Category Archives: Solar Panel Installation

Looking to Power up Your Boat with Solar Energy? Know How to Install the Panels

Basically, solar panels are anything which make use of the thermal energy from sun to create electricity. The business name of a solar panel is photovoltaic panel, which is a flat panel to directly receive emissions of the sun. The surface of these panels needed to be at 90-degree incline from the rays of the sun to best absorb sun’s energy. Very similar to the process of plants receiving energy from sun to process it through photosynthesis, photovoltaic cells function to process solar energy into electricity.

As soon as the rays of the sun hits the solar cells, it is transferred to a silicon semiconductor and the power is changed to direct current (DC), which passes through the wires and reaches the storage battery.

Fixing solar panels on to your vessel

There are various types of solar panel mounting rails, but majority of them are meant for roof and ground mounting. The boaters used to make their own mounts fitting to the size of their vessel; however, there are customised mounts available now of various sizes to be fitted on to boats. With the option to do online purchase, you can get such mounts from various stores matching to all type of Mount Gambier solar panels and variety of vessels.

Solar panel types

The most popular type of solar panel used in yachting is either amorphous thin-film cells or multicrystalline. The multicrystalline panels are the oldest kind, which are the strongest too. With adequate size and paired with ideal batteries, multicrystalline panels are best to operate larger loads like refrigeration in the boats.

When compared to multicrystalline, the amorphous thin film panels are just about 50% effective. But, these are lightweight and come in a various forms, which can be folded or rolled. It can also change shape based on the contour of the boat’s top. They don’t offer adequate yield for a considerable load, but can be simply be used for charging a light battery bank etc.

Power of solar panels

Usually, the power of solar panels is measured by wattage. You can get various solar panels to be used on boats ranging from 10 watts to 200 watts or larger. We can calculate it in such a way that a 200-watt solar panel produces about 200 x 5 hrs of sunlight = 1000 watts/day.

You need to calculate the power consumption of your boat at the first point to decide which panel to choose and the size. For example, if you need to have 3 lights which draws 2 amps each to be switched on 4 hours at night, the power consumption would be 3 x 2 x 4 = 24 AH/day. The other major considerations to make while you calculate the amps hours in a boat at anchor are likely;

  • Refrigeration
  • Sanitation System
  • Freezer
  • Fresh Water Pump
  • Electric Toilet
  • Stereo etc.

With all the above facts known, always ensure that you purchase the best available solar panels to be installed onto your boat. Also get the installation done by experts in order to ensure proper fixation and adequate tilt of the panels to harvest maximum energy by ensuring endurance.

A Comprehensive Guide for Solar Panel Installation at Your Home

This guide is aimed to walk through the entire process of installing solar PV on a residential property. The installation projects may include a team of three to four including a project manager, roofers, and electrician.

How long it takes?

The basic installations can be completed in a day or two. However, sometimes the fixation may take longer on particular roofs with slate or other fragile material. The professional installers will keep disruption to your daily activities to a minimum. Let’s explore the installation components and process in a bit more detail.

  • Solar panels

Solar panels are made up of individual cells covered with a reflective glass and packed in an aluminium frame. The average weight of solar panels may vary from 15 kg to 30 kg depending on the size. Panels are of various sizes, a standard mono-crystalline 250W panel of 1.6-m x 1-m size may weigh around 19 kg.

  • Roof anchors

Stainless steel hooks are screwed on to the roof rafters, which form the base for solar mounting system. The roof anchors will go hidden underneath the panel after installation.

  • Mounting frame

Mountain frames are made of two parallel aluminium bars for each row of solar panels. The rails are attached to roof anchors and get locked to ensure no movement when panels are mounted on top of it with clamps.

  • Clamps

Clamps are used to hold the panels tightly on to the frame. End-clamps and mid-clamps are usually used for this purpose. End clamps fix the last row on to the frame while mid clamps are fixed between two panels by ensuring equal spacing, usually 200 mm apart.

Installation steps

  • Step #1 – Erecting the scaffold

Scaffolding is erected to offer a sturdy working platform for the roofers and safety rails are fixed which run along the roof edges.

  • Step #2 – Fitting roof anchors

After taking proper measurements, roof anchors are screwed on to the rafters. Need to double check after fixing that the frame will sit straight.

  • Step #3 – Attaching the frame

Next, the aluminium bars which form the frame are locked on to the anchors. Ensure each bar is straight and all of them stay parallel.

  • Step #4 – Installing panels

With all bars fixed in place, the panels needed to be clamped on to the frame. In whichever easiest way possible, the panels can be fixed by columns or rows.

  • Step #5 – Wiring the panels

Connect the panels based on the system’s voltage, power, amperage, shading on the roof, and positioning of panels.

  • Step #6 – Connecting panels to inverter

To finish the system connection, we need to install DC wiring from the panels to the home system.

  • Step #7 – Inside the home

An electrician need to work on getting the inverter connected to the main electricity supply of the home. Before finishing the connection, one needs to install a small consumer unit and generation meter too. The power needed to be cut off to do this.

  • Step #8 – Commissioning the system

Once the whole wiring is completed, you can then switch on the inverter and commission the solar system to start enjoying free electricity.