In the last 10 or so years, solar energy has come on in leaps and bounds, with solar panels available to power not just your greenhouse, your home or your car, but also your boat.
Having a good solar panel setup in your boat will allow you to operate appliances like a kettle or a small stove.
You can also rig up your solar panel to your onboard DC battery that will give it juice whenever you experience engine failure and find yourself stranded in the middle of the deep blue.
Having an alternative power source will be crucial to help get you out of a tricky situation.
Your special marine solar panel should be safe for use in a marine environment, not emitting any excess pollution or harmful chemicals in the water.
You want to know that if this gets lost overboard for whatever reason that it will not release any chemicals that might kill fish and other marine wildlife.
There are many types of marine solar panels currently available on the market, each one having different properties that will be suitable to your specific style of fishing.
Each one has different levels of power storage and different voltage capacities that will give you as much power as you need for a long-haul journey.
But what are the best marine solar panels? What features does a great marine solar panel have to give you the best power outage? What materials does it need to be made out to make sure that it is not harmful to the environment? How much can you be expected to pay for a marine solar panel?
Well, boaters and marine enthusiasts all over the world won’t have to worry for much longer, as we’ve got a list of some of the best marine solar panels currently available on the market.
We’ve also compiled a buyer’s guide that will help you to discern what the best solar panels are to buy as well as some frequently asked questions.
Our first choice of solar panel is one that comes with 12 volts of power, making it a medium-range power unit for marine use.
It comes with an alligator clip that makes it one of the easiest units to use on this list, it is compact and portable, perfect to carry from one boat to another – introducing the Eco-Worthy 12 Volt 10 Watt Solar Car Battery Charger & Maintainer.
This is not a product that is designed to support the heavy-duty appliances that you might find on larger boats, as the 10-watt power supply should already be an indication. This solar panel might not be the most heavy-duty, but it is certainly efficient in terms of the power that it draws in and then uses.
This solar panel comes with plenty of built-in power-saving devices, with a module conversion that will ensure high performance in low lighting.
It has bypass diodes built inside that control and minimized the power drops that you can experience on a cloudy day. This panel is also resistant to dust and high impacts that you can expect to experience on a moving boat.
This next kit has a slightly more generous charge of 400w, making it a great unit for larger boats that might need to power a few different supplies.
This system is easy to use, with multiple connectors that are long enough to extend from one end of your boat to the other, with a charge controller and a set of bracket mount panels – introducing the Renogy 400 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar RV Kit.
This solar panel is very impressive, able to charge a 400ah battery in under 4 hours. It is also very versatile, you can use it on your boat and at home, it can easily run your lights, your fridge and a TV simultaneously. If you want to run a stove or a kettle on your boat, then this will more than meet the requirements.
This solar panel is a bit more heavy-duty than our last unit, and it comes with Z bracket mounts that will keep it stored firmly and securely, meaning that it won’t get knocked about and damaged when you hit rougher waters.
The construction of this one is also sealed, making it water and dust-resistant.
This next solar panel is adapted perfectly for moderate watercraft, giving you enough power to extend your on-water excursion by a few weeks, with a 170-watt output that is very affordable.
It has a very sleek design that is lightweight and won’t take up too much room on your deck – introducing the BougeRV 180 Watts Mono Solar Panel.
This panel comes with a diode that can conserve more light energy for those cloudy days, giving you the ability to keep your appliances charged throughout a few days of cloudy weather.
These solar panels will be able to withstand plenty of impacts, which is always an issue for unmounted water-based solar panels.
The cost/power output on this solar panel is one of the best on this list, you can get plenty of juice from this unit for relatively few dollars.
The panels will operate extremely well in adverse weather conditions, coming in a sealed design that will be able to suffer gusts of wind and even light rain, although you might have to disconnect it during a heavy storm.
This next panel comes with plenty of high-tech features such as monocrystalline cells and ethylene-vinyl-acetate which is placed between a highly resilient Tedlar-polyester-Tedlar back sheet, with tempered glass that makes for high energy transfer.
The aluminum framing will give you a very high rigidity and strength – introducing the Newpowa 200 Watts Monocrystalline 200 Watt 12V Solar Panel.
There are pre-drilled holes in the sides of this boat that will allow you to fix the panel to whatever surface you deem sturdy enough.
It will fit very securely, resulting in a unit that will withstand very high gales, so if you are a more adventurous sailor who might need a power source to last them for a few days.
This unit will do very well to give you as much input and output as you need, allowing your energy to store and be transferred to your electrical appliances quickly and efficiently. This unit also comes with a very good warranty that will guarantee you 25 years of uninterrupted power output.
Our final solar panel on this list is a very compact and lightweight one, you can use it for camping, going out on the beach or trucking in the mountains – it’s so portable that it can be practically taken anywhere with a decent trunk or roof space.
If you fancy getting away from the rat race and going off-grid for a number of years, then we would certainly recommend picking up this unit as a traveling power source that pays for itself – introducing the Acopower 35 watts Polycrystalline Photovoltaic Solar Panel Module.
The versatility of this unit is amazing, you can practically rig it up to most devices, with a lightweight anodized aluminum frame and a reinforced safety glass. This can withstand a lot of adverse weather conditions, making it a great unit for a lengthy sea journey where you can expect cloud coverage.
This solar panel comes with pre-drilled holes that will make it a lot easier to mount on the side of your boat, away from the floor where you will not suffer from the scrapes and knocks that might permanently damage a cheaper unit. This solar panel will supply your boat with 35 watts, making it a mid-range power unit.
There are a few things that you’ll be looking for in your solar panel, although you will want to consider the level of boating that you’ll be doing, as well as whether or not you’ll want to be using it for other purposes.
These will all determine the amount of power that you’ll be wanting to generate.
You can often use solar panels to create a trickle charge effect that will help you keep your battery working when you’re offshore.
So if you’re planning to be off-land for a number of weeks, then we’d certainly recommend that you invest in a supplementary power source.
We would recommend that you take the entire wattage of all the electrical appliances that you’re using in your boat and add them all together.
That way you’ll be able to determine how much power you need from your battery.
This will all depend on how handy you think you are doing electronics. If you already have experience wiring a solar panel, then we would certainly recommend that you give it a go.
However, if you are relatively inexperienced, then you might want to think about either hiring a professional electrician to install it or looking up an in-depth tutorial on Youtube.
We would certainly recommend that you pick up a charge controller to prevent your entire system from overheating.
These small devices are regulated by the maximum amperage of your solar system. You might want to connect different wires to different batteries by a series of wires.
If you are serious about your boating and want to take long jaunts across the waves for weeks at a time, then we would definitely recommend you getting a solar panel.
These handy devices are often compact and lightweight, and can also be used in many different locations, making them very good value for money.