Wind and lights give power boost
With boats carrying an increasing amount of essential electric equipment which inevitably drain batteries even faster, owners and crews must maximise the power of nature while finding ways to reduce their onboard consumption.
This is the view of wind turbine and solar panel designer and manufacturer Leading Edge Power.
Sales and marketing manager, Sarah Keefe, reports innovation in wind turbine design is key to achieving a higher power output: “Our Leading Edge LE-300 horizontal lightweight wind turbine has proved itself over many sea miles as a powerful, dependable and quiet power source. Designed for the corrosive marine environment, it can withstand 60mph winds.”
The next step up from this is the LE-450 which generates 20% more power from the same diameter rotor blades, while for trickle charging or maintaining the batteries over winter, a vertical turbine such as the LE-v50 will provide totally silent and indestructible power, if bolted to the mast well above deck level.
When considering solar panels, Sarah says: “Be on the lookout for panels with high cell efficiency as this will determine how much of the available solar irradiation they will be able to capture. They will generate more power, even for panels with the same wattage. Cell efficiency ranges from 17% to 22.5% so select panels with the highest cell efficiency you can afford.”
Third generation solar cells, due to hit the market later this year, will be capable of producing 10% more power for the same footprint, ideal where space is limited on a boat.
In order to reduce onboard power consumption, Sarah is calling for people to ‘look to the light’: “If you change the navigation, mast and spreader lights from incandescent lights to LEDs and inside the boat, switch the old spots to new LED units, on average you can achieve an 80% reduction in power demand.”
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