In this post: Charging Boat Batteries With Solar Panels
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    Charging Boat Batteries With Solar Panels

    charging boat batteries with solar panels

    Did you know that the amount of sunlight that hits the Earth’s surface in 90 minutes is enough to charge every boat battery in the world? In fact, that’s enough to meet the energy needs of the world for an entire year!

    There’s a good reason solar power is getting more popular and accessible every day. And this sustainable source of energy has far more potential than most people know. Charging boat batteries with solar panels is great for the water enthusiast on the go. Say goodbye to lugging a clunky generator onboard to provide juice for your batteries. Solar panels are a sleeker, smarter alternative.

    Read on to learn everything you need to know about charging boat batteries with solar panels.

    Charging Boat Batteries With Solar Panels

    In the past, boat owners could only have so much fun out on the waves. Dying batteries would cut the fun short early. But now, charging boat batteries with solar panels is a revolutionary option. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities. After all, what better place to make use of solar panels than out on the open water? There is an endless supply of strong sun rays you can convert to battery power.

    Currently, you might have a starter battery to crank your motor and a deep cycle battery for trolling. Or you have a dual-purpose battery. No matter what your boat battery setup looks like, you’ll be able to use solar panels to charge them. Furthermore, both small boats and larger water vessels can use solar panels. Compact boats can stay charged while they’re waiting on a trailer. That’s if your solar panel is well-positioned. Sailboats that go faster can use solar panels as a helpful extra power source. Some can even make the full transition to solar energy. Virtually any type of boat owner can enjoy solar panels.

    Groups of men aboard boats, and a quote about how small or large boats can benefit from solar panels.

     

    How to Use Solar Panels on Your Boat

    Solar battery chargers can be a great option if you have a boat with plenty of space. All you need is a clear spot for your panels and access to sunlight. Make sure the solar panel area is well ventilated, and out of everybody’s way.

    Charging boat batteries with your solar panels is easy. First, grab your panels. Second, grab your solar charge controller. Third, grab those cables. Install the wiring to the charge station, then you can add your charge regulator. That’s very important because it prevents overcharging and keeps things in good condition. One cool (and necessary) feature of solar controllers is that they have the ability to turn off when the sun goes down. This helps prevent the draining of your lithium battery at night!

    Now, before you invest in solar panels, there are a few things you should consider. For example:

    • How many batteries are in your boat?
    • How large are they?

    And ask yourself these questions:

    • How much energy do I need? Do you need a ton of power but also live in an area with low sunlight? Consider going with multiple panels.
    • What’s the capacity of my existing batteries? Try to get a solar panel with a wattage rating at least 30% higher than your battery’s draw.

    You’ll need a panel with enough size and power to service them. By investing in a larger panel you can reduce your charging time. This is especially helpful if you don’t have power available on your dock or don’t have a lot of downtime between fishing trips to charge your batteries. But of course, the amount of space you have (or don’t have) makes all the difference.

    Benefits of Solar Panels for Boat Batteries

    We all know there are no charging stations out in the middle of the ocean or lake. But by charging boat batteries with solar panels, you can enjoy the water longer. Plus, you don’t have to worry about conserving power to get to the shore safely. Solar panels give you an infinite supply of energy.

    Everyone knows boat days are about more than cruising along. What makes the experience great? The people and things you bring with you! You can do more than just charge boat batteries with solar panels. You can charge everything. That means speakers, electric coolers, water heaters, and just about any other recreational gear you can think of.

    Also, consider this. Imagine you run into an emergency out at sea. Solar energy gives you the ability to power a radio to get help, or another communication device.

    Using solar energy is also the most eco-friendly option. Lithium batteries bring long life and lightning-fast charging to the table. They’re maintenance-free and don’t need to be replaced often. This makes for a perfect addition to your boat. Last but not least, they perform great even when it’s hot, so they’ll keep you chugging right along in the summer sun while you work on your boat tan.

    Image of a solar panel, and a list of things to consider before investing in solar panels.

     

    Go Off-Grid by Charging Boat Batteries With Solar Panels

    When you’re enjoying a carefree day out on your boat, nothing feels better than knowing you’ve got a full charge. Charging boat batteries with solar panels is truly the way of the future. It can save you time, money, and loads of stress. Invest in solar panels for your marine batteries, and ensure every boat day goes off without a hitch. Not only will you save money; you’ll enjoy boat excursions in a whole new way.

    FAQ’s

    How much power can I generate with a single 12V 100W solar panel?

    A single 12V 100W solar panel perpendicular to the sun could produce ~6A for 8 hrs in the summer providing about 48Ah of charging for a 12V battery charging to 14.6V. Now in wintertime, there’s about half as much daylight available, so you’ll likely only produce 24Ah.

    How long will it take to charge a 12V 100Ah starter battery?

    It could take between 16 hours and 2 days to charge a 12V 100Ah starter battery. In winter, this amount will significantly increase to around 32 hours to 8 days. It all depends on the amount of sun available!

    How would you suggest I charge a 36V trolling motor battery?

    One option to more quickly charge your 36V trolling battery with solar is to have a second panel installed with asf solar controller output of 43.8V.

    How much solar power can I generate for a 36V trolling motor battery?

    A 36V 100W solar panel perpendicular to the sun could produce ~2.8A for 8 hrs in the summer providing about 22.4Ah of charging for a 36V battery charging to 43.8V. In the winter time about half of the daylight is available at 1.4Ah.

    How long would it take to charge a 36V battery?

    In the summer, a 36V 100W solar panel could take between 18 hrs to 3 days to charge a 36V50Ah starter battery. In the winter, a 36V 100W solar panel could take 36 hours to 9 days to charge a 36V50Ah starter battery.

     

    Solar panel on a boat, and call to action promoting LithiumHub solar batteries.

    Headshot picture of Martin Koebler, founder and president of LithiumHub.
    About the Author: Martin Koebler

    Picture a world powered by the hum of lithium batteries – in our homes, gadgets, vehicles, and more. Martin Koebler, our founder, has spent decades making this world a reality. His groundbreaking work in lithium battery technology is changing how we see energy storage. Learn more about his journey and vision here.

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