Thinking Through a Solar Power Installation

What are the practical considerations for the design and installation of a solar power system on your sailboat?


The practical aspects of your solar panel system will be governed by the design and size of your sailboat, your overall project budget (% DIY project) and how you currently use your sailboat versus your future plans for your boat. The intent of this article is not to design or size your solar system, but to offer some real-world practical guides and considerations. You may have other sources of power from an auxiliary engine alternator or a separate diesel generator, but ideally you will want to optimize your solar power system generation when possible.

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Clifford Burgess
Clifford Burgess’s interest in the ocean, boats and in particular sailboats started in his late teens. He served four years as crew aboard a 40-ft. fishing vessel in the waters off Nova Scotia, which ignited his passion for being on the ocean. His introduction to sailing began with windsurfing, followed by a Hunter 30T, which he owned for 14 years. His current sailboat is a 28-ft. catamaran, which he sailed from Nova Scotia to Florida in the 2023 season. Clifford’s DIY approach is applied to his sailboat maintenance and he has extensively upgraded his vessels for cruising.