Solar Panels for Boats

Solar panels can easily be installed and utilized on boats for power. There is very little maintenance required to keep them in working condition and if properly installed, the solar panels should last 10 years or more.

The first decision is what kind of solar panels to buy. The most efficient option are mono-crystalline solar panels. Not only are they efficient, they are the most widely available. You might also consider using poly-crystalline panels which are slightly less efficient as the mono-crystalline type. If you have concerns about shade, you can buy the thin film solar panels.

Your next decision is where to install them on your boat. It is recommended that you install them high and aft on your boat, and in direct sunlight. One suggestion would be to install them maybe over the cabin or above the davits. The goal is to avoid installing them where the shadows might affect their performance. If shadows are an issue, consider installing them on a rail along the stern or over the bimini.

If your solar panels are shadowed, even just one complete row of cells, you will not be generating any power. The solution would be to either move the solar panels to a location that is not shadowed or to use a shade resistant amorphous solar panel.

Keep your solar panels operating at their maximum efficiency by wiping off any residue laying on the surface of the panel. Solar panels generally require little maintenance and are able to withstand the outdoors, so think about how you might be able to use them to power your boat.