yachts with solar panels

Silent Yachts

Creators of the world’s first series produced, solar-powered electric yachts.

Unlimited Range

Noiseless cruising, zero emission, minimal maintenance, pioneering solar powered yachting since 2009.

Silent yacht with solar panels on the roof in crystal clear water

The Original Solar Yacht

As the original inventors of series produced solar-electric yachts, we pioneered this innovative approach. Our first model, the Silent 64, was launched to the market in 2016, several years before any other shipyard considered the possibility of going electric.

Silent yacht with solar panels on the roof sailing at high speed

Leading Technology

Our founders began to research alternative energy sources to power yachts during the mid 1990s. Today, the technology of our in-house developed solar-electric drivetrain has been perfected and is multiple generations ahead in terms of reliability, performance and efficiency.

historic yacht with solar panels on the roof

Historical Track-Record

In 2009, the Solarwave 46 was launched as our first prototype of a fully solar-electric, self-sufficient ocean-going catamaran. Since then, our electric yachts have cruised many 10.000s of nautical miles, performing flawlessly during a variety of weather conditions.

self-sufficient yacht with solar panels on the roof

Enabling Self-Sufficiency

What differentiates a Silent is the unprecedented level of autonomy provided by our yachts. Being able to produce your own energy enables a fully self-sufficient lifestyle on board. Travel the oceans sustainably while making them your infinite playground.

Solar-paneled yacht navigating the seas using solar energy

The award-winning entry to solar-electric yachts.

80 feet yacht with solar panels on the roof

Timeless design meets state-of-the-art technology.

120 feet luxury yacht with solar panels on the roof

120 Explorer

The boldest expression of solar powered yachting yet.

What Makes Us Unique

yacht with solar panels on the roof anchored in a bay of tuquoise water

The tranquility on board of our yachts is unique. A lack of noise, fumes and vibrations create a deep connection with the sea. Luxury and sustainability finally merged into a holistic experience, working hand in hand with nature by minimizing the impact on the marine environment without compromising comfort.

graphic of the connections between solar panels, batteries and motors of an electric yacht

For optimal performance and efficiency, our solar-electric drivetrain integrates seamlessly with all onboard systems. Compared to fossil fuelled powertrains of motoryachts, electric powertrains have very few moving parts, resulting in minimal maintenance, maximum reliability and significantly lower running costs.

Electric yacht sailing across the open waters with solar energy

The ability to recharge your own batteries with the sun marks a new era of freedom. Depending on cruising speeds and weather conditions, a Silent has virtually unlimited range, enabling you to live a fully self-sufficient lifestyle on board. Unbound by the limitations of fossil fuels, you are free to explore the horizons.


The technology powering our yachts today has been pioneered by our founders almost three decades ago. Continuous upgrading and steady optimization of the entire system are some of the key reasons our in-house developed solar-electric drivetrain offers a comprehensive portfolio of assurances and warranties.

Why Silent Yachts

A sensible approach to yachting which works in self-sufficient harmony with nature and creates a completely new experience on board.

Silent Yachts

Silent-Yachts emerges stronger under new ownership

yachts with solar panels

New Silent Drivetrain

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Tech shorts 2023

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Electric power event on the water

yachts with solar panels

Shipyard tour Italy by Michael & Heike

yachts with solar panels

What is the range of a solar electric yacht?

“The Tesla of the seas! An amazing founding couple, a highly innovative product as well as a really cool story behind it. Furthermore, a lot of love and attention has been invested into every single detail – truly impressive!” Frank Thelen / TV Personality, Founder, Angel Investor & Disruption Expert
While the present has brought us the dawn of smart cars, I strongly believe the future will bring us solar powered smart boats – and I definitely want to be at the frontline of that journey. Michael Jost / Former Head of Group Strategy of Volkswagen Group
The idea of sailing while charging your own battery is super powerful to me – solar powered sailing is the perfect love story! Jochen Rudat / Former Tesla Central Europa Director, Advisory Board Silent Group
Elon Musk single handedly forced an entire industry to go electric, as a matter of fact if they don’t all go electric now they will soon die. I would like to see the same thing happening for boating. You are not just selling boats – you are the actual leading edge of a crucial and much overdue revolution to sustainable transport!” Klaus Obermeyer / Emmy Award Winner
I am completely excited about solar catamarans. I knew before they are great but now I truly believe this is the future. After so many boats I’ve seen in over 18 years with Boote Exclusiv, this yacht truly blew my mind. Such a silent and peaceful cruising experience – just the way it should be. Martin Hager / Editor in Chief for Boote Exclusiv - Yachts

multihull award winner 2022

Sunreef Yachts

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yachts with solar panels

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Surreal is a recently launched Sunreef 60 sail catamaran combining the shipyard’s expertise in luxury catamaran design with the latest Sunreef Yachts Eco  green tech solutions. 

The new  Sunreef 60 Eco Surreal, is the first 60 foot catamaran that was equipped with in-house developed composite-integrated solar panels built into the yacht’s hull sides, superstructure and bimini roof, maximizing solar power generation and offering unrivalled energy efficiency for long, vibration and fume-free navigation as well as for the appliances on board.

With a thickness below 1mm, the ultralight solar skin is the industry’s lightest and most efficient solar power solution.

Thanks to their advanced integration technique,  Sunreef Yachts Eco  solar panels have a very high resistance to shock and abrasion. The catamaran was also fitted with a powerful custom-engineered battery bank.

The luxury sail yacht welcomes up to eight guests thanks to a smart and spacious 4-cabin layout. With a fully-equipped galley placed down in the starboard hull, the catamaran’s saloon offers generous lounging and dining areas. The custom designed interior and furniture are both contemporary and timeless.

The catamaran’s alfresco relaxation spaces include a large flybridge with a wet bar, a sunken lounging area on the foredeck and a full-beam aft cockpit with a big swim platform.

The flybridge on board Surreal welcomes guests to an immense lounge with a bar and a large c-shaped settee.   



Next post sunreef yachts continues expansion with a new shipyard in uae.

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yachts with solar panels

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Sunreef Yachts Shipyard

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80-718 Gdańsk, Poland

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How Zero-Emission, Solar-Powered Yachts Entered Boating’s Mainstream

Yacht builders are designing zero-emissions yachts to compete with diesel-chugging rivals. they're so quiet you can hear dolphins swim by., shaun tolson, shaun tolson's most recent stories.

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Solar-powered motoryachts are taking over the water with eco-conscious results.

For many years, yacht builders adding solar panels to their boats discovered those panels would typically power a few things like the electricity and galley, and if they helped with propulsion, it would only carry a boat so far. In the last few years, new companies and boat-builders have emerged that are proving solar can be the main source of power—a big deal considering that most yachts are solitary creatures that are entirely reliant on a specific form of propulsion. No boaters wants to be 50 miles away from civilization in a turbulent ocean and suddenly see their engines go out. It’s not like they can call AAA.

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The problem was that most yacht builders were sticking panels into yachts that were never designed to be self-sustaining. Boyd Taylor realized that several years ago as he was conceptualizing solar-powered catamarans for his company Serenity Yachts . Near the end of 2019, Taylor oversaw the launch of the Serenity 74, with almost 1,200-square-feet of solar panels. Those panels support all of the yacht’s onboard functions, while it cruises at 9 to 11 mph indefinitely.

The yacht functions so capably—using only solar power—because Boyd and his team of engineers started from the water up. They created an electrical system designed to only use solar energy. “We started with the solar system and built the rest of the boat around it,” Boyd told Robb Report. 

Solar-powered motoryachts are taking over the water with eco-conscious results.

Soel Yachts is one of the latest builders to introduce a solar-powered catamaran for emissions-free cruising.  Courtesy Soel Yachts

Once the electrical system was in place, Serenity Yachts ’ team of naval architects and engineers designed a lightweight boat made of carbon-fiber weave, not pure fiberglass. Taylor says a fiberglass boat that size would weigh 8 tons more. Despite that emphasis on lightweight design, a Serenity Yacht still features interior accents and design materials that mean luxury. Granite countertops, for example, are built around a honeycomb structure, so only a thin layer of granite is needed.

