A solar panel (photovoltaic module or photovoltaic panel) is a packaged interconnected
assembly of solar cells, also known as photovoltaic cells. The solar panel can be
used as a component of a larger photovoltaic system to generate and supply electricity
in commercial and residential applications.
Because a single solar panel can only produce a limited amount of power, many
installations contain several panels. This is known as a photovoltaic array or PVA.
A photovoltaic installation typically includes an array of solar panels, an inverter,
batteries and interconnection wiring.
Solar panels provide a renewable energy alternative to noisy and expensive fuel
powered generators. They work with your boat's electrical system to charge multiple
batteries at once and power your 12V lighting systems, appliances, navigation system,
Most marine solar systems consist of three major components:
- Solar panels produce the charge.
- Charge controller or regulator regulates the charge going into the battery
and prevents overcharging.
- Batteries store the energy created by the solar panels.
Then, from the batteries, the energy is used to run 12vDC appliances (lights,
pumps, fans, etc.) as well as 120vAC appliances when an inverter is utilized (TV,
radio, satellite dish, and microwave). An inverter is a separate unit that transforms
the 12vDC current coming out of the battery into 120vAC for use with most appliances.