Solar panels are a major requirement on cruising boats in today’s world.


They are a critical source of energy for maintaining the modern systems on board. Fridges, lights, batteries, computers and so forth all utilise the energy the panels bring on to Australis 1 – and Gratis, too.

When we took ownership, Australis 1 had just four small panels that brought in a total of about 130 watts. On cloudy days much less, and on days when there was nil wind and our wind generator did not produce, they couldn’t cover our energy requirements. So, on came the thundering diesel generator. YUK! In the past, the generator was utilised to boost the battery bank. For Bob and I, there is nothing worse than excessive noise, smell and pollution when it’s not really warranted.

The solution?

More solar panels and a second wind generator (to come)!

Two new panels that will provide an additional rated 650 watts that will bring our solar collector to a total rated 900 watts. On a boat, because we can’t readily align with the sun, we will never get 900 watts. In reality, we can count on about 500 watts.


Bob had needs to create a frame.

Welding skills were put to work.

Pieces connected.

The frame put together.

Panels put in place.

A quick check to ensure all was good.

Now there are two sets

ready for the final wiring,

and we have additional protection for the elements, plus a solid water catcher. We really can’t ask for more!