When it comes to getting the right solar panel for your boat, there’ll be a few things that you’ll be looking for.
The first thing is size. You want something that will fit on your boat and not take up too much space. The second thing is weight.
If you’re going to be using this on your boat then you don’t want anything too heavy.
And finally, you want something that’s easy to install if you are going to DIY but a professional solar installer shouldn’t have a problem either way.
But if you get a marine solar panel, then you can be sure that you’ll have everything you need to be completely self-reliant when you are out on the waves.
This is very important if you are fishing in deep waters and far away from any sources of power.
Here’s our guide to the best marine solar panels.
What's In This Article
This first solar panel is perfect if you are looking for something that is flexible that you can pack away and easily carry with all the other equipment on your boat.
It’s also great if you are planning on installing it in multiple locations around your boat as they are designed to be very modular so you can add more or less as you see fit.
It’s made from high-quality materials and has been tested by independent laboratories to make sure it meets international safety standards.
This is a curved power supply, which usually means that the energy efficiency will not be as high as the rigid kind, as it is not capable of capturing as much sunlight.
However, the conversion rate of this solar panel is very high.
If you are looking for an affordable option then this might just be what you are after.
It offers a lot of bang for your buck, coming in a lightweight construction that won’t contribute too much to the overall weight of your boat.
However, it still has a lot of good points such as its small size, lightweight design and ease of installation.
Also, it has been tested by SunPower themselves to ensure that it complies with its own quality standards.
This is also resistant to a lot of weather, which again makes it the perfect companion for boating.
If you are going sea fishing and you can expect to be away from land for hours at a time in changeable weather, then this is a great solar panel to have.
- Energy-Efficient – this comes at 22-25% energy efficiency, which really makes it an industry leader when it comes to solar panels.
- Great Connectivity – you’ll be able to hook this up to whatever electronic devices that you have on your vessel. You can use it to store energy for your battery, which is great if you are experiencing low power.
- Lightweight And Portable – this is one of the lightest solar panels available today. You can easily transport it anywhere without worrying about it being too heavy.
- Polymer Casing – this is made from a durable and very flexible polymer. If you have a small area on your deck, then you can still curve it around to save on space and absorb a maximum level of sunlight.
- Not Ideal For Large Boats – this is only suitable for smaller vessels. It may not be able to handle the larger boats due to its relatively small surface area.
- The Price Is Quite Expensive – although it does offer a lot of benefits, it is still quite expensive compared to some other solar panels.
This next solar panel brilliantly strikes the balance between flexibility and rigidity, allowing you to mount the solar panel in much
the same manner as you would a sail. This will allow you maximum coverage and light absorption.
It doesn’t come with any mounting hardware, but there is a free template included to help you get started.
It’s made from strong yet lightweight material, making it easy to install and remove.
The panels are also extremely durable, meaning you don’t need to worry about them breaking down over time.
The cells on this solar panel are extremely durable and will be able to function efficiently even when you are fishing or sailing in adverse weather conditions.
You can mount this solar panel from many different angles, which makes it a perfect unit for use on small vessels where you might not have much room to lay the whole thing flat.
If you want to take advantage of all the benefits of a solar panel while keeping things simple, then this is definitely the right choice for you.
This comes with sturdy mounting poles that you can use to fix the solar panel in place. This is also great if you are working with a different setup.
- Very Flexible – this allows you to mount it in almost any position, so you can maximize the amount of sunlight that hits the solar panel.
- Durable – these panels are built to last and won’t break down over time. You can even operate them in harsh weather conditions where the lighting might not be optimal.
- Lightweight – this is one of the lighter solar panels, which means you can carry it around easily. This will definitely appeal to any fishers who have to carry around a lot of gear and want to keep the load light.
- Good Mounting Abilities – you can mount this one very easily, which makes it a great unit for use on smaller boats.
- Doesn’t Come With Mounting Hardware – you’ll need to purchase additional hardware to attach the solar panel to your boat.
When it comes to flexibility, weight and connectivity, then this is one of the best units that you can have.
It comes with two handy connectors that can be connected to motors, batteries and electronic devices.
This is another highly energy-efficient unit, which is great if you are wanting to transfer as much energy as possible from the sun to your devices.
This comes made from very high-quality material, meaning that it won’t rip or tear when you are transporting it from the back of your pickup truck to your boat.
If you are making frequent trips with a lot of gear, then you’ll want a solar panel that can withstand repeated pulling and folding.
The SunPower 110W Flexible Solar Panel has been designed to work well with most types of electronics, including cell phones, laptops, tablets, GPS systems, cameras, etc.
