Upgraded solar and amp-phobia
I think we suffer from amp-phobia, a condition where as live aboards, we constantly monitor amps going in and amps going out. As a result, we’ve recently upgraded our solar from a four panel to a six panel system in preparation for cruising.
When we originally installed the solar system we added a framework behind the roof that is held up with stainless steel poles (see the pic above.) We added a matching sunbrella awning and black shade cloth drop downs that go over the dinghy davits at the back. This adds shade to the cockpit and gives some protection for the tender as well, it also stops a lot of rain coming in. The shade cloth can be rolled up too if we want but we love the privacy it offers us. Note that you can see out but can’t really see in that well from a distance. The poles attached to the hand holds on the stern steps give you something else to hold onto when we hop in and out of the tender.
What we had before:
What you can see above is a view of the solar panels added originally. You can see the framework still in this shot as we hadn’t put the awning back up yet, also the original 4 panel solar system did not hang over the edge like the new 6 panels does, obviously. Also note the colour of the Sunbrella is the original blue you got when you ordered a new Lagoon catamaran in 2010. Our original Sunbrella covers were all faded and breaking down after just 3 years from new so Sunbrella replaced them under warranty. Great customer service! This also meant we could pick our own colour and we are really happy with it.
- Total power previously: 190w x 4 = 760w
- Approximate cost
- including stainless steel structure: $2300 ish + Nick’s labour to fit
What we have now:
So this is what we have now: 6 panels and an upgraded support. The new system does overhang a little but it doesn’t infringe on space and is not a problem.
- Total power 190w x 6 = 1140w
- additional cost
- about $980 extra plus Nick’s labour to fit
Will we change it again?
Probably. When solar technology improves and the lighter weight panels come down in price we will look at changing the system again.
Want to know more?
If you want to see a full album of photos showing the work as it progressed head to my Facebook page and check it out. If you want to be kept up to date with our improvements make sure to like the page!
We have a few jobs on the go at the moment in readiness for cruising next month. This weekend we updated the cover on our tender, added wheels and improved the seating. Nick is also installing a water maker he built himself. It’s just in the commissioning stages now.