Shore power is great for keeping us well-lit and comfortable on the dock, and our electrical systems do a great job picking up that responsibility when the engine is running, but even the best batteries run out of juice, usually when we are counting on them the most.
So we fix this issue of needing self-sufficiency by installing a system to give us all the free battery energy we can handle, right? But determining how much solar power we need and what components are the best can take hours of research and time.
Solar Power Is Not Complicated
We tend to complicate the idea of solar power because most of us are unfamiliar with how it works, how large or how small our system must be, and how to put in onto our boat.
Lets start by looking at this in the simplest of terms and go from there.
There are only two things you need to run your electrical system when not connected to shore power or with your engine running; a third if you want to run AC powered equipment:
- Something to convert the sunshine into electrical charge
- A system to take that energy and use it to charge your batteries and keep them charged
- Something to convert DC to AC power
There are only 3 components needed to accomplish all three of the above objectives:
- Solar Panels
- A Charge Controller
- A Power Inverter if you want to convert DC power to AC power
Now we just need to break down the details to understand how we determine what we need for each of these components.
We've put together a few pages that can help you move through the process faster, understand how solar power works, and give you a better jumping-off point to get your boat powered by the sun.