sun powered boats

3 Ways Solar Panels Are Improving Energy On Board

Solar-powered boats utilize the power of the sun that has been converted into usable electrical energy. Photovoltaic cells are used on solar panels that have been mounted on top of the boats to harness the sun’s energy and transforming it into electric power to drive the boats.

This ingenious way of using solar energy to drive the boat is not only sustainable but also indefinitely renewable. Besides, solar boats are quieter and do not emit any pollution because no fossil fuels are used, which are associated with carbon emissions. Solar-powered utilities are more reliable and durable due to lack of vibrations and noise.

Solar Powered Boats Development Review

The use of solar energy as a form of renewable energy to provide electric propulsion to solar boats has been feasible in recent years. In May 2007 a solar-powered boat called Sun21 set a world record by crossing the Atlantic having covered a distance of about 7000 sea miles with solar power only.

This has gone a long way to promote the great viability of solar power technology as well as combating the issues of climate change with the use of fossil fuels that are prone to carbon emissions.

The Sun21 Technical Specifications

sun21agThis traditional boat is a catamaran type boat with a length of about 14m and 6.6m in width. For a long journey such as crossing the Atlantic, Sun21 sleeps 5 to 6 individuals but has room for several passengers for short visits and excursions.

Between the hulls is a large deck roofed with 48 silicon photovoltaic modules whose primary function is to trap the solar energy and to convert it to electrical power.

The electric energy produced in the photovoltaic cells is transmitted to a device in one of the small cabins where it charges some storage batteries below the deck.

The boat is powered by two electric motors each having a power rating of 8kw and is capable of attaining a constant speed of 10-12km/h. One hull accommodates the kitchen whereas the other hull holds the sanitary installations.

Solar Powered Boats Are Spectacular In Design

The Solar Sailor, one of the Hybrid marine vessel operating in Australia’s Sydney Harbour, has the most advanced design; the Catamaran Solar Sailor can run on multiple sources of energy sources including solar, the wind, stored energy from batteries as well as fossil fuel.

The aim of using the alternative power sources or a combo of any two of the renewable power sources is to reduce the amount of fuel consumed and hence reducing the overall running costs of the vessel.

The wing-like solar panels mounted on top of the boat simultaneously trap both the solar energy as well as moving wind. They are designed in such a way that they can be oriented by the use of a computer to track both the wind and the sun for optimum efficiency.

The most spectacular feature of these Hybrid solar-powered boats is its wing flexibility. Apart from enabling the use of any source of power energy available depending on the weather conditions or its combination they have the ability to fold back against the boat.

This original feature is applied in extreme weather conditions to maintain the boat’s stability and enhancing safety. The large batteries onboard the vessel provide the reserve energy power to operate the motor drives of the vessel when the other sources are minimal or not available.

The use of solar-powered boats is beneficial to both the environment as well as to the passengers cruising on them. Since solar power is a form of green energy that is sustainable and available, it is not harmful to the environment no carbon emissions are emitted during the vessel’s operation. The passengers, on the other hand, get to enjoy a quieter cruise free from any vibrations and fumes.

Solar Powered Boats Improve Tourist Experience

For environment conscious people, this technology is suitable for private use as well. They offer a better experience for tours and excursions, fishing or swimming since they do not emit any exhausts, free from vibrations and cause no water pollution.

Besides, it offers travelers the opportunity to travel into protected water bodies that are prohibited for loud and foul-smelling diesel boats. Since these machines operate quietly, they can also be the best way of approaching sea animals and for bird watching especially for tourists.

One great solar-powered boat that offers the pure enjoyment of nature is the Catamaran slot 10’, it has a beautifully designed main solar module made from glass fiber reinforced plastic over its hull. It is a DC powered solar boat that does not require any license to operate; it is unsinkable and easy to use.

Benefits Of Solar Power For Boats

Modern electronics have revolutionized the use of solar panels to marine travel. The constant need for people to go from one point to another without necessarily stopping to recharge or fuel has boosted this innovative way of recharging batteries on a boat.

This convenience of self-sufficiency while on a cruise is worth the effort and the extra cost as it will be inexpensive after the initial start-up costs.

Here are some of the reasons why solar power is considered beneficial for boats:


It is amazing how the environment is polluted daily by toxic and harmful gasses emanating from the use of fossil fuels. To help stop this adverse impact on the environment, the use of solar panels for the generation of sustainable green energy is imminent.

No Moving Parts

Since the solar panels are rigid components that are mounted on the roof of the boat, they, therefore, require minimum maintenance.

These panels can also be built to any size depending on the power requirements due to its flexibility. It is possible because the solar panels are capable of scalable power depending on the available units used.

Solar Energy Is Unlimited

The solar power will always be available to recharge the batteries continuously even when the boat is docked because there is no shortage of solar energy. A device will automatically disconnect the reserve batteries from the solar panels once they are fully charged.