Our little vessel is about to acquire a fixed VHF DSC radio, navigation lights and cabin lights, in addition to her ancient NASA echo sounder. We'ld also like to add a socket or two for things like phone chargers. To run this modest little setup, we'll need a little power. Marina-dwellers can simply plug in, but on our swing mooring, shore power is not an option - so we are going solar, with the help of a neat little kit from SailGB. The gadgetry having arrived, Ms C took charge and soon assembled a test circuit in our back garden, wiring the panel (120 watt-hours per day) to a charge controller (pictured), a 70 amp-hour deep-cycle marine-grade battery, and a small cabin light (pictured) for a test load.
When I returned in the evening, a flick of a switch gave us a beautiful steady glow - bottled sunlight. Watching the light of this little ten-watt bulb (a cheap-but-wasteful incandescent) , the implications seemed quite numinous - our little boat, who'll travel nearly every mile under sail, will now achieve complete electrical independence. Once that panel has been screwed to her coachroof, she'll be cleanly and silently self-powering, more or less indefinitely. Wonder how long it'll be before I can say the same of our house - or our cars?