Other boatbuilders have gained traction in the marketplace, as well. Soel Yachts , a Dutch company founded in 2011, recently launched its Soel Senses 48, a 48-foot pleasure craft that can sail at a top speed of 21 mph and cruise up to 56 nautical miles at 14 mph. Like Serenity, the Soel Senses 48 was designed for “high-efficiency electric propulsion,” as the company states—in other words, it was designed from the very beginning with solar power in mind.

Silent Yachts is one of the leaders in the solar-powered yachts industry, having just launched an 80-foot tri-deck catamaran that is powered by more than 1,200 square feet of solar panels.

Solar-powered motoryachts are taking over the water with eco-conscious results.

Serenity’s 74-footer makes use of the catamaran’s wide beam, while adding windows across the entire upper salon.  Courtesy Serenity Yachts

In September, BYD Group , a full-service naval architecture and engineering firm in Spain, unveiled a new all-electric, self-sufficient 65-foot coastal cruiser dubbed Eegle. Positioned as a “game changer in the world of eco-friendly motoryachts,” the Eegle is equipped with 323-square feet of solar panels on its hardtop. Those panels, combined with four, 150-kilowatt electric engines, allows the yacht to cruise 1,080 nautical miles at 8 mph.

“Today, solar panels are much more advanced and can be adapted to more surface shapes than in the past, giving us more freedom to install solar panels in more areas,” says Tià Simó, a co-founder of BYD Group.

Beyond offering clean, eco-friendly sustainability, the benefits that an exclusively solar-powered yacht can offer, according to Taylor, are what your senses don’t pick up while on board.

Solar-powered motoryachts are taking over the water with eco-conscious results.

BYD’s master suite shows the design advances that have been made in the last year in solar yachting.  Courtesy BYD Yachts

“You’re running a silent boat,” he says. “You don’t have the smell of diesel fumes or the vibrations and rumblings of a diesel engine. You get to smell the salty air and hear the waves slap against the hull of the boat. You can actually hear dolphins splashing in the water. You not only get to enjoy this incredible scenery and enjoy nature in all of its majesty, you get to know that you’re leaving it the way it was when you came.”

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Best Solar panels for off-grid power and keeping batteries charged

  • Phil Sampson
  • November 28, 2022

We take a look at 6 of the best solar panels for boats, from folding units to cutting-edge flexible panels


Free power forever? If only it was that simple! Photo: Graham Snook

For many in the boating community, solar panels represent something of a holy grail. They are, after all, the gift that keeps on giving, aren’t they? Free power forever, (or many years anyway), coupled with zero running costs – what could possibly be better than that?

All you have to do to make this dream come true is banish the memory of the purchase price from your mind – something boaters are notoriously adept at doing – and wait for the sun to shine. If only it were that simple…

The fact of the matter is that there are costs associated with solar panels beyond the price of the panels themselves. While some types of panels can be simply laid on the deck, in many cases some form of mount will be required.

Then there’s the wiring to hook them up to your battery, plus any fitment and/or cosmetic work needed to hide the cabling from view. If your panels are to be left connected permanently, you’ll require a regulator too.

This will prevent both overcharging and a reverse flow of power out of the battery after dark. If you do not fit a regulator, a blocking diode can be used to halt the reverse flow instead.

But once all of the above have been overcome – and providing you’ve done your homework to ensure your panels will generate sufficient power to cover your needs – then, yes, it’s a power free for all!

There are many other benefits to boat solar panels too: First and foremost, they work all on their own – solar panels are automatic, so you can just let them get on with the job.

Apart from the occasional wipe over and a wiring check, they’re largely maintenance-free too. Unlike wind generators, (especially like the one with wonky bearings on that boat moored next to you), they don’t make any noise.

And finally, your batteries will be pleased, because keeping them from going flat can extend their life.

Here’s our choice of the best boat solar panels.

6 of the best boat solar panels available right now


Giosolar 1,000W flexible solar panel

Best flexible boat solar panel

Delivering a mighty kilowatt of power, (not far off the amount used by a one bedroom house), this Giostar package comprises ten separate 100W panels, each of which is 1,050 x 540 x 2.5mm in size.

Capable of charging either 12 or 24V batteries, a kit of this magnitude is one for the most serious of solar enthusiasts – Eco Experts reckons 660-990W is sufficient for a liveaboard.

Giostar panels are abrasion resistant, anti-rust and dust proof and their junction boxes are sealed and waterproof. The panels are also light, thin and flexible, and can withstand being bent up to 30 degrees.

Reasons to buy: Incredible amount of power, panels are abrasion resistant as well as anti rust + dust proof

Reasons to avoid: Premium price

Price: £1,464.45

Buy it now on Amazon (UK)

Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence.

Ecoflow 160w portable solar panel.


Mobisolar 100W foldable solar panel

Best foldable boat solar panel

Mobisolar’s foldable panels are light (4.5kg) and measure 121 x 56.5 x 3 cm when unfolded, with the longest dimension reducing to 60 cm when folded, making them easy to transport.

The panels use advanced technology to provide superior performance, with each panel subjected to a thorough testing routine before and after assembly.

So confident is Mobisolar in its products that the company stands behind its panels with a two-year defect warranty and a five years’ electrical performance warranty.

For maximum flexibility in operation, three USB power outputs are fitted per panel, one delivering 100W, the second 60W and the third 10W.

Reasons to buy: Foldable, lightweight and long warranty

Reasons to avoid: Not resistant to the elements, doesn’t feature mounting holes

Price: £145.00

Buy it now on eBay


Eco-worthy 100W solar panel kit

With 100W panels being ideal for keeping batteries topped up, our second offering in this power class is from Eco-worthy, a major player in the solar panel field.

Competitively priced, our link below is for a kit which includes an LCD control unit and four ‘Z’ brackets in addition to the panel itself.

The Eco-worthy 100W panel is of the monocrystalline type, which means their cells are made from an ingot grown from a single silicon crystal of high purity. It’s also a rigid panel, so this particular product would need to be mounted on a frame or flat surface.

Reasons to buy: Competitively priced, Features LCD panel, brackets

Reasons to avoid: Only a year warranty, not resistant to elements

Price: £113.99


PV Logic 20W Flexi solar panel

Offered by Force 4 Chandlery, this lightweight semi-flexible solar panel comes complete with a dual battery solar charge controller.

The panel is completely waterproof thanks to its six-layer, heavy-duty laminate finish, and should a wayward crew member plod over it in their size 9s the panel’s dimpled top surface is ‘self healing’.

The controller can handle both 12 and 24V systems and the panel’s PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) charging system is efficient and battery-lifetime friendly.

Supplied with LED battery-status indicators and 4 metres of cable, PV Logic Flexi panels can be bonded to flat or curved surfaces.

Reasons to buy: Lightweight, waterproof, dual controller

Reasons to avoid: Lacks mounting options

Price: £149.95

Buy it now on Force 4 Chandlery


Powoxi 10W solar panel

At the budget end of the market comes this Powoxi 10W solar panel charger kit. While you won’t go far on just 10W of power, this kit claims to be capable of charging and maintaining various 12V batteries.

The kit features a fully automatic charging and maintenance controller, which provides intelligent three-level charging and protection against short- and open-circuits, under voltage and overloading.

A reverse flow system is included and the interface is described as ‘plug and play’. While the panel is rainproof, it will not withstand immersion in water, so this is a product to perhaps leave behind on the dock when you take to the water.

Reasons to buy: Great budget option, plug and play

Reasons to avoid: Not waterproof, won’t go far on 10V

Price: £27.59


Eco-worthy 10W/5W solar panel

The least pricey option we could find anywhere, this baby 5W solar panel is simply a trickle charger. But if that’s all you need then look no further, for this is another Eco-worthy product.

The technology in the panel is polycrystalline, so it’s not the most efficient on the market, but for this power that’s hardly a great concern.

The panel is supplied with two charging options; a pair of crocodile clips which attach directly to the battery, and a cigarette lighter plug.

According to the product’s eBay listing, this seller alone has sold approaching 3,000 of these units – and at this price, we can understand why!

Reasons to buy: Incredible price, can be charged via car lighter plug

Reasons to avoid: Small, not very efficient

Price: £9.99

Sustainability Success

Sustainability Success

Solar Boats - Electric Yachts Catamarans

10 SOLAR Boats 2023 & 2024 | Electric Yachts & Catamarans

With more steps being taken towards sustainable development, new, eco-friendly solar boats have been introduced in the world of green travel: solar electric catamarans. 

