Solar Panels – Why Not?

Solar panels are beneficial not just because they are a clean and renewable energy product, but there are many other benefits. As with many eco-friendly technologies it is not perfect, but there are many pros to having solar panels on your boat, and this makes them a good long-term investment.

Although solar panels cannot replace an engine or generator, they are a good source of backup power. They also require sunny conditions to provide power, and shady/short days are not optimal. However, there are many benefits to having solar panels onboard:

  • They provide more power to use throughout the boat
  • They do not produce noise, which is great for you and your neighbours
  • They do not require fuel and do not product exhaust, therefore being very eco-friendly.
  • They can prevent under-charged batteries. Batteries can be topped up daily by a solar panel, and this increases their lifetime.

So now that we have determined that solar panels can be an amazing addition to your boat’s systems, here are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing solar panels:

  • Panels must produce as much power as you are using daily, so the number and size of panels depend on your power use.
  • Thin film panels are better for producing power from low light and the modern ones are lightweight and easy to mount, but traditional heavy-framed crystalline panels produce more power overall.
  • Look for brands that are warrantied for 20+ years, they tend to be better performing. Other features such as waterproof junction boxes and wiring connectors are also important.

There is a lot more to learn and understand about solar panels. To check out some popular solar power products, visit  To know more about the benefits of solar panels, how to pick the right solar panel and how to install a solar panel on your boat, check out our June “Tech Talk” article in Pacific Yachting magazine.