The US Federal Government offers a solar energy tax credit, applicable to your second home, i.e. your boat! As long as there is a head and galley onboard and it is docked in the United States, your vessel qualifies. This tax credit, extended to December 31, 2019, is a 30% credit on qualified expenditures to purchase and install solar panels, with no maximum limit for equipment placed in service after 2008. In the last few years, we hear at different boat shows the success stories from boat owners getting that 30% tax credit. This credit can be retroactive – as long as the solar system was placed into service after January 1, 2006.
Check out this updated link to the Dept of Energy's website that gives a simplified description of the energy tax credit: http://energy.gov/savings/residential-renewable-energy-tax-credit. Want to see how simple the actual IRS form is to fill out: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5695.pdf. Your state government may also have a solar tax credit. It may be worth investigating.
Life has become so much easier for so many people since they took advantage of this tax credit. If you want solar power on your boat, it may have just become more affordable. There is still time to plan and implement your solar power project, but I wouldn't suggest waiting too much longer – December 31, 2019 will be here before you know it! Contact us at www.CoastalClimateControl.com about your marine solar system.
Many boats these days have a battery or systems monitor permanently installed. Popular models include: E-Meter, Link 10, Victron BMV, Philippi BCM, etc.
With these meters, DC current is measured in and out of the battery by a device called a Shunt that is installed in the negative lead to the battery. A Shunt is simply a bar of metal with a known resistance between the two ends.
The resulting drop in current is then measured by the monitor and multiplied to give the correct current reading. The Shunt is the very last item connected to the battery negative post, and no other negative leads must be allowed to by-pass it. This is to ensure that it measures every amp of current going both in and out of the battery.
As you can see from the example below, it is possible for solar panels or a wind/hydro generator to supply power for DC loads directly, via bus bars or other connection points, without their current flowing into the battery or through the battery monitor Shunt.Read more: Will a Battery Monitor properly show Solar, Wind, or Hydro Output?