Solar boats are electric yachts that can go for long distances without needing to stop for fuel and without emissions. Those solar catamarans are interesting eco-friendly alternatives to the classic power boat or sailing yacht for cruising. However, there are also a few disadvantages that you should know about before purchasing one!

10 Solar boats, electric yachts & catamarans

Here are the best solar boats that will delight you with a top-notch sustainable yachting experience based on your requirements:

Sunreef Yachts – Eco 80 Sail Catamaran

  • Silent Yachts – Silent 80 3-Deck

HH Catamarans – HH44

Silent yachts – silent 60, sunreef 43m eco (140 ft).

  • Silent 120 Explorer
  • 100 Sunreef Power Eco

Azura Marine – Aquanima 40

Soel yachts – soel senses 48, serenity yachts – serenity 64 (hybrid).

Here’s a quick summary of the features of the best solar catamarans for green yachting in 2023-2024:

If you are an advocate of sustainable yachting or sustainable tourism and are looking to buy an eco-friendly boat that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels , then you would do well to consider getting a solar catamaran. In this article, I will go through the pros and cons of 10 of the best solar yachts and superyachts that you can buy in 2023 and 2024!

It is also important to note that while there are solar panels for sailboats that you can fit on older models, those new boats have been specifically designed to maximize the use of renewable energy.

Most Luxurious + Most innovative solar system

The Eco 80 Sail Catamaran is one of the electric solar boats provided by Sunreef Yachts.

It features a unique “solar skin” that covers all composite structures on the boat, including hull sides, boom, mast, bimini, and superstructure. This green tech makes it possible to place solar panels where it wouldn’t normally be possible (like the hull and any other smaller but useful surface) and provide enough solar energy from every angle.

The boat is 80-feet long (24.38 meters) and includes electric motors that push it smoothly over the water without causing any vibrations or noise.

Besides being solar powered boat, the Eco 80 Sail Catamaran can also be powered by wind and hydropower. It is designed with a sail on its structure, allowing it to tap into wind power and supplement the solar.

The solar powered sailboat generates enough green power not only to propel the boat and keep it moving but also to charge the essential electric water appliances and other water-sport toys.

So far, the Sunreef Yachts Eco solar sailboats have earned a good reputation for being eco-friendly and sustainable. Besides, this solar powered catamaran takes its commitment to the environment a notch higher by using recycled materials , natural fibers, and non-toxic paints to create their boats.

It is no wonder that Sunreef Yachts have been winning environmental awards for so many years. This solar sailboat is one of the most remarkable boats you can ever invest in and it clearly shows the latest advancements in technology .

Prices: about $8 million USD

Where to buy : Sunreef Yachts .

  • Larger surface covered with solar panels, that are installed also along the hull, and in other unusual areas.
  • The batteries are 30% lighter than normal
  • Unlimited cruising range.
  • It runs silently and does not cause pollution.
  • It has also traditional sails, so it can cruise also when it is not sunny without relying on batteries.
  • Luxury, superb quality and finishing
  • Great helm position.
  • The solar catamaran is very costly (going for $8 million USD or more).
  • The solar panels installed on the sides of the catamaran may not be appealing to the eye of all people.

Silent Yachts – Silent 80 Tri-Deck Solar Catamaran

Best pure electric

The Silent 80 Tri-Deck Solar yacht is popular for the large amount of space it offers.

This solar catamaran by Silent Yachts features three large decks that can be easily customized to fit the owner’s preferences and needs. The topmost deck can either be open or enclosed.

This solar powered yacht offers 4 to 6 cabins that are customizable, regardless of whether the deck remains open or enclosed. Besides, the top deck provides additional living space and can be used as a luxury master suite that opens onto a private space outdoors.

Where to buy : Silent Yachts .

  • Purely electric propulsion that can be helped by the kite sail.
  • The finishing, while being of high standards, doesn’t seem to be at the level of other options in its category.
  • Quite costly, with prices starting at about $6 million USD.
  • If going for a long cruise during cloudy days you may need to run the generator to keep going.
  • The kite sail helps to give some propulsion using wind, but it is less effective than traditional sails.
  • The absence of a traditional sail may make the boat a bit less stable, compromising a bit of the comfort while cruising.

Best for world cruising

HH Catamarans is a small boutique boat builder designing some of the most impressive solar boats for cruising, with one of their latest creations being the HH44.

The HH44 is a groundbreaking new boat that is designed to be eco-friendly and efficient.

The boat has a large battery bank that can be charged by solar panels, and also has two electric motors that can be used for electric propulsion up to 7 knots for up to 2h.

The HH44 has an innovative propulsion system named Eco-Drive. This is a parallel hybrid system that combines diesel and electric propulsion for long-range motoring and silent electric propulsion.

The boat also has two diesel engines, which can be used for long-range motoring or to generate electricity. The boat is also designed to be safe, with four propulsion devices plus sails and a large solar array.

The HH44 has a number of technical features that make it a groundbreaking eco-friendly design, including:

  • 3 types of propulsion: full electric, standard diesel, and sail.
  • 4.2 kWh of solar panels: generating power for recharging the lithium battery bank for solar .
  • 10 kW electric motors (5kW each): mounted on the back end of each diesel engine for electric propulsion.
  • The diesel engines can be used both for propulsion and as electric generators.
  • Possibility to use the propellers to recharge the battery while the boat is sailing. Kind of like using hydropower to charge your solar batteries , pretty cool!

The HH44 is also a performance catamaran thanks to its C-shaped §daggerboards. Daggerboards are an essential component of many sailing vessels, providing both vertical lift and increased upwind sailing performance.

This solar powered yacht features up to 4 double cabins and 2 heads . Not bad for this world-cruising vessel!

If instead, you are looking for a larger boat, HH Catamarans also have other models up to 88ft.

This solar catamaran was also the preferred choice of Gone with the Wynns , a popular cruising YouTube channel. Here’s their announcement video:

Where to buy : HH Catamarans .

  • A true performance world cruiser.
  • Very resilient with 3 different propulsion modes (electric, sail, and conventional engines) and ideal for offshore cruising.
  • It can run silently and without causing pollution.
  • More affordable than other solar catamarans, starting from $1 mm USD
  • Smaller than other options.
  • The improved sailing performance requires narrower hulls, which reduces the available space onboard compared to other traditional vessels of similar size

Best mid-range

The Silent 60 is one of the smaller electric boats made by Silent Yachts. It is designed to be handled by at least two people. The users can either choose to include an additional crew or not.

Despite its outward small appearance, Silent 60 is very spacious and can accommodate a good number of people.

Besides, the electric yacht has a beautiful design that adds to its elegant and luxurious feel. It is usually designed with up to 6 cabins , with each cabin offering every basic amenity you need to have a luxurious stay on the yacht. In fact, the electric solar boat is equipped with everything you need to allow you to live on board permanently!

Solar catamaran - Sunreef 43M Eco

As someone who loves spending time on the water, I was really excited to learn about the Sunreef 43M Eco: a superyacht that is both eco-friendly and luxurious.

I was especially impressed by the solar power system, which is built into the composite structures of the yacht, and the large hydraulic platform which creates a vast walkaround beach club.

The interior of the solar superyacht is just as impressive as the exterior, with a variety of sustainably-sourced materials and fabrics used throughout as well as energy-saving air-conditioning. The Sunreef 43M Eco can welcome up to 12 guests in the most luxurious conditions.

Silent Yachts – Silent 120 Explorer

Solar yacht - Silent 120 Explorer

Here’s another incredible solar super-yacht by Silent Yachts. The Silent 120 Explorer is a truly unique yacht, designed to explore the world in style and comfort.

Powered by solar energy, this solar catamaran is perfect for those who want to enjoy the beauty of the open seas without worrying about the impact on the environment.

With plenty of space for guests and all the amenities you need onboard, the Silent 120 Explorer is the perfect choice for your next adventure. If you’re looking for a yacht that combines luxury and environmental responsibility, the Silent 120 Explorer is a perfect choice.

The company didn’t yet release detailed information, however, this superyacht seems to be even featuring a helipad under the roof’s solar panels!