With its sleek design and excellent performance, this solar panel will look great on your boat.
It’s also incredibly lightweight, which means that you won’t feel too exerted, which is especially helpful if you are fishing for a few days.
- Highly Efficient – this is one of our favorite solar panels because it produces more power than other similar models.
- Highly Portable – this is one of those solar panels that you can easily move around without having to worry about damaging it.
- Sturdy Construction – this solar panel is made from heavy-duty materials, which means that it will stand up to years of use.
- Easy Installation – this is one of only a handful of solar panels that require no special tools to install. This is great if you are new to the world of deep-sea fishing.
- Not Suitable For Large Boats – this is an ideal unit for smaller boats and recreational vessels.
- Not Compatible With All Electronics – this doesn’t come with adapters, so you may find yourself needing to buy some extra accessories to connect to your device.
This next solar unit is great for all different sorts of vehicles, whether on the water or on land.
This is a really heavy-duty unit for those who like to do large-scale fishing or sailing.
This is built with tempered glass and aluminum, making it one of the more durable units that we have on this list.
If you want to make a one-off solar panel purchase on something that will last you for years, then you should give this some serious consideration.
This can function even in low light conditions, making it perfect for days of sailing where you can almost guarantee that the weather will change.
You don’t need any special tools to install this, which makes it easy to get started. You just need to place it flat against a surface and secure it using screws.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting solar panel, then you need to consider buying this model.
This is also incredibly cheap, which considering the features and durability, makes it an even better purchase.
It might be a little heavier and more inflexible, but you can be sure that it will absorb a lot of light.
- Very Sturdy – this is one of the sturdiest solar panels that we’ve ever seen. Made with solid aluminum and glass, you can be sure that it will be able to resist plenty of knocks and bangs, as well as a little rain.
- Lightweight – this is one of these solar panels that is extremely lightweight, making it easier to carry around. This will make it easier for mounting on larger vessels.
- Compatible With All Devices – this comes with adapters that allow you to plug into many different electronic devices, such as smartphones, iPads, computers, etc.
- Affordable – considering the build quality and the level of functionality, then this is a real steal. If you are committed to sustainable personal fishing, then you should definitely give this one a try.
- Large – this unit is very cumbersome, especially when you compare it to the more flexible units.
- Difficult To Mount On Smaller Vessels – if you are looking to erect one of these solar panels on a smaller vessel, then you might be struggling, owing to the size and general inflexibility.
This next solar panel is one of the most high-quality and durable solar panels that you can get on the market. Coming in a sleek black design, it really puts a priority on design and resilience.
It’s made from ETFE, giving it a strong yet flexible frame. This means that it won’t break easily, and you can be sure that you’ll be getting a high-quality product.
The connectors are also designed to be incredibly robust, meaning that they will withstand lots of wear and tear over time.
The connectors mean that you can use this solar panel with any device, including laptops, tablets, and phones.
If you want to charge your phone while out at sea, then this is the ideal solar panel for you.
It’s also very easy to install, requiring no special tools or skills. Simply unpack the solar panel and slot it into position.
This is great for use on a narrowboat where space is not in that much abundance.
These solar panels are very resistant to any weather conditions. They are also very easy to clean, which will be important for preserving the functionality of your solar panel overall.
Maximum energy absorption is crucial if you want to increase the performance of your solar panel.
You can mount this solar panel on pretty much any vessel, either flat on the surface of your deck or curved around the mast.
Even when curved, you can be sure that this solar panel will give you the maximum level of light absorption.
- High-Quality Construction – this solar panel has been constructed using only the highest quality materials available. The frame is made from ETFE, which gives it a strong and flexible structure.
- Easy Installation – this solar panel requires no special tools or skills to install, just a little bit of patience.
- Durable – the connectors used on this solar panel are incredibly sturdy, so you can be sure that they will last for years to come.
- Maximum Energy Absorption – this solar panel is able to absorb up to 80% of sunlight, providing you with plenty of power to keep your electronics charged.
- Lightweight – this solar panel is extremely lightweight, making it perfect for boats that don’t have a lot of storage space.
- Expensive – although this solar panel is quite affordable, it does cost a fair amount to buy.
- Not Suitable For All Boats – this solar panel is not suitable for all types of boats. It’s best suited to larger vessels, as it needs more room to attach itself to.
This next solar panel is one for anyone who is looking for something a little smaller and lighter that they can use to charge a smaller and lighter vessel.
This solar panel is just as durable as some of the other, larger models that we’ve listed above.
However, when it comes to portability and design, then this one cannot be beaten.
