I discovered myself questioning if there was any actual profit in becoming photo voltaic panels to our boat. The explanation I contemplated this was due to a visit we made three years in the past to Boston in Lincolnshire. We had determined to take three weeks vacation and a very good lengthy journey would in all probability be appreciated by the boat’s engine and transmission. In equity we had a extremely good journey and loved it.
The one fly within the ointment got here once we stayed anyplace for multiple evening. We discovered that we had been having to run the boat’s engine for a number of hours a day to ‘high up’ the leisure batteries. Our engine, though in wonderful situation, is nearly seventy years outdated. It’s fairly noisy, which made it considerably irritating. Additionally in fact, with the engine working we could not go away the boat unattended. Not splendid.
I did numerous analysis earlier than lastly making the choice to go forward and set up photo voltaic.
We already had an nearly new set of 4 Trojan deep cycle batteries fitted and I am unable to impress upon the reader sufficient that real deep cycle batteries are important if you would like success with a photo voltaic setup. Please bear in mind that batteries bought as starter / leisure batteries are typically something however and are destined to be a very costly mistake. Deep cycle batteries have a lot thicker inside lead compound plates than starter batteries and are specifically designed to be discharged regularly. Our Trojan batteries are very generally fitted to electrical golf carts, and are charged at evening to offer motive energy on the golf course for hours at a time the next day. A starter battery can be fatally broken if used on this manner.
The subsequent factor to think about is easy methods to regulate energy from the photo voltaic panels to get absolutely the most into the batteries with out damaging them. There are a lot of choices obtainable and it’s a huge topic. The explanation a very good high quality photo voltaic controller is important is as a result of normal 12-volt photo voltaic panels do NOT produce 12 volts. It’s common for photo voltaic panels to supply as much as 22 volts every and this voltage will fry your batteries if not managed correctly. For that reason, we selected a Victron MPPT controller. Victron is universally accepted as a market chief famend for its high quality merchandise and we’ve been delighted with ours. I am going to start one other paragraph to clarify why I’m recommending this controller.
The Victron MPPT controllers are extraordinarily cleverly programmed. They’re absolutely functioning ‘sensible’ chargers, and may also act as a direct energy provide. The newest ones have a Bluetooth connection that permits charging regimes to be adjusted to go well with all battery sorts. That is helpful as a result of our Trojans require a bulk cost greater than that obtainable from a normal engine alternator. They utilise ‘Most Energy Level Monitoring’ know-how (therefore MPPT) to scrape each obtainable electron from the photo voltaic panels. Now the perfect bit. We’ve got three photo voltaic panels, every producing 22 volts in sunshine, and we’ve wired them in sequence. This has the impact of including the voltage of every panel collectively. Which means we are sometimes placing 66 volts into our controller! Removed from doing injury, that is advantageous. The Victron cleverly takes the voltage from the panels, which is DC present, and turns it into AC present. The AC present is then reconverted to DC on the voltage required by the batteries and leftover energy is transformed into additional amperage for the batteries, dashing battery charging. Impressively intelligent for my part.