‘It’s doubt­ful if any amount of so­lar power will fully recharge liveaboard batteries dur­ing the win­ter’

Canal Boat - - Ask The Experts - TONY BROOKS Tech­ni­cal Con­sul­tant

If you did not read the sen­tence that fol­lowed in an an­swer I gave about so­lar pan­els in the June is­sue, you might think that a 60 to 100-Watt panel would keep your batteries charged, and that all a liveaboard boater needs is a 60-100W panel. But un­less you are ex­cep­tion­ally frugal with your elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion, noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth.

Even a 40W panel will prob­a­bly recharge your batteries while you are away for a week or so un­less you leave an elec­tric fridge turned on, and will eas­ily make up for the batteries’ self-dis­charge if a boat is laid up over the win­ter.

How­ever it’s doubt­ful if any amount of so­lar power that fits onto a nar­row­boat will fully recharge a liveaboard boater’s batteries dur­ing the darker win­ter months.

My ad­vice for live­aboards is to fit as many pan­els as you can and use a qual­ity MPPT con­troller to max­imise their charge, but ex­pect to have to pro­vide ad­di­tional charg­ing at times dirng the darker months.

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