*** For Summer 2021 I have a standard 2 panel 680 watt system installation at a fixed price + my travel. It uses quality all black Q Cell panels mounted on my stainless steel bracket running through a Victron Smartsolar 100/50 controller.***
Solar power can be seriously useful on a narrowboat. My installations are well thought out, neatly fitted, really work and look great. It’s now the most common single job that I do.
If you scroll down this page there’s a YouTube clip walking through an install. It’s a few years old and for 2021 there’s a few changes to the spec: Different stainless steel bracket design which is less time consuming to fit, and offers options for a full 180 degree tilt option. Quality outdoor black twin core cable on the roof. Option to wire in parallel with a Blue Sea switch to isolate panels. Often it’s necessary to remove mushroom vents – I carry low profile ‘flying saucer’ type vents which will replace the mushroom and allow the panel to fit neatly overtop.
The way I mount the panels is a fundamental feature and sets my installations apart from those with tilting ‘A’ brackets or those using smaller low quality panels. My brackets fit to the panel’s factory mounting points so there’s no sagging and frames don’t require any drilling/modification which is likely to void any warranty.
I use the latest panels, quality mounting kit and installation accessories and only fit Victron Smartsolar MPPT controllers – I don’t fit any budget equipment like many competitors. The Victron Smartsolar controllers connect to a phone or tablet with the Victron Connect App which enables you to monitor how well the solar is working over a day/week/month. It’s incredibly useful. Victron is a first class company to deal with if there’s ever any issues. All their products now have a 5 year warranty providing peace of mind and customer confidence.
I regularly get asked about flexible panels. If a customer fits the panels I will occasionally do the electrical installation but I don’t get involved in the panel installation. I’ve had bad experience in the past and IMO the serious negative aspects out way any positive.
For off-grid permanent moorings without a landline it’s sometimes possible to fit a large fixed angle panel setup on the bank. I’ve done this several times in 2020 and twice installed 1360 watt fixed tilt systems which have worked well through the winter. Last pic on this page shows one on off grid liveaboard moorings on the Shropshire Union Canal.
Before installing solar it’s sometimes useful to install some sort of battery monitoring system. Fitting something like the basic Victron BMV700 Battery Monitor will allow you to get an idea and appreciate how efficient the various equipment is and allow you to do a rough power audit. Please call 07922 163072 to discuss and I can give you a good idea of the costs involved.