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Selecting solar panels

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Got a fairly small boat (40ft) so not much roof space and I am looking to buy a couple of solar panels. While eventually I might get an inverter I am currently all 12v and I plan to live aboard 2 or 3 evenings a week to save commuting plus the odd weekend cruising. 
I was told you pay about £1 per watt then add on controllers, cables, mountings etc but I see on Amazon and eBay 100w complete kits for about £100 and single panels for less the £70. 
can anyone give me any guidance on makes and models for all the bits or is it a case of ‘you gets what you pays for’ with solar panels. 
I’m thinking to start with I go for 200-250w. 

I currently don’t have any battery monitoring at all so is it important to have this with the panel or is it better a fork out for something that monitors everything ? 

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I put a solar panel on last year. 

One of the best things I ever did. 

But my knowledge/advice is poor. 

I relied on advice from here, which is good. 


Keep things simple is my advice. 


But solar panels are essential


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You won't go far wrong with something similar to this


I've got the 100w version fitted. I don't live aboard, but go every week for 3 or 4 days, so far my 100w panel has charged the batteries back to 100% each week, although I'm not expecting that over the winter.

Edited by Kendorr
Sent the wrong link!
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It's worth the extra for a MPPT controller to maximise whatever the panels can deliver. Size it generously in case you decide to add capacity.

Otherwise make sure that you have sized the panels to enable you to walk on the roof safely.

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You can save a bit of cash by using second hand panels - gives you more cash to play with on the solar controller. If you intend on walking on the roof, you are best looking for ones a maximum of 80cm wide. I bought a load of 150w ones from a solar installer in Cornwall this summer for £32 each. Sold the excess for £38 to other boaters to cover fuel costs and a few beers.

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