Friday, 20 May 2011

Solar Panel

Stargazy lives on a swinging mooring, and our power usage on-board is limited to instruments, lighting and radio. Recharging the battery currently is limited to using the alternator on the outboard, but the power output from this is very limited.

So we are essentially "off grid" and given that nuclear power is complex, and tricky to install on a 26ft boat :-) I decided to see what alternative energy sources we could utilise.

Jan and I met 21 years ago at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales. We experienced numerous weeks of off grid living; the power for the cabins we stayed in came from alternative energy sources (solar, hydro and wind). Now you'd have thought that being on a Welsh hillside, wind would be the best of these, however this was rarely the case!

For Stargazy, I decided to start with a solar panel charger for the battery, on the basis that they are now relatively cheap, simple and hard wearing. The likes of Maplin sell various solar panels, however their construction I didn't feel would last too long in a marine environment.

I happened to notice that Nasa Marine had expanded their product range, and now offered solar panels, so I've taken the plunge and ordered a 20watt panel which arrived this morning, along with a couple of free gifts!
I'll report back when its been fitted.


  1. How did you get on with the charger? I'm thinking of getting one and would love some feedback.

    1. Its been good, seems to do the job, has a fan in it, so can be noisy on the higher charging rates.

  2. check out this website it explains exactly how to build solar panels using do it yourself methods...

  3. Looks pretty small compared to typical home solar panels, but hey, great investment either way!