Can A Solar Generator Run Your Boats Appliances?

solar generator run boat

Solar generators are not only useful as a backup power supply for your home or RV, but they may also come in handy for all you seafarers out there. 

Roughly 3.46 million Americans went sailing in 2021, and while that number is the lowest recorded since the beginning of the past decade, it is still set to increase in going into 2023.

Whenever you are on a boat, there is an increased exposure to the sun due to surface water reflection. That, and there are pretty much no obstacles in the water creating shade (such as trees for example).

Boat owners have been aware of increased solar irradiance levels for decades, and have sought to capitalise on this by integrating solar panels into their boats design. 

In doing so, sailors have been able to harness the suns energy and create electricity whilst out at sea. 

With that being said, many boat owners are now becoming aware of solar generator technology and how it may prove useful in storing that collected energy and powering various appliances. 

In this article we will talk about whether a solar generator is a viable energy solution for boat owners.

But before we can do that, we need to get a better idea of what appliances boats generally have onboard, and how much energy they use.

What appliances are most common on a boat?

Below we have listed some of the more common appliances found on a boat. Please note that all the appliances listed, utilise DC electricity. 

  • Mini Fridge
  • Fresh water pump
  • Small TV
  • Stereo
  • Phone Charger
  • VHF Radio
  • LED Lights
  • Chartplotter/GPS
  • Broadband Radar

Of course, appliances onboard will vary from boat, but for the most part, the majority of boats out at sea will have these same appliances listed above.  

How much energy does a boat use on average?

rustler yachts - beautiful yachts, beautifully built

The amount of energy a boat uses really all depends on the appliances onboard, and how long you use them for. 

Appliances with high power ratings, such as toasters, draw much more electricity than say a phone charger. However, power ratings alone do not determine overall energy consumption. 

To figure out the energy consumption of a boat, you will need to list all the appliances onboard with their individual power ratings (in watts). Furthermore, you will need to then list the time of usage for each appliance. 

Once you have this all written down you can apply some basic math. 

Simply multiply the power rating by the usage time to get your energy consumption (in watt hours). 

Below we have created an example for you:

Appliance Power Rating  Usage Time Energy Consumption
Small TV 60 W 3 hours 180 Wh
Electric Grill 1000 W 1 hour 1000 Wh
LED Lights 5 W 5 hours 25 Wh
1205 Wh

As we can see in our example above, this boat uses roughly 1205 Wh of electricity each day.

How long will a solar generator power a boats appliances?

This all depends on how much energy consumption your boat uses. To give a defining answer to this question will serve no purpose as the answer will vary boat owner to boat owner. 

What we can do however, is give you a rough estimate on how long a solar generator (based on its energy capacity) will power popular boat appliances, individually. 

See below a table which indicates various run times based on the appliance and solar generator energy capacity. 

Solar Generator Size VHF Radio (0.6A) Broadband Radar (1A) Mini Fridge (5A) Fresh Water Pump (9A) Small TV
(6A)
Electric
Grill (100A)
1200 Wh 133h 80h 16h 9h 13h 0.8h
2400 Wh 266h 160h 32h 18h 27h 1.6h
3600 Wh  400h 240h 48h 27h 40h 2.4h

 

Which solar generator is best for a boat?

BLUETTI AC200P

bluetti ac200p solar kit

To date our AC200P is the most popular solar generator we have ever sold. For the main reason that it suits most of our consumers energy needs in terms of both power and capacity. In our opinion this would be the number one best solar generator for small to medium sized boats. 

Tech Specs:  

  • 2000W AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter (4,800W Surge)
  • 2,000Wh Capacity
  • LiFePO4 Battery with 3,500+ Life Cycles to 80%
  • 17 Outputs For Multiple Devices
  • 7 Ways to Recharge (AC/Solar/Car/Generator/Lead battery/Dual AC/AC+Solar)
  • 700W Max. Solar Input
  • 1100W Max. Fast Dual Charging (Solar + AC Adapter Simultaneously)
  • Eco-friendly/Gas free/Quiet/Cost-effective

AC200 MAX

bluetti ac200max portbale power station

This solar generator looks and feels exactly the same as the AC200P, but is a tad upgraded (to say the least).

If you require the same aesthetics, but options to increase your energy capacity then the AC200 MAX is your solution.

This solar generator allows the option to attach external battery packs which could increase energy capacity up to 6,144Wh. 

Tech Specs: 

  • 2,200W AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter (4,800W Surge)
  • 2,048Wh Capacity
  • LiFePO4 Battery with 3,500+ Life Cycles to 80%
  • Expandable Up To 6,144Wh with 2×B230, or 8,192Wh with 2×B300
  • 7 Ways to Recharge (AC/Solar/Car/Generator/Lead Battery/Dual AC/AC+Solar)
  • 900W Max. Solar Input
  • 1400W Max. Fast Dual Charging (Solar + AC Adapter)
  • Smart Control & Monitor in BLUETTI App

Final thoughts

BLUETTI solar generators are capable of powering all sorts of appliances on your boat, such as a mini fridge, TV, stereo, VHF radio and pretty much any appliance you can throw at it.

The only thing you will need to take note of is your boats overall energy consumption. With this information you can be sure to size the perfect solar generator and thus never run out of electricity when you need it most. 

It is important to note however, that solar generators are not waterproof. meaning you will need to secure your device in dry/safe location. 

Shop BLUETTI for all your solar needs

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