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Warnings and disclaimer

Always read all of the pages and subjects before starting a solar system installation - If you are unqualified or in any doubt about your own ability then consult a qualified solar system installer.

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Picture of sun and solar panel as a solar logoFitting a solar panel to your boat

Solar Power - Free energy from natural resources

You can fit a solar panel to just about any boat i.e Westerly, Fisher, Bavaria, Sadler, Hunter, Beneteau, Moody, Island Packet, Jaguar, Hardy, Bowman, Fairline, Nauticat, Najad, Malao, Oyster, Vancouver, and Nelson to name just a few.

Fitting a solar panel to your boat

Above - The Finished Installation

A solar panel fitted to your craft somehow seems a perfectly natural thing to do, sailing and boating are where we go for piece and tranquility and the solar panel epitomises this by virtue of the fact it has no moving parts and therefore no noise or pollution. Most craft have a little area of deck or coachroof where a panel can be installed, and there is no need to worry about damage to the panel as there are panels that are made to be walked on as in the picture above.

There are many panels sizes and power values so there will be a panel or panels to fit whatever your requirements in terms of power production - see the power specification page for help on specifying a system.

The parts and tools necessary to complete the job:-


Solar panel
Solar panel regulator*
Appropriate cable*
Battery clips
Fuse holder and fuse

Tools etc

Power drill
Tape measure
Masking tape
Sikaflex - 291 adhesive/sealant
Cable ties
Cable clips
* For help with specifying these items visit panel specification page, wiring and regulator pages.

We started by choosing an area for our panel which apart from a bit of shadow from the boom was in the sun just about all day, we would park the boom to the side while moored to stop this. We chose a walk on panel so if someone was clambering about on the coachroof we did not have to worry about damage.

IMPORTANT - Cover the panel with a thick cloth/blanket or similar to stop any electrical production while working and wiring until the installation is complete.

1Cleaning the chosen position - Clean the area well and use methylated spirits to remove any grease.

Cleaning the surface inreadiness for fitting a solar panel to your boat

2 Marking out the position - Once you have a clean surface to work on carefully mark out the panel position by laying masking tape around the panel parameter and tracing around the panel marking the screw holes as well. Next plan the route for the cable which has to have a flowing curve to the deck gland/cover if your installation works out like the one here.

Starting the drilling process in readiness for the solar feed lead entry

Deck gland housing to facilitate the solar panel feed lead on entry to the deck hole Waterproof deck gland/cover (this was a Solara product)
Drilling and cleaning up the hole through the deck in readiness for fitting a solar panel to your boat

3 Apply adhesive - Applying the adhesive and sealant to the back of the panel.

Applying the adhesive to the rear of the solar panel

4 Place panel in position - Cover the panel with a cloth to stop any electrical production while working and place the panel in position and finally screw with stainless screws in each corner.

Solar panel in it's final position

5 Wiring the regulator - The next part is to take the wire that is through the deck/roof to the regulator. Find a good position for your regulator so it is easily monitored. Wiring it up is very basic and consists of two wires in and two wires out, most regulators have symbols as can just about be seen in the picture below.

Regulator used for this installation - many more regulators are available

Their are six holes at the bottom of this regulator of which for this simple solar installation we only need to use the first four. The first two holes are for the solar panel +/- and the middle two are for the run to the fuse and batterry - on this regulator they are clearly marked. The remaining two holes on the right are not used here.

6 Wiring to the battery - Next take the 'out' wires and run them via a fuse to the battery observing the +/- terminals. A simple fuse holder bought from a chandlers, Maplins, Halfords or simular electrical store is quite sufficient. Remember to place the fuse very close to the battery.

Solar installation wiring diagram

Need to ask a question!

Then visit the forum where professionals maybe able to help Solar Chat Forum

Other pages to help you with the installation are:-

free energy  button How to wire up a basic solar panel system
Is your battery bank correctly wired up?
free energy  button All About Inverters in a solar system
free energy  button The Big Live Solar Panel Experiment
See how our 27w solar panel performs under live conditions
free energy  button Battery care
free energy  button Looking after a leisure battery
free energy  button Solar circuits and solar power circuitry
free energy  button Choosing and using your wire in your solar system
Always read this page before starting a solar installation project - there is critical detailed information displayed.

To communicate with us over technical issues please use the Solar Chat Forum, also take a look at the Solar Q&A page.

Global Warming - it's why we are making changes to our way of life!

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