best solar panels for a boat

Best solar panels for a boat

Solar panels can be a great addition to a boat and there are a number of reasons why you might consider doing this.

Modern solar panels are a lot more affordable and accessible than ever before and with improvements in technology and efficiency they present some real positives for boat owners.

Modern PV panels can help boaters to save money on gas and electricity. Standards of efficiency of modern panels have improved to such effect that solar panels are now used in many countries from industrial scale installations down to smaller arrays on peoples’ homes, sheds, campers and…boats.

Marine solar systems can be more than simply cost saving installations. A marine solar panel setup could be a lifesaver in times of emergency. Solar provides power regardless of weather and a solar installation on your boat can be an emergency power source for your batteries.

With solar a battery can obtain enough power to enable you to reach shore or get help. A solar powered systems can power your radio or other onboard devices without even having to power the boat up.

If you run out of fuel, or the engines will not start then you still have a means of generating electricity – which could be the deciding factor between rescue and safety or otherwise.

Of course, in the ideal world your boat solar panels will save you money on electricity costs alone – you won’t need to use gas to run a generator to make power.

best solar panels for a boat

In recent years, as well as the efficiency of solar panels improving, the actual materials that they are made from have improved too.

In the past solar panels were very fragile and really unsuited to marine use, they simply were not durable enough to tolerate the weather conditions that can be experienced on a boat.

There is a new breed of panels that work well on boats and the best solar panels for a boat are the ones that are well made, with strong frames and protected cells. 

You can attach your solar panels to most areas of your boat, this is helped by the variety of sizes that panels come in.

Dependent on your needs panels can be attached to masts, rails or on other spaces that are unlikely to be needed for other purposes.

Solar does not have to replace your existing generator, a panel or panels can be combined with your generator to produce the electricity that your boat needs and this, of course, will save you money on fuel. A hybrid solar system like this is really common, not just on boats but also on campers, homes and other places that use other sources of electricity. The advantage of hybrid solar use is that they save money. All you have to do is find the best solar panels for the boat, install the panels and run cables from them to your battery. Then, instead of using the generator, use the panels instead.

Flexible solar panels are a great option for the boat owner who is looking at installing solar panels on their vessel.

Recent developments of these types of panels provide boat owners with solar panels that are resilient and less likely to be damaged by bad weather or accidents.

The panels can be installed permanently or they lend themselves well to temporary and portable use. You can  place the panels out on the deck and then roll them up out of the way when they are not needed.

Flexible solar panels are also waterproof and are unaffected by salt spray, rain, frost or other adverse conditions.

They perform just as well as regular solar panels, and, because they are lighter are easier to transport – you can use them on your boat then, when you’ve arrived at your destination you can take them with you and use them – ideal if you are camping or in an area where there is little or no power.

And at the end of your journey, vacation, boating -you can roll them up, take them home and use them at home too.

They contain no glass – so they won’t break, you can use them almost anywhere. In fact many cross Atlantic sea kayakers have used flexible solar panels while on their journey, using them to charge cameras and power other devices while on the trip.

Of all the solar panels available today the recommendation would be that flexible solar panels are the best solar panels for a boat.