The Silent 120 Explorer has plenty of room for guests and all the amenities you need onboard. So if you’re ready to embark on your next great adventure, be sure to consider the Silent 120 Explorer, which will likely start being delivered in 2023.

The 100 Sunreef Power Eco

Sunreef recently launched and sold their first 100 Sunreef Power Eco catamaran, a transatlantic luxury craft that takes solar boat design to the next level.

With massive living space, great autonomy, and impressive features like a flybridge that can be transformed into an outdoor cinema, the 100 Sunreef Power Eco is the perfect vessel for cruising in supreme luxury

This catamaran uses the latest innovations in solar power to achieve outstanding energy efficiency, and its ultralight battery bank provides for silent cruising and infinite range.

The fully customizable interior and exterior make this catamaran a truly one-of-a-kind option, and its use of ethically-sourced and eco-responsible materials is sure to please even the most discerning buyer.

If you’re looking for an electric yacht that is both luxurious and eco-friendly, the 100 Sunreef Power Eco is certainly a great option for you if you can afford it!

The most affordable $

The Aquanima 40 catamaran is entirely powered by solar energy. It features creative adaptations and unique innovations that make it eco-friendlier and more economical boat than other solar-powered catamarans. For example, the solar panels installed on the electric catamaran are built in such a way that they can sell any excess solar energy back to shore stations when connected.

The exterior of the Aquanima 40 has an elegant design. Also, the interior is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also very clean and modern.

The boat is designed with 2 single cabins for the crew and 2 double cabins for guests.

Indeed, this solar boat by Azura Marine is one of the most economical and cost-effective options you can go for when buying a solar catamaran.

  • Relatively fast.
  • Ideal for short vacations.
  • The most affordable solar catamaran, starting at about $0.6 million USD.
  • Much smaller than other options.
  • Not recommended for long cruises.
  • Basic looks and layout.

As its name suggests, the Soel Senses 48 is 48 feet long. It has a slender design and is lightweight , making it more economical than most other solar-powered boats.

The boat is designed with two sleeping berths that can accommodate two people each. It also includes a salon that can offer enough sleeping space for four people. 

Compared with most other solar yachts, the Soel Senses 48 has a much smaller size. Its size, adding to its sleek and innovative design, give it faster speed than other solar-powered boats.

It incorporates 12 solar panels installed on the roof ; all these panels generate a combined electrical power of up to 2.7 kWh. The electricity generated by the solar panels is then stored in two batteries which can be easily configured to hold a maximum solar power of 142 kWh.

Like other Soel Yachts, the Soel Senses 48 glides smoothly over water without causing any noise, rattles, or generating fumes.

It has average cruising speeds of 10 knots, even reaching top speeds of up to 18 knots. However, the solar catamaran cannot run at its top speed for long periods.

Both the interior and the exterior of the Soel Senses 48 have a sleek and modern design. Every single component of the solar catamaran has been designed carefully to make it as functional and comfortable as possible. Therefore, when you board on this boat, you can expect to experience one of the best sailing experiences of your life.

The Serenity 64 Yacht features a diesel engine. It is a hybrid solar boat, which means that it can run on either solar power or on diesel.

The diesel engine especially comes in handy when the users wish to achieve faster cruising.

The solar catamaran is a very spacious electric boat and provides plenty of living space. It is built with four luxurious cabins, with each cabin having its ensuite bathroom. And even though the Serenity 64 is smaller than the Serenity 74 model also built by Serenity, it still provided an elegant feel and a smooth sailing experience.

Solar Boats Pros and Cons

Solar Boats pros and cons

The sun is a powerful and free source of energy, making solar power an attractive option for those looking to power their yacht. Solar panels can be used to generate electricity to run the yacht’s lights, appliances, and even the engine. Solar power can also be used to heat water for showers and laundry. But, what are the pros and cons of solar catamarans?

Here’s a quick summary of the solar yachts’ advantages and disadvantages:

One of the main benefits of solar power is that it is renewable and environmentally friendly. Solar panels have no emissions and do not produce pollution. In principle, they also do not require fuel, making them very cost-effective in the long run. Solar power is also very reliable, as the sun is a constant source of energy.

There are a few disadvantages to solar power. Solar panels can be expensive to install, and while they require less maintenance, this can be quite costly, especially when it will come time to replace the batteries. Solar panels also need to be pointing directly at the sun to be effective, so they may not generate power on cloudy days or at night.

But there’s more, let’s see what some sailing experts are thinking about solar catamarans!

Sailing expert’s solar Boat review

Recently, one of the most popular sailing YouTube channels, Saliling La Vagabonde , published a very honest and interesting review of the solar powered yacht Silent 55. Here’s a summary of their experience:

  • 7 Days onboard (6 nights)
  • Travelled 145nm with an average speed of 7 knots
  • Generator used for about 12h (in total)
  • Fuel consumed: 208 liters

Here are some interesting observations they made:

  • While cruising it may feel less stable than a standard sailing boat because it doesn’t have a sail to stabilize it when hitting the waves.
  • For the Silent 55 it was possible to move at about 3 knots by using only the power generated by the solar panels (without using the batteries) on a sunny day. This means that if you are moving the solar yacht around quite frequently, you will end up using the generator quite a lot to produce the necessary power.
  • When the batteries are out of power, the Silent yacht is using a (diesel) generator to supply the necessary power to keep the boat moving and to power the appliances.
  • A great luxury yacht with all the comforts and going in the right direction for the future of the sector.
  • Overall, the Silent Yacht is a great eco-friendly alternative to a power boat , while if you are thinking about cruising around the world, you would be probably better off going for a standard sailboat (or for some of the hybrid alternatives mentioned in this article, like the HH44).

Why are solar yachts all catamarans?

Solar yachts are all catamarans for 2 main reasons:

  • Catamarans have a larger surface, which allows for placing more solar panels and also offers more room for the batteries onboard.
  • Catamarans have efficient hulls for their size. This reduces their power consumption while moving.

This makes catamarans the ideal platform to build a solar-powered boat.

Modern solar electric boats are undoubtedly an eco-friendly choice in sea travel and a form of green tourism . Not only do these electric boats provide a smooth sailing experience, but they also reduce the release of emissions into the atmosphere, reducing the environmental impact and enhancing sustainability .

Luckily, given their size, solar catamarans can charge themselves (unlike electric cars ), so they can sail indefinitely without the need to stop for refueling.

If you are environmentally conscious and looking to get a boat that is more viable, desirable, and eco-friendly, you may consider investing in one of the solar yachts discussed in this article!

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Solar Powered Yachts

Solar panels are a fundamental element of today’s quest for responsible energy generation. Used in households, commercial facilities, and power stations across the globe, they are also a vital source of energy for solar powered yachts. With significant progress made over the last years, photovoltaic technology has emerged as the natural energy source with the most exciting growth potential.

Thanks to photovoltaic cells, solar panels absorb sun radiation to generate direct current (DC). When sunlight reaches a solar cell, it causes silicon electrons to move. This motion will start the flow of electricity that is captured by wires and directed to an inverter. Inverter technology is then used to convert it to alternating current (AC) ready to power household appliances.

The solar power systems on solar powered yachts usually consist of solar panels, batteries, charge controllers and inverters. While batteries store the energy obtained from the solar panels, charge controllers prevent batteries from overcharging. Solar catamarans with house appliances on board will usually need to convert the DC energy into AC with the help of an inverter.

Sunreef Yachts produces solar panels in-house and uses a new (patent-pending) technology to integrate them within structural components. The panels are made of the industry’s most efficient cells with a peak performance of 24%.

Thanks to the solar cells’ outstanding flexibility, Sunreef Yachts’ solar panels can be mounted on any surface of the solar powered yacht. As a result, they are integrated with various areas on board, such as hull sides, mast, superstructure, bimini roof or bow terrace to maximize energy generation.

With a thickness below 1mm and weighing around 1,8 kg per square meter (average solar panels will weigh between 8 and 15 kg per square meter), they are one of the lightest solar power systems in the world. In addition, tests have proven that thanks to their advanced integration technique, Sunreef Yachts solar panels have a very high resistance to shock and abrasion. This allows them to be used on any surface, including hull sides.


