No, we didn’t move the boat to the Sahara. I mean our new solar panels. Free electricity, what could be better for a frugal Scottish man and an even more frugal Dutch woman?

Our new solar panels

Our new solar panels

Of course, we paid for the panels, and I calculated it will takes us 3500 days (more than 9.5 years) in the marina to just break even. But it will be a great help while we’re cruising.

To find out how great, I took off shore power, last weekend. Which meant: no 240 V.
So no TV, and no hot water. Luckily Lawrance was away for four days, and he’s the one who watches TV, or rinses his teacup with hot water, before putting another teabag in.

So at 11 o’clock on the Saturday morning it was batteries only. And yes, the panels kept the batteries full. Not that there was a lot of sun… And the forecast certainly wasn’t good. The barometer was very low, and around 4 o’clock we got hit by the umpteenth storm.

Storm

Storm

I checked the battery monitor every hour or so, and the daylight managed to keep the batteries between 12.8 V and 13.3 V. And hot water for dishes and coffee? Heated by the stove!

Of course I could only use the computer for a limited amount of time, without 240 V.
So on the Sunday I decided to switch the inverter on, and see how the batteries would be doing. While charging my computer and my e-reader at the same time. That did take a fair amount out of the batteries, so after two hours I switched the inverter off.

All this will be different while we’re cruising, tough. The engine will provide the hot water, and our engine-mounted generator will give us 240 V to charge every phone, e-reader and computer as long as we’re on the move.

So far I’m confident that we will manage.

 

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