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Chianti
Chianti

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:56pm

Post Subject: Fitting Solar Panels

Firstly, Im new to the world of canal boating. I'm taking ownership of a secondhand widebeam (2yrs old) which will become my permanent residence eventually. The barge is currently moored in Wakefield, Yorkshire. What I wish to do is have solar installed to keep the batteries charged whilst I'm out of the country. But whilst in residence the panels to cope with the usual live aboard appliances. Can you recommend a company in the Wakefield vicinity to fit the solar? Look forward to hearing from you please. Patricia

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:36pm

Post Subject: Fitting Solar Panels

Dear Patricia, I am afraid that I do not recommend unless I have used a company myself or have had a lot of positive feedback about them. I would suggest that you look in the free publications that are available form marinas and Chandlers like Towpath Telegraph and The Tillergraph to get some names but I doubt many will be local. Nowadays many boatyards and engineers with electrical specialism fit solar systems so also ask fellow boaters for personal recommendation but be aware that many will have fitted it themselves. I must warn you that a single 60 to 100 watt panel will keep the batteries charged. My 60 watt panel recharges my batteries during just a week away from the boat, even in winter, but to cover your electrical needs in the winter will require far, far more and even then may fail during long dull days between November and March. At least with a wide beam you have more roof space than on a narrowboat. It may be more cost effective to accept that will have to run the engine every day or so at some points during the winter and fit fewer panels. I would also suggest that unless you want to ruin your batteries in short order you also install an ammeter and Smartguage so you can monitor your batteries properly and know when solar charging has not been sufficient. I don't want to complicate things now so I will not say any more about battery monitoring until you ask about it. Sorry not to give the help you asked for.

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:00am

Post Subject: Fitting Solar Panels

A little bit more information for you to consider. My boat club has just been discussing solar panel installers and it seems that one of those who advertise insists on fitting the panels with large (tall) triangular upstands at each end so you can angle them towards the sun. This may not be the advantage it appears. They are tall enough to prevent many boats negotiating the lower bridges and tunnels but as you are a wide beam up north this may not be such a problem a son a narrowboat. To optimise the output of angled panels you also have to keep twisting them around to track the sun. This may not be possible or convenient and you are likely to soon get fed up with moving the panels every hour or so. If the brackets are the ones that I have seen then at certain times they are likely to shade part of the panel and this is bad for output. I think that the majority of travelling boaters are happy with horizontal panels on low profile mounts. Please do more research on this sort of thing.

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