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What You Need To Know About Boat Solar Panels


Sunshine and boats are a natural together, so why not use all that free energy? Here’s the lowdown on solar panel selection and installation

Solar panel in use on top of a vessel in open waters during sunlight.

I first embraced the idea of solar power while up a pole (literally) in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway replacing dead batteries. It was the early 1980s, and I was maintaining buoys, beacons, and other such Aids To Navigation (ATON) for the U.S. Coast Guard, replacing massive, nonrechargeable batteries with rechargeable solar-powered ones. The higher-ups said the solar rechargeables would last six years – twice as long as the one-shot batteries. As the deck-ape in charge of lugging all those batteries up and down the ladders, my back and I immediately appreciated the whole “free power from the sun” thing, a concept I continue to embrace.

The strategy behind s olar energy onboard is simple: A solar panel converts sunlight into electricity, after which wiring conducts it to your batteries for storage until needed. Solar panels are used to keep batteries or banks charged rather than to power equipment directly. This arrangement allows the panels to store generated power whenever produced, while providing a steady source of power to a piece of equipment even when the panel is producing no power.

While they do require an initial outlay, solar panels can easily pay for themselves in money saved and independence gained over their service life. They’re noiseless, have no moving parts, and they provide free electricity for years with minimal maintenance. Solar panels also have the benefit of being modular, letting you start small and add more as your power requirements increase.

The benefits of solar

Almost any boat can benefit from solar power. Whether at a slip, mooring, or on a trailer, boats can keep their batteries topped off without the need for external power. You can also use solar power to supplement or even replace other onboard charging sources, reducing or eliminating the need to run engines or generators to keep batteries topped off (a wasteful practice that burns fuel while wearing down the costliest pieces of equipment onboard).

While underway, it’s a plus to be able to recharge a dead battery in an emergency – say, to operate a VHF radio or navigation gear. While dockside, solar panels keep batteries charged and vital systems (such as bilge pumps) up and running without the need for shore power.

Large solar panel mounted to a covered vessel docked in a harbor.

Just about any boat can benefit from solar power, whether it’s to keep batteries topped off or supplement other onboard charging sources.

Solar panel mounted on a vessel in use during a sunny afternoon.

Mount solar panels where they are exposed to maximum sunlight but do not interfere with operation of the vessel. 

Large solar panel in use on a clear and sunny day.

Bottom: Something as simple as the shadow of a line or shroud can reduce or halt output.

Types of panels

Solar panels contain photovoltaic cells – small silicon semiconductor devices that convert sunlight into electricity. Each cell generates between 0.45 and 0.5 volts, depending on exposure to direct sunlight. Cell size determines amperage, with a 3-inch cell producing roughly 2 amps, a 4-inch cell a little over 3 amps, and a 5-inch cell around 5 amps.

Construction-wise, the three main types of solar panels are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and amorphous (or thin-film) technology.

Monocrystalline panels have been around the longest and remain the most popular. The panels are constructed of thin slices of crystal silicon (each cell is cut from a single crystal) housed in a rigid, aluminum frame and covered with tempered shatterproof glass. The panels have a uniform black, blue, or gray appearance and are generally quite rugged, although they can be cracked or broken if subjected to extreme abuse.

Monocrystalline panels have the longest service life of the three types. With a conversion efficiency of around 17%, they’re also the most efficient and have the highest electrical output per area, but they are also the most expensive.

Polycrystalline cells are sliced from a cast silicon block and have a shattered glass appearance. Built in much the same way as monocrystalline panels, they’re rectangular, giving the panel itself a tiled look. Their life span is similar to monocrystalline panels, and while their conversion efficiency is lower (by 14%), they’re also a bit less expensive.

Amorphous panels are made by placing a thin film of active silicon on a solid or flexible backing (such as stainless or aluminum sheeting) depending on whether the panel is to be rigid-framed and glass-fronted or flexible. Flexible amorphous panels, in which cells are sandwiched between rubber and polymer covers, are light and tough enough that you can walk on them and, in some cases, even roll them up for storage.

This type of solar panel is also better if shade is an issue. With crystalline panels, even the thin shadow of a rope or shroud across one cell can reduce or halt output of an entire module. Amorphous panels have “bypass” diodes that essentially turn off shaded cells and provide a current path around them. Some monocrystalline panels also have bypass diodes, but this feature comes at an increase in cost.

Amorphous panels are the least expensive of the three types, but their efficiency is also lower – around 8%, or roughly half that of a monocrystalline type. This lower output is somewhat mitigated in newer panels, however, which use three-layer construction. Each layer absorbs different colors of the solar spectrum, so the panel will deliver more power longer each day and during lower light conditions than the other two types.

Mounted solar panel charge controller

The charge controller should be mounted below decks and as close to the battery as possible. 

SunSaver-10L Solar Controller

Follow manufacturer instructions for wire connections.

Planning the system

While factors such as cost, mounting options, and output are important, a successful installation depends on knowing what you want the system to accomplish. Is the goal to float-charge a single battery or supplement an overall vessel energy plan? Answering these questions up front will help determine the type, size, and number of panels required.

To understand the process better, let’s walk through the basic steps to determine power requirements and installation considerations for a single solar panel installation. While the example itself is simple, the steps are the same used to plan more complicated installations.

For our example, the goal is to install a solar panel to provide charging for a single 12-volt, 100-amp-hour wet-cell battery used to power an automatic anchor light on a moored vessel.

The first step is compiling a daily power consumption estimate to determine how much solar power is needed.

The daily self-discharge rate for a wet-cell battery is roughly 1%, meaning our 100-amp-hour battery requires one amp every 24 hours just to maintain the status quo. The anchor light draws 50 milliamps per hour of operation, and we’ll assume it operates 10 hours each night. Multiplying current draw (50 milliamps) by hours of daily operation (10) generates a daily energy expense of 500 milliamps or .5 amps.

This means our solar panel must meet a minimum daily energy tab of 1.5 amps – one amp of battery self-discharge rate plus .5 amps of power draw for the anchor light.

Next up is figuring out panel size and the best mounting location. For our example, let’s assume the panel will be a horizontal, fixed-mount installation. A 10-watt horizontally mounted panel should generate between 3- and 5-amp hours per day.

We’ll need at least 13 volts to fully charge our 12-volt battery. As most solar cells generate at least 0.45 volts, you’ll want a panel with a minimum of 33 cells, which should provide around 14.85 volts.

Keep in mind that’s the minimum needed, which may not be enough once you factor in a few cloudy days. Most panels are designed to generate between 15 and 20 volts to overcome problems like cloudy days or inherent electrical resistance within the panel or installation components. While this higher voltage lets you make up for less electrically productive days, it also means you’ll want to install a solar charge controller (voltage regulator) to avoid battery damage due to overcharging.

Attempts to plan a system that tries to use the output of the panel and capacity of the battery to prevent overcharging (and avoid the installation of a charge controller) is false economy and should not be done. The system will never meet its full output potential and, worst case, can damage the battery due to overcharging.

A word on ‘charge controller confliction’

If your vessel has multiple charging sources, such as solar panels and a wind turbine, a crucial but often overlooked consideration is “charge controller confliction.” In short, this is an issue where the charge controller for your solar panel and the charge controller for your wind turbine are internally adjusted to the same maximum charge voltage set point. This means they are constantly fighting each other to be the dominant power source, which results in diminished overall charging output and performance. An in-depth article on this issue can be found at ­ (in the website footer, click “Superwind Turbine Manuals & Technical Bulletins.” Under the header “Charge Controllers,” select the document “Resolving Charge Controller Confliction”).

While this article addresses charge controller confliction at remote, off-grid sites, the information provided is also applicable to vessel installations. — F.L.

Location and mounting

Solar panels should be mounted in a location where they are exposed to the maximum amount of sunlight but do not interfere with operation of the vessel or the movement of passengers and crew. Solar panels will typically be either fixed or mounted on some type of movable bracket that allows you to actively point the panel toward the sun for maximum output. Both methods have their pros and cons. Fixed panels (which are normally mounted horizontally) don’t produce as much power as a panel that can be adjusted to face the sun. The downside is that adjustable panels must be aimed throughout the day to maximize their output.

Marine-grade heat shrink connectors for solar panels

Use good quality, marine-grade heat shrink connectors (top) and liquid electrical tape (right) to create airtight, waterproof seals and reduce corrosion.

