Solar power boats are a new innovation that is revolution for the boating industry. Most boats, even sailboats, are at the mercy of their fuel capacity. And given the loud noise, constant rumbling, and noxious fumes, running a boat’s engine can seriously detract from the enjoyment and solitude of being out on the sea. And engines wear out over time as well.
A better way
For Michael Köhler, there is a better way. It all starts with something people are becoming increasingly aware of – solar power. So Köhler decided to outfit a 46-foot custom yacht with enough solar panels to produce about 50-kW of power per day, to find out just how far solar power could take him.
What he learned should have boaters of all types doing some serious rethinking: It is possible to cruise for thousands of miles on a well-equipped vessel using solar power exclusively.
For Köhler, this was the beginning of a new company. He is now in the process of producing two 64-foot Silent-Solarwave boats. In total, he has six boats in his line-up. Also, all bluewater catamarans are equipped for serious cruising with home-style appliances powered by solar. As these are semicustom builds, each is slightly different, depending on the owner’s desires.
Yet Köhler is not alone. The Alstersonne is a passenger ferry for 100 persons which has been in operation on the river Alster in Hamburg, Germany since 2000. The de:MobiCat is a 150 person catamaran that has been used on Lake Biel in Switzerland since 2001. The SB Collinda was the first solar powered vessel to cross the English Channel in 1997. Also, India has its first solar ferry, a 75-passenger boat operating on Vaikom, Kerala, India, which is also the largest in India.
Solar power boats are now so popular that they are available on the consumer market. FunCat Electric-Solar Catamarans in Diamond Springs, California now produces solar powered boats for individual sale or rental.
The future, for solar powered boats, it seems is wide open. From boats that can circumnavigate the world, to those that can offer their owners the luxury of solar powered appliances. Surely, it seems with solar anything is possible.
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