get the maximum output from your investment in solar marine panels, you must place them at optimal locations. This applies mostly during cloudy weather, for the sun does not shine bright then.
If you place your panels at ideal locations, they generate more power and in shorter durations.
You must consider placing the panels on side rails and bimini tops for them to get maximum sun exposure.
Types Of Solar Cells
The general perception is that larger-sized solar panels translate into greater electrical power. However, this notion is wrong, for the solar cells have a higher bearing on the efficiency of the solar-based units than the size of the units.
In marine solar cells, you have three kinds of solar cells to choose from.
Composed from a single crystal of silicon, the monocrystalline cells are premium-quality solar options and the most efficient among the different varieties of solar cells.
In the case of polycrystalline cells, they are made after melting together a series of silicon fragments. Surely, they are efficient, but not to the same extent as the monocrystalline ones. All the same, they are advantageous from the cost point of view, for they are available at cheaper rates than the monocrystalline varieties.
Previously, amorphous cells were not known to be very efficient, but rate high in efficiency in today’s times due to advanced technology. They can be kept on curved surfaces and serve their purpose well even during low light conditions.
As part of your marine solar power kit, charge controllers are a vital constituent. They prevent your batteries from getting overcharged, and subsequently, damaged. If your batteries get overcharged, the power output of your unit reduces.
Also, you may need to replace your batteries often if they fail to work seamlessly. To avoid such troubles, you may be better off investing in a good-quality charge controller.
Do not undermine the importance of marine grade wiring. In the case of conventional wiring, they start to degenerate over time due to exposure to the sun’s harsh rays, salt, and moisture. Consequently, your unit does not function properly. So, go for marine grade wires and avoid such issues.
Investing in solar energy may not be cheap, but it pays handsome dividends in the long run. Moreover, they are an environmental-friendly alternative and will find resonance with you if you’re a nature lover.
Nevertheless, if you’re working on a budget, then you must look for options within the given financial constraints. Discuss your budget with your dealer to know what your options are and factor in all the related aspects beforehand to get the most from your outlay in solar energy.