Solar power can be seriously useful on a narrowboat and has fast become a big part of my work. My solar installations are well thought out, neatly fitted, really work and look great.
For boaters who spend extended periods out away from shore-power in the Summer months it is a game changer allowing you to moor in one spot and not have to run the engine.
Virtually all my installations use large higher power panels fitted flat, tightly against the roof with my own custom designed mounting system. The size of system needed depends on power usage and equipment inside the boat and space available on the roof. Generally I recommend a 2-panel 600 watt system for a typical modern, efficient Narrowboat. My stainless steel bracket sets fix the panels neatly and securely and adjust to work with the varying degrees of roof curves around. This mounting system is a key feature and sets my installations apart from competitors using the popular tilting brackets and smaller panels. I only use the very best quality panels and Victron Smartsolar MPPT controllers and I won’t fit budget equipment. The Victron Smartsolar controllers connect to a phone or tablet using the Victron Connect App which enables you to monitor how the solar is keeping up with power needs over a day/week/month. It’s not a gimmick and is incredibly useful.
My bracket fix to the solar panel’s factory made mounting points so the panel doesn’t sag or require any drilling – an issue with some of the other mounting systems.
For off-grid permanent moorings it’s sometimes possible to fit a large fixed angled system on the bank.
Here’s a youtube video describing a typical solar installation:
Before installing solar it’s a good idea to think about fitting some sort of battery monitoring system. Please call 07922 163072 to discuss and I can give you a good idea of the costs involved. Sometimes I can arrange for the customer to purchase the panels and controller to help cut costs.