To preclude having to run the generator to recharge my house batteries when at anchor, I decided to install some solar panels on the top of the pilot house of my Nordic Tug, Nobska (32-057).
Solar panels and associated parts can be purchased from many sources; just Google “solar panels” to learn the location of a source near you. I purchased my system from Callisto Products in Antelope, CA. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 916-721-7747) I have a friend who lives near there who picked them up for me and brought them with him when he came up to Washington, saving shipping costs.
My system consists of:
(2) Kyocera KC-130 solar panels* (130 watts each)
(2) Sets of Aluminum Mounting Brackets with Stainless Steel Hardware
(1) Specialty Concepts Mark 22-12 digital solar charge regulator* Controller)
I mounted the two panels on the roof of the pilot house (Photos 1 & 2), using spacers to elevate the panels for more access for the wiring and cleaning underneath the panels. I used scrap Trex decking for the spacer material (free from a local lumber yard). To hide the wiring, I used “Wiremold” on-wall PVC conduit available from any hardware store or DIY home center (Photo 3 between the panels).
I ran the cable down through the roof into the aft starboard corner of the pilot house, through the galley cabinet and into the locker under the starboard pilot house door.
I mounted the Controller in the bulkhead just aft of the starboard door, and under the helm seat (Photo 4). The wiring then went to my house bank battery switch and to the house bank. Full wiring diagram and instructions came with the system, so I won’t go into detail on that. I did need to purchase circuit breakers for the wiring in accordance with the instructions, but got them from a local source.
This system has more than enough capacity to keep the house bank charged without running the generator, and allows one to leave the fridge/freezer running when away from the boat for extended periods of time. We run the generator when we need hot water, when we need to run the espresso machine, and that’s about it.
The box between the panels is the mount for my AxTrax Marine Satellite Tracking System.
*Google these to see more info and full specs.
Charlie & Sharon Billings
Nobska – NT 32-057