Solar plays a valuable role in decarbonizing the grid, but I remain a skeptic with respect to its long-term viability. In my opinion, solar should be focused in areas where no other alternative exists. For example: rooftop, carports, canopies, and maybe boats?
Maine-based Belmont Boatworks just achieved a first: its Solar Sal 24 was designated by the U.S. Coast Guard as the first 100% solar powered passenger vessel.
The Solar Sal 24 comes with a 1.44 megawatt “rooftop” solar array and up to four lithium-ion batteries capable of storing 14 kWh of capacity. The solar array provides enough power to cruise at 6 mph. The batteries allow the boat to eke out one additional mph, so the Solar Sal won’t be winning a boat race any time soon.
At cruising speed, the boat can travel 45 miles at night. At full speed, the nighttime range is cut by almost half.
Standard equipment includes two nifty captain’s chairs, seat cushions, multiple USB chargers, and running, anchor and overhead lights. For a mere $135,000 you even get a table and 8 cup holders!
As I said, this won’t do much to further the cause of climate change, but I do admire their inventiveness.