So with the new Airhead now installed, it was now time to install a solar panel and controller to solve two problems.
How to power the Airhead vent fan without installing a solar vent and punching another hole in the deck, and how to power the bilge pump when on the hard. The bilge pump was especially important to us after the flood we had inside the boat in 2016 after the cockpit drains had plugged.
In the spring I had purchased a 100 watt semi flexible Windy Nation solar panel and a Go Power 30 amp charge controller of off Amazon for $300. With extra wire and deck hardware it came to $375.
I had thought about mounting options of the panel prior to making a purchase. I had two mounting options in mind.
1. Mount a rigid panel on the stern rail. Though this option appealed to me initially, most of the panels that were the right size were in the 30 watt range and quite expensive for their small size.
2. Mount a semi-flexible panel on the deck. This option seemed to me to be the best as I get get a higher wattage panel for way less then option 1 and it gave me the flexibility (no pun intended) of multiple mounting scenarios. I could screw it or glue it to the deck. Velcro was also an option.
So I went with option number 2. You just couldn’t beat the price and much more bang for the buck when it came to wattage and mounting options. Of course there are some drawbacks of mounting a solar panel on the deck or on a dodger or Bimini, namely shading from the sails. However with a 100 watt panel I still should receive enough power when sailing for this not to be a problem.
Where to mount. And a temporary solution. Continue reading “Solar power? Yeah Baby!”