Sunday, January 11, 2015

Solar Power

We are energy self-sufficient!!

Thanks to our new solar panels, we have lots of electricity to run our fridge, freezer, navigation instruments, vacuum cleaner and so on. We haven’t relied on our other sources of electricity (engine, generator, wind generator, shore power) since we hooked up the solar panels.

The boat came with two solar panels on the radar arch. The positioning of the original panels, and their small size meant that we didn’t get a lot of power from them. On the drive down from Vancouver this past fall, we stopped into a store in Arizona and purchased some new panels. We got the biggest ones that would fit onto the radar arch.

The radar arch needed some adjustments to handle our new panels. Namely it needed to be strengthened for the additional weight and the radar dome and antennas on the arch had to move to make room for these great big panels. These changes also meant we’d have to change the way our dinghy (Tubby) was lifted. Thanks to some great stainless steel work in Guaymas, the changes were done quickly without much issue.
We left Guaymas with the new panels in place and a new antenna post. While at the dock in La Paz, we finished up the wiring and installed the old panels on the railings. The wiring was finished late in the afternoon, with the sun low in the sky, but we saw a little trickle of power coming in. The next day we were quite pleased to see how much power we can receive from the sun!



Next, we’ll have to run the antenna cables to the new antenna post.