We are anchored at Cape Lookout, North Carolina. It has been a very warm humid weekend, the type of weather that typically finds us in cooler climates. We’ve been waiting for the arrival of six new Sunpower 360 watt solar panels, the most efficient available, and very much in demand. Cory and Angela McMahon’s Triton Marine Team have just completed installation, and we are watching as the Outback Mate controller adds up the day’s power creation.
Cory is aboard today fine-tuning the solar charge controller parameters. The Mate controller is prematurely reducing output. Yet the total for the day still comes to 33.4kW hours. That’s 1317 amp hours of electricity for our 24 volt DC system: sufficient to run our air conditioning in normal summer weather, as well as the usual life aboard loads like cooking, lights, fridge and freezer, etc.
These six panels are mounted in a more efficient unshaded position, on top of the Matrix deck roof, which provides accelerated air flow keeping them cooler. We do not like the weight aloft, and just tolerate the appearance. But these six new panels effectively double solar output, making the trade-off worthwhile.
Although the numbers come in as expected, we are just beginning to digest the impact this will have on our cruising. Imagine…34kWh of clean, silent power.