How to Select and Install the Solar Charging System on Your Boat

To keep the boat battery up to charge you can use a marine solar panel on your boat. When your boat runs out of fuel you can use a deep-cycle marine battery to reach the destination. But when your boat is short of both fuel and battery charge, you will need an alternative source to run the engine. That’s why the solar panel is very useful to charge the battery so it can run the boat even after it discharges the power.

But selecting the right size solar panel for your boat is difficult. Even if you have managed to select the right size solar panel for your boat, you have to know how to install it. So here is the full guide, so you can select the perfect solar panel for your boat. Following this guide, you can install it without taking others’ help.

install the solar charging system on your boat

How to Select a Solar Panel for a Boat

There are different types of solar panels you will find in the market. But you should know the type of solar panel that would match the boat design. Normally, Boat owner prefers flexible solar panel on their boat. If you’re a seasonal boater then you should not install a fixed solar panel. Rather you should install the flexible one. When you are not cruising you can take off the solar panel from the boat and can reuse it for the next trip.

What Type of Solar Charging System Should I Use for My Boat

The type of solar charging system you should use for your boat will depend on several factors, including the size of your boat and the amount of power you need to generate. Some options include:

  1. Flexible solar panels: These are lightweight, durable, and can be easily mounted on the deck of a boat. They are also less expensive than traditional rigid panels.
  2. Rigid solar panels: These are more durable than flexible panels and are also more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. They are more expensive but will provide more power and last longer than flexible panels.
  3. Portable solar panels: These are easy to set up and can be used to charge batteries or power devices while on the go.
  4. Solar charge controllers: This device is necessary to regulate the voltage and current coming from the solar panel to protect your battery from overcharging and over-discharging.
  5. Battery bank: A battery bank is a group of batteries that are wired together in parallel to store the energy produced by your solar panels.

It’s important to consult a professional or do your own research to determine which type of solar charging system is best for your specific needs and budget.

What Type of Mounting System Should I Use for the Solar Panel?

The type of mounting system you should use for a solar panel depends on several factors, such as the size and weight of the panel, the location and orientation of the installation, and the type of surface on which the panel will be mounted. Some common types of solar panel mounting systems include:

  • Roof-mounted systems: These systems are used to mount solar panels on the roof of a building. They can be fixed or adjustable and can be used on both flat and sloped roofs.
  • Ground-mounted systems: These systems are used to mount solar panels on the ground. They can be fixed or adjustable and can be used in a variety of locations, including fields, deserts, and other open spaces.
  • Pole-mounted systems: These systems are used to mount solar panels on poles. They can be used in a variety of locations, including fields, deserts, and other open spaces.
  • Building-integrated systems: These systems are used to mount solar panels on the walls or roof of a building, and are often integrated into the building’s architecture.

It is important to consult with a professional solar installer to determine the best mounting system for your specific needs and location.

Depend on the Power Your Boat Needs

If you don’t want to use the solar panel for trolling the motor then you can use a small size solar panel. But for using the solar panel as an alternative source to run the engine you have to buy the right size solar panel. First of all, calculate how much energy the motor needs to run for a certain hour. It merely depends on the size of the battery. Then you should buy the solar panel depending on the size of the battery.

I am not going to make it difficult by providing you with the calculation method. But you can ask the solar panel dealer to give you the right size solar panel. Check this article what size solar panel to charge the marine battery to get the right size solar panel.

Install the Solar Panel

When you got the solar panel for your boat now install it on the boat. To install it on the boat you have to follow some processes.

Select the Installation Place

When you buy a solar panel for your boat you should measure the size of the place. The physical size of the solar panel should not be larger than the place where it will be placed. That’s why to select a place where it would fit. The place should be open so it can get full sunlight at peak hours.

The general guide to installing solar panels is to keep them at an inclined angle open to the south. So, it can get most of the sunlight in a day. But when you install a solar panel on a boat you should install it flat. Because the boat moves every time. That’s why it would be a wise decision to keep the solar panel flat on the surface of the boat.

Wiring and Charge Controller

You should not wire the solar panel directly to the battery. Because sometimes the overvoltage of solar panels can overcharge the battery. That’s why use a charge controller to control the charge. There are three types of charge controllers available for the solar panel which is ON-OFF, PWM, and MPPT. If you use a Multi-point power tracking charge controller it won’t waste the excess current. Rather it will convert the excess voltage into a charging current

The pulse wide modulated is also good to control the overcharging of the battery. But it can’t use the excess voltage for charging current. The ON-OFF controller basically works not to control the charge but to stop and start the charging. When the battery starts getting high voltage current and reaches the limit it turns off the charging. When the voltage of the battery drops again turn on the charging.

So, while installing a solar panel you should wire it first to the charge controller.

Mount the Solar Panel

If your boat doesn’t have a wide place to install the solar panel you can mount it on the tower or on the railing of the boat. You should then buy a solar panel that has the built-in clam and comes with the mounting facility. But if you don’t want to buy this type of solar panel, then you have to install an extra clamp in the bottom of the solar panel. Then you can use the clamp to attach it to the railing.

If you follow these processes it will be easy to install the solar panel. You can also use a hose grommet to cover the wire and the right type of inverter. If you don’t use the perfect inverter then converting sun rays into an alternating current will not work efficiently.

Relevant Resources:

About This Writer

Liam Jaxon Author pic

Hi, I am responsible for the 'Homeowners Power Solutions' category. My name is Liam Jaxon and a licensed technician with 7 years of experience in vehicle batteries, electrical gadgets, and home appliances. My working experience in different residential & light commercial electrical sectors and the automobile industry helped to acquire vast knowledge in this industry.

Hi, I am responsible for the 'Homeowners Power Solutions' category. My name is Liam Jaxon and a licensed technician with 7 years of experience in vehicle batteries, electrical gadgets, and home appliances. My working experience in different residential & light commercial electrical sectors and the automobile industry helped to acquire vast knowledge in this industry.

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