This is another high energy-efficiency model, saving around 22-25% energy and expending most of that into whatever device that you want to charge it with.
This is great for keeping your device such as a mobile phone or tablet charged when you are out in the middle of a large lake.
This will be especially helpful if you want to keep your battery charged to get those extra few hours of fishing.
The SunPower 50W Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel is designed to be mounted at an angle of between 45 degrees and 60 degrees.
This means that it can easily be installed onto almost any boat, whether it’s a kayak or a sailboat.
It’s also relatively small, weighing about 1 kg (2lbs) and measuring 25.5 x 21.9 x 0.8 inches.
- Small Size – this solar panel is ideal for charging smaller devices such as tablets and phones. This is also great for carrying, which will alleviate a lot of the exhaustion that can come with fishing for hours at a time.
- Easy To Install – this solar panel is fairly simple to install, requiring nothing more than basic hand tools. You can connect your devices with little to no help at all. This is great for anyone who might not be familiar with an on-board solar panel.
- Lightweight – this solar panel weighs less than 2 pounds, making it perfect for charging portable electronic devices while you’re out on the water.
- High Efficiency – this solar panel is capable of absorbing up to 90% of the sun’s rays, meaning that it will provide you with enough power to keep your devices charged.
- Expensive – this solar panel is pretty expensive, costing over $100. Although this may seem like a lot, it is worth it when you consider how much money you’ll save by using this solar panel instead of buying batteries every couple of days.
- Not Suitable For Everyone – this solar panel is only suitable for people who own smaller boats such as kayaks and sailboats. If you own a bigger boat, then this solar panel won’t work well for you.
This next solar panel is another condensed version of the rigid aluminum solar panel that we listed above.
This is great for anyone who wants a more sturdy solar panel yet who might prefer to sail in smaller vessels.
This will be very affordable and will provide you with a high level of energy conversion.
There are plenty of small-scale fishers who take this out on a cloudy day and still boast about high light absorption.
This comes with a junction box and connectors, so you shouldn’t have too much of an issue hooking this one up to your boat’s battery or any devices that you need charging.
This is made from a corrosion-resilient aluminum frame, which is definitely a plus point if you are regularly going to be going out on the water.
This is a great unit for stormy weather conditions, as it comes with a build quality that you can be sure will give you everything that you need for a solar panel that will last you for months and even years if you take care of it properly.
This comes with a long service life, which means that it will operate for a few years. This comes with a conversion efficiency of around 21%.
- Affordable – this solar panel costs very little, making it one of the cheapest models available today. This is great if you are only a casual fisher and you don’t want to spend that much cash.
- Sturdy – this solar panel has been tested to withstand winds of up to 30mph, making it extremely durable. This is great if you like fishing during more adverse weather conditions.
- High Performance – this solar panel boasts a conversion rate of around 21%, which is higher than most other units on the market. It also provides you with a lot of power, which makes it ideal for powering multiple devices simultaneously.
- Easy To Mount – This unit comes with plenty of pre-drilled holes that you can use to mount this on pretty much any vessel (provided that you have the surface area on the deck of your boat).
- Lacks Flexibility – this solar panel doesn’t come with any three-dimensional mounting options. You will therefore need to purchase some additional accessories before you can start using it.
- Noise Levels – this solar panel produces quite a bit of noise while in operation. This isn’t something that you should worry about though, because it is not loud enough to disturb others nearby.
Next up, we have a solar panel that can be used in a whole range of situations – on land, in your RV, on your boat, in your outdoor shed.
This is a sturdy, durable and highly efficient unit that works great in almost any off-grid scenario.
This comes with a corrosion-free frame that you can be sure will make your solar panel last in any environment.
It also comes with a durable junction box that will protect the panel against water particles and dust.
The 100-watt model is designed to work well when there is low light, but it does produce a fair amount of heat, meaning that you may get uncomfortable if you are using it in hot climates.
However, this is a good thing, as it means that you can charge your electronics quickly without having to worry about them overheating.
It also comes with plenty of built-in turn-off systems that will prevent it from overcharging. It also comes with a converter that allows you to connect this directly to your vehicle’s electrical system.
This means that you won’t have to deal with adding another battery or inverter to your setup. It also comes with an AC adapter that will allow you to plug it into any standard household outlet. This means that you can easily use it anywhere in the world.
This comes with pre-drilled holes that will allow you to mount it anywhere. This is especially useful for marine power,
as very often you’ll be struggling to find the right amount of space for it to get enough natural light.
- Durable – this solar panel is made out of high-quality materials that will ensure that it lasts for years to come. It is also resistant to rust, which will really come in handy if you are hitting the waters multiple times a week.
