February 28th, 2023

MS Mededinger - Wim van Wijngaarden

The Van Wijngaarden family has been using Solarhatches since the spring of 2022. After positive experiences, they had an additional Solarhatch installed at the end of 2022 to double their power capacity. They now have a total of 13 kWp on board. Read their experience below!

Are you satisfied with your Solarhatches?

Yes, we are very satisfied with the Solarhatches. You don't have to run the generator as much, which means you use less fuel and produce less emissions. It's great because it's better for the filters and reduces wear and tear. When you're docked somewhere, it's nice to have to run the engines less. While shore power is convenient, you still have to drag cables to the shore. Moreover, shore power doesn't always work due to frequent issues with shore power cabinets.

How likely are you to recommend the Solarhatches to other skippers on a scale of 1 to 10, now that you've been using them for a while?

I would highly recommend the Solarluiken to anyone, so definitely a 10. Of course, price is a factor to consider, but it's not just about the cost of the panels alone. We also added extra power inverters, which makes it a bit more expensive, but then you can use the energy produced by the Solarhatches for everything on board and rely less on the generator.
We also have an app from Victron that allows us to start the generator remotely. We can monitor how the batteries are charging. If the voltage drops significantly, I can start the generator remotely, which is very convenient.

Have you noticed any drawbacks or downsides from using Solarhatches?

You almost never walk on the area where the solar panels are located on the hatch, so that is not a problem. You just have to careful that it's not stepped on during loading and unloading, but that's not allowed anyway. All in all, we're really enthusiastic about it. There are actually no disadvantages to mention, except that it does cost quite a bit.

How did you experience the collaboration with Wattlab?

I found the collaboration to be very pleasant. I appreciate the team at Wattlab, as they are motivated individuals. We had one issue at one point, and they were very quick to respond. The communication lines are short, and we had enjoyable conversations.

How did you become acquainted with Solar Hatches?

We needed new aluminium hatches when we extended our ship, and we ended up at Blommaert. We had seen a few articles in the newspaper about MS Kenyro, which was one of the first to have Solar Hatches installed. So we asked for a quote with solar panels. We initially purchased two small hatches with a total of 18 panels. We were satisfied with the results, so in the fall, we decided to cover (retrofit) another hatch with solar panels as well. In total, we now have 36 panels on our hatches.
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