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Solar panels for a Bayliner 2355

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    Solar panels for a Bayliner 2355

    We have had our 2355 Ciera for a season now and have been cruising along the inland waterways in England (mainly London).
    When mooring we do not have access to shore power which means a number of appliances (240v) can’t be used. We are looking at options, possibly a generator but we’d prefer solar panels. Has anyone fitted solar panels to their boat, was it easy to do, what would they recommend, what type of inverter and how much power do they receive from the solar panels!
    We have already seen some solar panels which are flexible to fit on the bow which can also be sat and walked upon as there is limited space on our boat.
    many thanks
    New to boating and in the process of purchasing our first Bayliner for use on the inland waterways around London

    #2
    Solar panel will not produce enough power to run items on 240, use a generator. Solar panels can be used to help recharge battlers when the engine and generator are not on.
    1997 Maxum 2400 SCR 5.7LX Bravo II

    Mike

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      #3
      Agree. It would take a solar array much larger than the vessel. Generator rated high enough in wattage to power more than one consumer at a time but they are quite expensive and while there are lower prices ones, I've read that they are much more noisy, cause more vibration and aren't as efficient. Honda makes a series (EU 2000 I think?) that are quiet, light weight and can be connected (linked with a purpose-made kit) that mat best suit your needs. Good luck. Dave
      Dave
      N.C. Boater, fresh and salt water. New to boating in 2009
      1990 Sunbridge 2655 "One Particular Harbour"
      5.7 Mercruiser Alpha 1 Gen 1
      Past:
      1995 SeaPro 210 C/C "Hydro-Therapy"
      Mariner 150
      Towing with:
      2002 Ford F 350 7.3L Super Duty
      West of Hickory NC

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        #4
        Hi Riverlea. You reminded of my when I was very young and spent all my Summer holidays fishing that River Lea in Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Waltham Cross and that magic Crown Fishery.
        Terry (Retired Diving Instructor and Part Time IT Consultant)
        1998 Bayliner 2452. 5.7l V8 - Edelbrock 1409 4bbl - Alpha1Gen2 - Solent UK.
        MMSI 235061726

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          #5
          Originally posted by RiverLea View Post
          We have had our 2355 Ciera for a season now and have been cruising along the inland waterways in England (mainly London).
          When mooring we do not have access to shore power which means a number of appliances (240v) can’t be used. We are looking at options, possibly a generator but we’d prefer solar panels. Has anyone fitted solar panels to their boat, was it easy to do, what would they recommend, what type of inverter and how much power do they receive from the solar panels!
          We have already seen some solar panels which are flexible to fit on the bow which can also be sat and walked upon as there is limited space on our boat.
          many thanks
          If you are keeping your boat on a mooring, it is probably best to get a solar panel to maintain the charge in your battery. The motor will charge the battery when you are under way, but you may not be able to do that every week..
          Hugh
          1990 3888
          Hino 175 Diesels

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            #6
            The U.S. has the PVWatts site to estimate solar production. I've been looking for something similar for the rest of the world, and this site purports to do it. I've only done some preliminary cross-checking of the results and they appear to be slightly high, but should be close enough for ballpark estimates.

            https://www.renewables.ninja/

            Set the tilt to 0 degrees (perfectly horizontal) and no tracking. You can have it estimate production, but the most useful number is capacity factor. It comes up with a capacity factor of 13.9% for London. I'd heard it's closer to 11% (10% for all of the UK).

            Capacity factor is what percentage of the panel's rated production it will actually generate on average after taking into account factors like night, weather, angle of the sun, etc. So if your panel is rated at 160 Watts and the area you're in has a capacity factor of 12%, then it will on average generate (160 Watts)*(12%) = 19.2 Watts. Or in a 24 hour period, it will generate (19.2 Watts)*(24 hours) = 460.8 Watt-hours = 0.46 kWh per 24 hours. (Yes you multiply by 24 hours - capacity factor takes into account night).

            In terms of a 12 V battery, ignoring charging losses, this would translate into (460.8 Watt-hours)/(12 volts) = 38.4 Amp-hours. Or roughly 1/3 to 1/2 the capacity of a type 27 battery. I'm not familiar enough with solar panels wired to a 12 V battery to estimate charging losses, but charging from a wall socket is typically about 80% efficient. So expect real performance to be significantly worse than 38.4 Ah per 24 hours. That's an average for the year though. Actual production is highly seasonal (the site will give you a monthly graph.) So a PV panel system which suits you in the summer may be inadequate in the winter.

            If your power usage is less than that every day, then a 160 Watt solar panel will suit your needs. If you power usage is more, then either you'll need more solar panels, or you'll have to go with a generator. For comparison, a 2000 Watt generator can produce 460.8 Watt-hours in 14 minutes.

            Or put another way, the 1 gallon tank is supposed to be good for 3.4 hours at max power. So 1 gallon of gas = nearly 15 days with the 160 Watt panel. Contrary to the impression most people have, solar is a very weak power source which is only viable if you have lots of panel area, lots of time, or very little electricity use. (On the flip side, if solar does suit your needs and you use the boat extensively, over a year the 160 Watt panel can save you almost 25 gallons of gas compared to a generator.)
            1994 2556, 350 MAG MPI Horizon, Bravo 2

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