- Lightweight – this solar panel weighs just 10 pounds, so it is easy to carry around. This will also come in handy if you are looking to lighten the load with your gear.
- Easy Installation – this solar panel comes with all the necessary tools and instructions required to install it. All you need to do is follow the simple steps provided and you’ll be ready to go within minutes.
- Junction Box – this comes with a durable and easy-to-use junction box. This is completely sealed with a gel function that will stop contamination inside the box.
- Heat Output – this solar panel generates a fair amount of heat during operation. If you live in a place where temperatures regularly reach over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then you might want to consider buying one of our other models instead.
This next solar panel comes with cells that are encased in acetate, making it one of the most resilient and reliable panels that you can currently find on the market.
This is able to withstand some high-speed winds and comes with a snow load of 5400pa.
This makes it a great solar panel to have if you are a fan of ice fishing.
This comes with a built-in function that will stop power drops that you might experience through moments of shade.
This means that your power absorption will be more or less 100% throughout operation.
The best part of this solar panel is that it has a dual voltage output. This means that you don’t have to worry about whether you are going to be using it in the US or UK.
You can simply switch between the two to make sure that you are getting the correct voltage level.
This comes with heat dispersal features that will ensure your solar panel will not get too hot during operation. This is very important if you are fishing in a high temp climate.
- High-Quality Construction – this solar panel is constructed from premium-grade materials that will last for many years.
- Dual Voltage Output – this solar panel offers 12 DCV output. This is a great level of energy output, with plenty of power to charge your boat and a few devices.
- Snow Load – this solar panel is rated at 5400Pa, meaning that it can handle up to 5 inches of snow. This is perfect if you are planning on heading off into the wilderness for an extended period of time.
- Built-In Protection – this solar panel comes equipped with a built-in protection system that will prevent any potential damage from occurring. This is especially useful if you are planning on leaving your solar panel outside in extreme weather conditions.
- Size – this solar panel is quite large. This may pose problems if you are trying to fit it into small spaces.
- Weight – this solar panel is quite heavy. However, you should still be able to carry it around without much trouble.
When it comes to buying the right marine solar panel for your boat, there’ll be a few features that will be essential.
The weight will factor into it, as you’ll want to have something that you can shuttle aboard your boat without too much strain. You also don’t want a solar panel that will capsize the boat. Here are a few other things you should be looking for:
You’ll need to decide how big of a space you’re willing to devote to installing your solar panel.
It’s best to buy a solar panel that will fit snugly into your boat so that you won’t have to move it around every time you head out onto the water.
Your solar panel needs to be powerful enough to provide all of the power that you require.
For example, if you plan on charging multiple devices, then you’ll want a solar panel that has enough power to keep them charged.
On the flip side, if you only plan on powering one device, then you’ll want something that is smaller and lighter.
If you’re planning on taking your solar panel along on trips, then you’ll want to look for something that is lightweight.
If you’re going to be carrying it around for long periods of time, then you’ll want it to be durable.
If you’re going to be using your solar panel in harsh environments, then you’ll want some sort of protection system.
A good solar panel will come with a built-in protective cover that will protect against dust, dirt, and moisture.
The warranty is another thing to consider when purchasing a solar panel. Most manufacturers offer a 3 year or 5-year warranty, depending on what type of product they sell.
Warranties vary by manufacturer, but most will include replacement parts and labor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Size Solar Panel Do I Need?
There isn’t really a standard size for solar panels. They usually range between 10″x10″ and 20″x20″. The larger the panel, the more power it will produce.
How Often Should I Charge My Battery?
Your solar panel doesn’t need to be plugged into an outlet every day. Some people recommend that you plug in their solar panel once per week. Others suggest that you leave it unplugged during the winter months.
Can I Use My Solar Panel To Recharge My Phone?
Yes! Many solar panels come equipped with USB ports that allow you to connect your smartphone or tablet to the panel. This allows you to charge your device while you’re at sea.
Do I Need A Special Adapter To Use My Solar Panel?
No. All solar panels are compatible with any standard wall socket.
Is It Safe To Install Solar Panels On My Boat?
Yes. In fact, many boaters choose to install solar panels because they think that it makes their boat more self-sustaining. Solar panels are designed to withstand high winds and heavy seas.
Will My Solar Panel Make The Boat Get Hot?
No! Solar panels are made from glass, which means that they aren’t very conductive. As such, they won’t cause your boat to heat up.
Our Final Say
When you are looking for the right marine solar panel, you’ll need something that is durable and reliable. You should think about the type of fishing that you’re planning on doing before you settle on a specific type of panel.