Liquid electrical tape being applied to create airtight, waterproof seals and reduce corrosion.


After choosing and mounting your panel, it’s time to connect it. The first thing you need to determine is the size (gauge) of the wiring to be used. Multiply your panel’s rated amp output by 1.25 (which adds a 25% safety factor). Then measure the length of the entire wiring run, panel to battery, and multiply by 2. Once you have these two numbers, refer to the American Boat and Yacht Council’s (ABYC) 3% voltage-drop table for wire size. Ancor Products offers a handy wire calculator on its website ( ).

Always use good quality marine grade connectors  and tinned, multi-stranded copper wire with vinyl sheathing. The wire will run from the solar panel to the charge controller first, then to the battery. Try to keep the wire run as short as possible, and if it transits an external deck or cabin house (it likely will), be sure to use an appropriate weatherproof deck fitting.

The charge controller should be mounted below decks and as close to the battery as possible. You’ll always want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for connections, but in a typical installation you’ll connect the solar panel’s positive (red wire) lead to the charge controller’s positive input wire or terminal and the negative (black wire) lead to the charge controller’s negative input wire or terminal.

Next, connect the charge controller’s negative output to the battery negative terminal and the controller’s positive output to the battery’s positive terminal via an appropriately sized in-line fuse (or circuit breaker). ABYC recommends these be installed within 7 inches of connection to the battery or other point in the DC system. To reiterate, the installation of the charge controller can vary among models, so follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Finally, ensure all connections are waterproof and secure any loose wire runs with wire ties and cable clamps for a neat installation. Then get ready to lean back and soak up some free sun.

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Frank Lanier

Contributing Editor, BoatUS Magazine

Capt. Frank Lanier is a SAMS Accredited Marine Surveyor with more than 40 years of experience in the marine and diving industries. He’s also an author, public speaker, and multiple award-winning journalist whose articles on boat maintenance, repair, and seamanship appear regularly in numerous marine publications worldwide. He can be reached via his YouTube channel “Everything Boats with Capt. Frank Lanier” and website

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Soel Yachts

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Solar electric yacht.

Welcome the Soel Senses 62, a fully sustainable solar electric yacht for silent cruising with trans-ocean capabilities. State of the art technology is combined with modern design, to offer the highest comfort and pleasure on board, while providing an extremely sustainable way of cruising the oceans. With no noise distractions on board, the 62ft composite eco yacht turns into an oasis of tranquility for up to nine people and three crew.

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Elegant lines flow into dynamic details, which present a fresh and inviting exterior and interior, characterized by simple and honest aesthetics. The solar electric yacht provides the right balance between minimalistic and modern yet timeless design with a warm and delicate style.


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With the teams’ vast expertise in the fields of design, naval architecture and electric system integration, Soel Yachts can offer tailor made solutions and high level consultancy. Within the Soel Senses family, the client can choose the perfect matching layout to create a unique and very personal electric catamaran. A variety of possibilities are offered for the charter versions with crew cabin and galley down, while the private owners versions can be equipped with the galley up in the main salon and the master cabin down in the hulls. Soel Yachts also introduces an alternative option with an enclosed flybridge , for use as an owner’s cabin, office or gym. Likewise, Soel Yachts is flexible to work with the clients’ specific demands and wishes when it comes to the custom electric propulsion system and on board gear, as well as for tender and toys.


yachts with solar panels


yachts with solar panels


yachts with solar panels


yachts with solar panels



yachts with solar panels


yachts with solar panels


yachts with solar panels

Inside becomes outside

The core concept of the Soel Senses 62 has been the seamless integration of different spaces, openness and versatile usage of its features right from the beginning. While the front doors lead to a comfortable and lush front lounge area, in the back, large sliding glass doors open up the main saloon to the aft cockpit area for unique views and a no boundary connection of the interior with the exterior main deck of the solar electric yacht. This roomy solar powered yacht offers great comfort within the spacious owners cabin, two VIP guest cabins and kids cabin with three beds. The separate crew cabin with its own access assures both comfort and privacy.

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yachts with solar panels


Electric match.

Central to crafting efficient zero-emissions vessels is right-sizing the propulsion system. The key advantage of Soel Yachts is that the propulsion system and the vessel are being designed together. An optimisation of the synergy between the two ensures reliability and quality for the high performance vessel, and raises the bar for future boats to come. Every project is being looked at from a naval architecture point of view, tailoring the propulsion system exactly to the clients’ desired operational profile.

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The very functional eco electric yacht gives its owner the ultimate freedom to go near and far at highest comfort while keeping the cost and emissions footprint at incredibly low levels. 42 state-of-the-art solar panels generate 18.5 kWp on the solar roof and let its user enjoy sustainable and luxurious yachting without any noise and high fuel bills.

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The efficient hull shape was specifically designed for efficient electric propulsion and cruise comfort. During the engineering process several CFD analyses were carried out and special devotion was given to the integration of the electric system in order to optimize the speed and range, as well as handling and maneuverability.

The solar electric yacht is perfectly matched to the system and the system is perfectly matched to the yacht, resulting in an optimized range and performance.

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Want to go the extra mile? We too! Through our in-house electric naval architecture, design and system integration, Soel Yachts offers a unique approach to making your electric yacht dream come true. Please leave your name and contact details below, so that we can get in touch with you for discussing your specific wishes, pricing and build-slot availability for the Soel Senses 62 solar electric yacht.

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Solar Panels For Boats and Yachts

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By Michael Olenick | Jul 26, 2022

The purchase of a boat or a yacht is a coveted purchase for many people. While it certainly adds a new dynamic to one’s life, it’s not the most straightforward investment since maintenance is a huge component of owning a sea vessel. Other than the physical maintenance of your boat, fuel management and maintenance is often a logistical nightmare for many boat owners. Some of these problems include keeping batteries topped off; doing it quietly, as not to bother the surrounding communities; and refueling costs. An easy solution to these problems: solar panels.

Sizing a Solar System for Your Boat or Yacht


  • Refrigerator(s)
  • Radar & sonar units

When adding up your energy consumption, always round up and add about 10-15% extra Watt-hours to your total, as certain appliances tend to use up more energy during spring and summer months. Once you reach the conclusion that you are ready for a further discussion, you can always reach out to a solar panel expert to get solar quotes, help with your energy calculations, and aid in determining the right number of panels you would need to offset your yacht or boat’s energy usage. Obviously, the number of panels you would need depends on energy usage and vessel size, but solar is a much better option than common fossil fuels when powering your boat.

The Benefits of Adding Solar Panels To a Boat or Yacht

When it comes to adding solar panels to your boat, the benefits are endless. Here are just a few for you to consider:

  • Silence: Noisy refueling at docks and extremely loud on-board generators are a thing of the past. Cruise the seas in with zero mechanical noises, and enjoy the natural ocean sounds.
  • Minimal Maintenance: The only maintenance solar panels require is a simple rinse off every couple of months, as salt can build up when the seawater evaporates.


  • Travel Lightly: With your new panels, you won’t have to lug heavy containers of fuel with you on your trips. More room for wine or martini mix.
  • Unlimited Energy: Aside from the occasional cloud in the sky, you will have full access to the sun on the open seas.

Besides the affordability and convenience, solar panels could inevitably save your life. You will never have to worry about running out of fuel when you are out on the water. This will help you avoid any potential emergencies or disasters.

Solar Panel Placement

This is where most caution needs to be taken. When choosing where you are going to place your solar panels on your yacht or boat, you need to take two big things into consideration: shading and security.

When it comes to shading, you want to make sure you place your panels in an area that receives the most sunlight. Having your boom shade some of the panels, or any lines can reduce your energy production. The wiring of solar panels can also be delicate. That is why you need to place your solar system in the most secure spot possible – rough seas or choppy waters could lead to a wire shaking loose.

If you’re longing to make a maintenance upgrade to your nautical vessel, a solar system should be seriously considered. Not only will it reduce noise, weight, and fueling costs, but it will differentiate your boat from all the other vessels at your next port.

Whether you have questions about panel placement, efficiency, or just if your boat is right for solar, please click here to speak to an expert!

