The purchase of the solar panel was less painful. It was a simple matter of cost per watt/amp. I also took into consideration the newer panels that do not shut down output when they are shadowed in any way. Ours do not.
The size of the panel was less of a concern, although I did luck out in that department. The panel fit perfectly on the cross bar between the wind generator and the radar. We mounted it going across the stern boat, from pole to pole. When Jerry bought the second panel back with her to Raiatea, we took the first panel off, bolted the two together (length wise) and guess what? They fit perfectly again between the poles. I had actually measured them and calculated everything before Jerry left, but it was nice to know that this plan worked. This time I had to add a support brace on each side for strength. It also became a nice sun/rain shade when the Bimini was off, which we did when entering tight harbors or the wind was blowing over 30 knots.
The panels are 120 watt or 7 amps per hour. We found that once we got away from the summer areas, like the South Pacific in their winter, (our cruising time) we were only getting about 3 amps out of it at high noon. The second panel has bought us back up to 6-7 amps input for most of the day. Now that we are in New Zealand and their summer, we are once again getting 10-12 amps out of the panels. This runs the fridge, with ice maker, and will replenish the overnight losses. That is, of course if it is sunny. When the wind generator is working, which has only been about 20% or the time, it would make up the rest on overcast days or at night.
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Revised: 19 September, 2005 .