Solar Panels – Introduction and panel support with photos

Panel Side View

I added Solar Panels late in 2009.

Two panels each of 205 watts, total 410watts!

I think that I have the biggest power station on any boat under 40′.

I added a MPPT controller. See future posts and tutorial at

My wife Rani’s website now sells them. Like many things we found she makes these products available at cost effective prices and with EXCELLENT support.

Simply put, you lose 30% + of your panel’s capacity especially in the northern climes without a MPPT controller.

I designed an arch made from 1″ stainless steel piping and standard fittings. The design does not require cutting the pushpit (railings) or making holes in the boat. It also provides for dismantling if trucking the boat.

The panels weigh 45# each and the arch is strong enough to use for hoisting objects aboard. So far we have hoisted sails and a generator with no problem. At least 100#.

The panels are mounted so that they are not shaded by the backstay, provide shade for low sun from behind and allow tall folks to climb aboard over the transom without hitting heads.

Top cockpit view

Best of all, very affordable if you have a few days free.

Have loaded a bunch of photos. From the side the panels are unobtrusive even though they are large.

Photos from top of mast at Cuttyhunk showing unique top view.

Rafted with Morgan 38

This entry was posted in Solar Panels. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Solar Panels – Introduction and panel support with photos

  1. revi says:

    Do you mean that you lose 30% + of the power withOUT the MPPT or with? it’s ambiguous

  2. jack says:

    Sorry you are correct, without the controller you lose 30%. Post corrected.


  3. Dan Monk says:

    Hi, great site. I’m am a proud owner of an O’Day 39 “Morpheus”. I am looking at adding solar panels and a windless in the near future. Thanks for the info posted here!

    • jack says:

      Dan, Thanks for your comment. The solar panels are working well especially as we are on a mooring and have added refrigeration. Even in cloudy weather we get lots of juice.

      We have a lofrans windlass that the previous owner never installed. I installed it 2 years ago. The O’Day has a bumpout in the anchor locker lid that just fits the gypsy of the windlass so that the windlass is fully in the locker.

      I am writing this from the boat enjoying the solar power and our OmniBox WiFi repeater.

      So your comment is encouraging me to add to the blog. Maybe even an entry on the Windlass.

      BTW, is yours the O’Day moored in Wareham, MA

  4. danmonk says:

    Hello Jack,
    Great mount for the panels! I like the fact that there are no holes drilled and it is attached to the pushpit. What type of panels are they? I would like to be able to cover my refrigeration draw approx. 7 amps. with a few extra amp hours for lights , stereo, etc. We typically spend 2-3 days on the hook before running the engine. I currently have 480 amp hours in the main battery bank (4-6volts) & a separate starting battery. As far as the windlass goes, I want to change our current manual to an electric (my back gets sore after hauling in 200 feet of chain!). Do you have a vertical or horizontal unit? Did you have to modify the anchor locker to fit the new windlass? We keep our boat in Blaine Washington and frequent the San Jauns(US) and Gulf Islands(CAN). ‘Morpheus’ is hull number 17.

Leave a Reply