Solar Panel Installation Process

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Sustainability at sea: Sunreef is integrating recycled plastic bottles into solar electric yachts

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Sunreef Yachts is already a solar electric boatbuilder recognized for its sustainability efforts in the maritime industry but is now taking things a step greener. The company is now integrating recycled PET bottles into its solar electric yacht production process.

Sunreef Yachts  has been operating out of Gdansk, Poland, for over 20 years alongside a newer footprint established in the United Arab Emirates. From day one in 2002, Sunreef has been pushing the boundaries of sustainable marine travel, launching the world’s first 74-foot luxury oceangoing catamaran with a flybridge.

Sunreef Yachts currently has hundreds of its boats sailing waters across the globe, showcasing the company’s lineup of sustainable, all-electric propulsion and advanced solar panels. Its current portfolio consists of eco-friendly sailboats and  massive solar electric catamarans  ranging from 60 to 100 meters in length.

In April 2024, Sunreef introduced a new 40m electric yacht called the Eco Explorer . One month later, Sunreef shared a new sustainability strategy that will integrate hundreds of thousands of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles into the superstructures of its electric yachts.

electric yacht recycled

Sunreef’s electric yacht reuses 600k recycled PET bottles

As part of a new initiative to maximize energy efficiency and, above all else, sustainability, Sunreef Yachts Eco’s R&D team will integrate a structural foam composed of up to 100% recycled PET materials into the production of its solar electric yachts and sailing catamarans.

By integrating this recycled material, Sunreef can achieve even more eco-conscious electric yacht construction practices while furthering sustainability in a maritime segment that quickly embraces electrification .

In addition to being 100% recyclable, Sunreef shared that the recycled thermoplastic core offers additional benefits in electric yachts and catamarans, such as high resistance to process temperatures, exceptional chemical resistance, strong adhesion, and other mechanical properties.

For added perspective on the impact the recycled material can have on the industry, Sunreef said one of its 80-foot sailing catamaran requires about 2.4 tons of the structural foam, equating to approximately 600,000 recycled PET bottles finding a second life at sea within the superstructure rather than floating around as pollution.

This is the kind of news we love sharing with you readers and provides further evidence that large boats can not only be 100% electric but may soon be 100% recyclable.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports. Please send any tips or suggestions, or dog photos to him at [email protected]

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New Silent Yachts For Sale

Silent yachts are the industry leader in ocean-going production yachts that are completely solar sustainable and powered by solar energy. seaworthy, luxurious, and built to impeccable standards, silent yachts are already desirable without its solar capabilities. with the abundance of solar panels on board each boat, every silent yachts model is able to cruise for 100 nautical miles in complete silence. even while at anchor, the solar-powered generators keep the yacht powered quietly for an unprecedented boating experience. enjoy all the benefits of a power catamaran with the addition of solar energy..

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Silent Yachts 80

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Speak To A Silent Yachts Sales Professional

Silent Yachts offer an environmentally conscious choice when it comes to owning a yacht. Silent Yachts currently offers three solar-powered power catamaran models including the Silent 55, Silent 64, and Silent 80. United Yacht Sales is proud to be the U.S. distributor for Silent Yachts and can assist you in your search for the world's first solar-powered yacht. For more information, please contact United Yacht broker Darren Sell at (561) 351-7333 or by email at [email protected]

Where are Silent Yachts built?

Silent Yachts are built through two different shipyards depending on the model. The Silent 55 is built at the world-class shipyard of Mazarin German Yachts which also has a production site located in China. For over 70 years, Mazarin has been a leader in quality yacht construction with over 400 yachts delivered. Mazarin are experts in innovative construction processes that are able to produce light weight yachts.

The Silent 64 and Silent 80 are produced at the Italian-based shipyard Consorzio Navale which is a prestigous consoritum of builders and sub-contractors in the industry. The group has serviced many of the major Italian yacht brands such as Ferretti Yachts and Riva Yachts . Additionally, the Silent Yachts 80 features styling and design by Marco Casali and naval architecture by Insenaval.

Are Silent Yachts really completely solar-powered?

The short answer is yes. Owners can choose to go 100% solar-powered or install diesel engines should higher speeds want to be achieved over longer distances. Silent Yachts can cruise up to 100 miles per day by power acquired through its solar panels. Every day the solar panels are able to generate more power than the total consumption needed for propulsion at cruising speeds plus powering all of the appliances on board. 

How does the solar power work? 

The Silent Yachts power system feeds the electric propulsion of the power cat and all of the energy it needs to run the A/C, refrigerators, and other household appliances. Light-weight lithium batteries provide an ample amount of energy for everything on board. The lithium batteries used in Silent Yachts are the most expensive ones on the market, but also the most reliable, safe, and have the longest life span.

Solar panels are integrated to the roof of the flybridge hardtop sections instead of just being bolted on top, resulting in no wind load or resistance againest them. Below is a video explaining how the system functions and operates back when Silent Yachts were originally called "Solar Wave":

Who is the team behind Silent Yachts?

Heike and Michael Kohler have sent almost their entire lives on a boat. After more than two decades of using various boats, cruisers, and sailboats on multiple oceans, they became dedicated to finding a better energy source for the propulsion of yachts. Between the years of 2005 and 2009, Heike and Michael tested a number of a multitude of various alternative energy sources. In 2009, SolarWave 46 was launched as a proof of concept for their design. While there are many boats and yachts built that use solar power in some fashion, the Solarwave 46 was the first ocean-going yacht to use solar energy to power everything on board from engines to appliances.

What else is different about how Silent Yachts are built?

Certainly the solar-powered engines and generators are the distinguishing characteristic, but there are a lot of other features that make each Silent Yacht unique. For example, the molds were created using a CNC-milling machine that is able to contruct particular shapes for an optimized design. The materials used in the hull include a carbon compositie that is then resin-infused for a light-weight, but very strong platform. Every hull is fully insulated and the long-term durability is exceptional thanks to the high-quality resin used in the infusion process.

What propulsion systems are recommended by Silent Yachts?

Silent Yachts recommends the 2 x 135 engines as the best solution. If the owner is making frequest trips from Point A to B (Say Miami to the Bahamas for example) the faster hybrid is recommended. The main differentiator here is cruising speed. If the owner is living on the yacht for an extended period of time, rarely pushes the engines to top speeds, and stays below 12 knots, then the E-Power is recommended.

When the generator is running, does the 100Kw go to charging the batteries (which run the 250 Kw e-Motors) or directly to the e-Motors?

All of the enery consumers and producers are connected to the bus bar. If there happens to be more power produced than consumed, the excess power goes to re-charge the batteries. If for some reason more power is required than what is produced, the needed power comes from the lithium batteries.

What is the sustained speed if both 100 Kw generators are running?

This answer really depends upon sea condition and the weight of the boat (for example components, additional equipment, water toys, etc.). The sustained speed on average though is between 12 and 14 knots, 10 knots with one generator running. It is possible to cruise at 10 knots without a generator running when using the Solar E-Power.

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Top 5 Best Solar Panels for Boats (2024 Marine Buyer’s Guide)

Top 5 Best Solar Panels for Boats (2024 Marine Buyer’s Guide)

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • Why photovoltaic (PV) equipment is great to have on your boat
  • Which panels are best suited for use on the water
  • What qualities make for a great boat solar panel

Each product and or company featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Why Should You Install Solar Panels On Your Boat?

Before we dive into the best panels to bring your boat into the world of clean energy, it’s worth discussing why you’d want a solar panel system on your boat in the first place.

There are a few use cases that are important to consider. These not only dictate whether or not you need panels on your boat, but they can also help you decide which system is the best and most cost-effective for you. We’ll discuss the different reasons to go solar on your boat below.

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Charging Emergency Equipment

For anyone who has run into issues out at sea, the need for reliable emergency equipment is well understood. Whether you run out of gas, your boat breaks down or you have some other issue that precludes you from getting back to shore, having a way to reach out for help will keep your mind at ease.

Depending on the type of boat you have and how well it’s equipped, you may have a radio system, a satellite phone, a regular phone or some other communication device for emergencies. All of these require power, and having a solar system on your boat ensures that you’ll always have access to these devices.

Charging Recreational Equipment

Even if you’re not running into problems at sea, you might want the ability to charge recreational equipment. It’s always nice to have the ability to charge smartphones, e-readers, speakers and other devices you might use for entertainment.

