Monday, 26 August 2013

Installing solar panels on narrowboat Jubilee

I have now installed the solar power kit I bought at the National Festival. The kit comprised two 100Wp solar panels, an MPPT control unit, a remote display/control unit, connecting leads and brackets/nuts/bolts etc.

I decided to mount the control unit in the electrics cupboard so as to be conveniently close to the nice fat leads from the battery bank.

In order to do this I had first to make a mounting panel from some scrap timber, wood glue and panel pins!

I screwed this to a vertical timber - the next photo shows the four fixings on the right side of the panel protruding into the calorifier cupboard.

To get the cables from the panels to the controller I routed them through a mushroom vent. When I unscrewed the gauze from the underside I found it had successfully prevented the invasion of a number of bees.

I cut away enough of the gauze to be able to feed the cables (with connectors) through. The cables run under the ceiling above the bed to the back of the boat. I have bought a length of scotia moulding to hide them, and I intend now to cut away part of the ceiling T&G next to the vent so that the cables don't have an awkward visible bend before they enter the moulding.

Supplied with the kit was a tube of glue to stick the brackets to the roof, but I didn't fancy doing something so irreversible. I screwed rubber feet the the underside of the brackets and stood them on pieces of anti-slip matting for good measure.

Security is an issue I still need to address. At the moment the panels are held in place on one side by tying them to the roof furniture stands. To weigh them down I've threaded a short shaft through the other side.

The panels are set slightly off-centre because of the position of the roof furniture brackets.

As well as tidying where the cables run through the bedroom I think I'll remove the brackets from the panels in order to sit them lower.

I connected the panels in series. In strong direct sunshine the voltage from the panels is about 40V and I have seen them supply 11A at 12.5V.


Anonymous said...

Tell an ignoramus what the solar panels will enable you to do.

Halfie said...

H.S., the solar panels will help to keep the domestic batteries - those which provide power for lights, water pump, fridge etc. - charged. They will obviously work only during daylight hours, and will provide little more than a trickle charge. The idea is that, when the boat is left unattended for any period of time, one will be able to return to the boat to find that the batteries are in good condition and fully charged. The solar panels will also minimise the need to run the engine merely to charge the batteries.

Warner Carter said...

Much of the cost reduction over that period isn't to do with the panels themselves, so much as associated costs--labor, taxes, installer profit, and other hardware such as mounting systems and inverters. Plumbing Leeds

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