I know this is a 4WD site, but there’s a tie that binds overlanding and boating – solar power.
I’ve talked a lot about solar power in my articles on this site, including highlighting the panels I have on my rooftop tent. Those panels – which are 180-watt Expedition Panels from Sunflare – are so reliable and utilitarian that they can be used in other settings, like on a tugboat exploring the Arctic and on rescue vehicles in the Pacific Northwest.
This article highlights yet another use for rugged solar panels like these – providing electricity for a solar-powered boat.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- A Solar-Powered Boat? Really?!
- Reliable Solar Power: How Sunflare’s Solar Panels Work on the Boat
- Reliable Solar Power: Two Companies, One Mission
- How You Can Use Reliable Solar Power
A Solar-Powered Boat? Really?!
Not that long ago, we would have looked in wonderment at an RV or camper that’s powered by solar, so it isn’t that far-fetched that solar can be used in boating, too.
The world’s first flexible solar-powered boat was built by a guy named Billy Litter of Dolphin Eco tours. Called Squid, the boat was built entirely from the hulls up by Billy and designed with the assistance of boat designer and builder David Walworth.
The goal was to create the ultimate dolphin-watching boat. The result is a multi-hull electric boat that features flexible, rugged, lightweight solar panels from Sunflare XPLOR.
Reliable Solar Power: How Sunflare’s Solar Panels Work on the Boat
The solar power setup on Squid is fairly straightforward…
The Sunflare XPLOR solar panels are mounted on top of the boat (shown above) for maximum power generation. That power is routed to two BMW i3 lithium batteries inside the boat. These batteries are heavy – roughly 1,200 pounds – so the solar panel system needed to be ultralight to save weight. That’s where Sunflare comes in.
The solar panel array is comprised of 12 custom-sized modules. The array produces about 2,000 watts of power, yet the whole thing weighs just 120 pounds or about one-fourth of what traditional solar panels of the same size weigh. Not bad, right?!
As you can see in the video above, this solar power system generates enough electricity to make propulsion possible. And while solar power can’t make Squid go full steam ahead, it’s not like all the power that’s generated is used by the engine. There’s plenty of juice for onboard systems like radios, lights, and so forth, and the boat can cruise along in an environmentally-friendly manner and keep up with dolphins. It’s a win-win!
Reliable Solar Power: Two Companies, One Mission
Honest Eco had a no-brainer decision when it decided to partner with Sunflare for its solar power needs. After all, both companies are dedicated to reducing carbon footprints and making a difference in the world.
You can get a feel for Billy’s commitment to the environment by watching the video embedded earlier in this article. Though he’s in the business of making money, he wants to do so in a way that protects the environment in which he works, including the dolphins that Squid takes guests to go see.
Sunflare desires to do the same thing – build a profitable business that also helps the environment. For example, Sunflare’s footprint is about 80 percent less than traditional solar, so the company can create reliable products for its customers in a clean manner.
How You Can Use Reliable Solar Power
When I was growing up, solar panels were huge, heavy, and cumbersome. They were things attached to roofs – not something that you could take with you on camping trips.
But that’s not the case anymore, thanks to companies like Sunflare.
As I mentioned, I have 180-watt Sunflare Expedition panels on my rooftop tent. They generate all the power I need (and then some!) for my overlanding and camping adventures (though there are two smaller versions, as shown below).
Just like Billy and Squid, I needed something lightweight, flexible, and rugged, and these Sunflare XPLOR panels fit the bill to a tee.
I don’t have a massive need for power when I’m overlanding – just LED lighting, a water pump, and enough juice to charge my devices. But even if you do need a ton of power, the flexible, easy-to-install panels from Sunflare are ideal for your RV or camper setup.
By adding solar panels and a reliable power system to your rig, you can truly cut the cord, go camping off-grid, and do so knowing that you don’t have to rely on loud and messy generators to run your rig. There’s nothing better than being out in nature and enjoying the world’s beauty, and doing so while your solar power system generates the electricity you need in total silence.
Whether you have a rooftop tent like me (shown above), a full-fledged motorhome, a camper, or something in between, the XPLOR series of solar panels from Sunflare will enable you to get out there more often with reliable, silent, green power. What’s not to like about that?!
Where to Buy Sunflare XPLOR Solar Panels: