I was so used to turning off lights, being careful how long I talk on the Single Side Band Radio, making sure I do not open my 12 volt fridge/freezer too often, and just being very conscious of my usage of battery power aboard our boat.
BUT, all that is a thing of the past since we installed two 55 watt rotating solar panels!
I cannot give you exact usage of amp hours on our boat, but can tell you we all read a lot at night so need our lights, we have a 12 volt Fridge/Freezer that always is used on a daily basis, we have a 12 volt TV we like to watch on inclement days and a 12 volt DVD player. My husband has a few 12 volt hand tools like electric drill, and I use a mixer with power from our 1000 watt inverter. So, all in all, we use quite a bit of electricity all sourced from our small in house battery bank.
Those wonderful, low maintenance, no moving parts, just out there soaking up the sunshine solar panels keep our batteries full up without any need to run the engine to charge the batteries, go alongside a dock to plug in, or have an auxiliary generator to charge the batteries.
The trick to having really efficient solar panels, is to mount them so they can be rotated to catch the most amount of solar energy, perpendicular to the sun. We made our own solar panel rotating system out of stainless steel, pipe on pipe, which allows whomever is on deck to turn the solar panels as perpendicular to the sun as possible all day long. A tweak here, a tweak a little later there, and our solar panels are easily adjusted to face the sun all day long with no shadows falling on them. Yet, with the pipe on pipe, there is just enough friction to keep them from moving on their own, even when there is a strong wind blowing or when sailing.
We can go for months at a time with our amps being replenished into our batteries using only those great solar panels, frozen food, movies at night, reading after dark, listening to good music on our stereo, and talking on the SSB radio.
Our life changed for the much better! Solar panels are the way to put money back into your battery bank!