Solar Array for Boat on Buoy?


I have always enjoyed your presentations on the Sunshine Coast for the Sail and Power Squadron. I have a newly purchased, second-hand 2010 Grady White Adventure 208, hardtop with a 225 4 stroke and a 9.9 kicker (operated from the console). I have (2) 12v batteries, one on each side along the transom. I have the usual VHF, GPS/Chart plotter and a radar. I intend to get one or two Scotty downriggers (probably start with one). My boat is on a buoy for the summer and on the hard in winter. I have not been out much recently due to inclement weather but reading your recent article in Pacific Yachting, I am wondering whether I should buy a solar trickle charger. What would you suggest? And would I have to hardwire it? - Trevor


Thank you for contacting PYS about your Grady White Adventure. A solar array can certainly provide enough power to keep your batteries topped-off while on the buoy during the summer. Assuming there are very little loads (i.e. no refrigeration, no electronics, etc) a solar panel of 50W to 100W will do. That panel will need to be wired to smart and efficient solar controller (MPPT) and then connected directly to your batteries via a fuse.

If you want your solar array to offset the many loads you mentioned below while using your boat, I’d consider a 200 to 300 watt array. This would provide about 50 to 75 amp-hours of power per day assuming you have relatively sunny conditions in the summer.  -Jeff