What Are Solar Powered Boats?

Solar energy has seen a significant rise in popularity and a subsequent decrease in price in recent years, making them more accessible for a wider variety of uses. These days they do more than heat water and provide off the grid power. One of the most interesting applications of solar power is solar powered boats.

Boats that run on solar power are both more ecologically friendly and quieter to run than those with conventional motors. By utilizing solar technology these boats operate without producing any pollution, keeping the water safe and clean for marine life. With today’s technology, there is no reason that vehicles designed for transporting small or large amounts of passengers must operate at the expense of marine life.

In addition to an entire array of solar panels they often come equipped with a battery bank beneath the deck that helps to ensure the boat can continue to function as needed without disruption even at night or during times of inclement weather. Smaller passenger boats sometimes must be plugged into an external source of power in order to recharge their batteries for night time travel, but can typically operate all day long even on an overcast day.

Larger ferries with more deck space are better equipped to run exclusively on solar power, as the arrays can be larger than on smaller marine vehicles. One interesting feature included on some solar boats is sun sails. These can make use of both solar and wind energy to drive the vehicle forward. These sails are fitted with solar panel cells on their surfaces, but also function similarly to more conventional sails. These are controlled by a computer that is programmed to automatically position them for maximum efficiency.

Boats equipped with solar sails are often hybrids, built with the ability to utilize solar, wind, and conventional fossil fuel power. This ensures that they will be able to run under any possible weather conditions while simultaneously providing significant reductions in operating costs. The renewable energy sources can both be tapped at once in order to provide power, with fossil fuels acting as an emergency reserve.