This is especially important if you plan on spending a few days at sea and don’t want to rely on your boat’s batteries. Keeping those well charged for lighting, navigation tools and starting your boat’s engine is more important than getting your phone up to a full charge.

Quality of Life at Sea

For a lot of people, there’s a lot of joy in upgrading life at sea and making things just a little more comfortable. One of the perks of installing a solar system on your vessel is that you don’t have to worry about using your boat’s batteries for non-necessities.

For example, many recreational boaters connect their solar array to an electric cooler. Others use their solar modules to power electric water heaters for hot showers and constant hot water.

The possibilities for improving your at-sea experience with solar are really up to you, which is part of what makes bringing renewable energy to your boat so exciting.

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What Are the Top 5 Best Solar Panels for Boats?

If you’re convinced you want to install solar on your boat, but you don’t know much about the available options, you might be overwhelmed by the choices. You’ll have access to seemingly countless brands and models.

To help you narrow down your options and choose panels that will meet your needs, we’ve done extensive research and chosen just a few product lines that we recommend. We’ll provide a quick breakdown of the different options below, and we’ll dive deeper into the specifications in later sections.

SunPower 170W Solar Panel

SunPower is a leader in the residential solar industry, so it’s no surprise that we found that the company also makes the best solar panels for use on boats.

This panel is pricey, but it’s significantly more powerful than most other options. At 170 watts, you can use these panels to charge your boat’s main battery, provide backup power for emergencies, or live large on the water by powering coolers, hot water heaters and much more.

This panel doesn’t come with a solar charge controller like many other options do, so not only is it expensive, but you’ll have to lay out more money for a controller, inverter and battery. However, we believe the efficiency and power output are well worth the investment.

These panels are also rated with a waterproof rating of IP67, which means they can withstand immersion in water up to about three feet for around half an hour. If you need more protection than that, you have bigger problems on your hands than losing a panel.

  • High-efficiency panel for maximum power
  • High-quality, durable materials
  • Trusted and reliable brand
  • Waterproof up to a meter for 30 minutes
  • Doesn’t include any equipment other than the panel

Renogy 100W Flexible Marine Solar Panel

The Renogy Flexible solar panel designed specifically for use on the water is our pick for the best bang for your buck. It’s about half the price of the SunPower panel, although it does have a little more than just half the power capacity.

At 100 watts, this panel is great for middle-of-the-road power. It can serve as a reliable backup source of energy, or you can use it to recharge phones, GPS devices, e-readers, laptops and other electronics. It’s possible to use it for the quality-of-life items mentioned above as well.

This panel also has an IP67 waterproof rating, which is ideal for maintaining peace of mind on the water. Although it’s less expensive than our top pick, it includes a controller and wiring to connect your panels. You’ll just need an inverter and a battery to complete your setup.

  • Excellent power output
  • IP67 waterproof rating
  • Includes controller and wiring
  • Reliable brand name
  • More expensive than many other options
  • Doesn’t include a battery or inverter

EcoWorthy 25W Solar Panel Kit

The EcoWorthy solar panel kit is one of the easiest photovoltaic (PV) systems to install, so it’s our top pick for those looking to get started with clean energy. You can purchase this kit with a 10 amp-hour (AH), 12-volt battery, and the MC4 connectors are plug-and-play for a quick and painless installation.

This panel has a much smaller output than our top two picks, so it’s best reserved for backup power or for charging cell phones and other small electronics.

This kit has a waterproof rating of IP65, which means it can withstand being submerged in around five feet of water for up to a half hour, and it will also be protected from sprays of water. This is a great option for maintaining peace of mind when you’re on the water, especially if conditions are rough.

Lastly, the kit includes a panel, a controller and wiring, so you’ll just need to add a battery and an inverter to complete your kit.

  • IP65 waterproof rating
  • Includes a controller and wiring
  • Very affordable
  • Significantly less power than our top picks – Only ideal for light-duty use

NewPowa 30W Solar Panel Kit

This 30 watt solar panel kit from NewPowa includes a panel, a controller and wiring. If you add a backup battery and an inverter, you can create a complete off-grid solar kit for less than $150 without leaving your home (thanks to Amazon).

With an output of 30 watts, this is the best marine solar panel for light-duty use, although you could use it for non-essential electronics like an electric cooler or a small solar water heater. Those more demanding devices should be low-use, though.

The panels and controller are IP67-rated, so they’re suitable for use on just about any boat.

Best of all, the partial solar kit is just $60, so this makes our list as our top budget pick for going solar without breaking the bank.

The kit has pre-drilled mounting holes and is compatible with a wide variety of mounting brackets. As such, your installation process should be relatively straightforward.

  • Includes a controller and plug-and-play wiring
  • Relatively low wattage

TopSolar Monocrystalline Solar Panel Kit

The off-grid solar kit from TopSolar is a great affordable option, and it’s what we’d recommend as a starter kit for backup energy for beginners. It only puts out 20 watts, so this is not the best option if you’re looking for something to charge your recreational devices or quality-of-life equipment. However, it’s an affordable and easy-to-install kit for emergency power.

Unfortunately, this kit doesn’t include a specific ingress protection (IP) rating, but the manufacturer does note that the product is waterproof. Based on customer reviews, it appears that this product is safe for use on the water.

solar panels for boats battery

The kit includes a small PV panel, a controller and wiring, so you’ll need to buy an inverter and battery separately if you want AC power or backup power.

Best of all, the kit is super easy to install. It has pre-drilled holes and is compatible with most mounting brackets and clips.

  • Great option for backup power
  • Easy to install
  • No official IP rating
  • Low wattage

What Should Boat Owners Look for When Buying Solar Panels?

Solar panels can be a great option for marine use, but not all panels and solar kits are suitable for use around water. Additionally, the panel you choose needs to be selected based on how you want to use your solar power system.

In the sections below, we’ll include a few key things you’ll want to consider when choosing a solar module for your boat.

Energy Needs

One of the first things we recommend thinking about is how much energy you need your panels to generate. This will help guide you to what size panel and how much energy output you need.

If you’re just looking for reliable backup power for your boat’s internal 12-volt battery, or you want your panels to provide power for emergencies only, you’ll probably only need a panel of around 20 watts.

If you use your boat frequently for entertaining guests, or you spend days at a time on your boat, you might want something above 100 watts to provide backup power plus electricity for electric coolers, water heaters and more. Consider everything you’ll use your solar array for and size your system accordingly.

The chart below provides a quick breakdown of what size solar panels you need for different purposes on a boat.

If you plan on using your panels to replace an on-board generator, you can calculate how much electricity your boat uses and then size your system accordingly. It’s always advisable to go a little bigger than you think you need, as cloud coverage and the angle of the sunlight hitting your panels can cause fluctuations in solar power production.

If you have high energy needs, we also recommend considering a Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) controller, which is more efficient than a Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) controller, which is more common.

Space Available for Installation

Just like residential solar systems are limited by available roof square footage, marine solar systems are limited by the available space for installation. This is an important consideration to make to ensure you don’t buy a panel that you won’t be able to mount or use in your vessel.

Before you buy any equipment, we recommend checking the measurements of the panel and deciding where on your boat you can install it. Some portable, foldable panels come with kickstands for temporary setups, but the smaller of our top picks can be set up just about anywhere without mounting brackets as well.

Type of Solar Panel

You’ll have a few choices for the type of panel you purchase for your boat as well.

First, you’ll need to decide between thin-film solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels and monocrystalline solar panels.

  • Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient, so they’re the best suited for use on boats. The higher efficiency ratings will let you produce more energy per square foot, which is essential on a boat where space is limited. All of our recommendations above are monocrystalline.
  • Polycrystalline solar panels can also work, but they won’t provide as much solar power.
  • Thin-film panels are the most affordable, but they generate even less electricity and aren’t ideal for use where available space is minimal.

Second, you should think about whether you want a rigid solar panel with an aluminum frame or a semi-flexible one. Flexible panels contain special solar cells that can be a bit pricier, but they’re easier to install and are a bit more versatile. They can be mounted on curved surfaces, giving you more placement options.

Waterproof Rating

Since you’ll be using your panels on the water, it’s essential that you choose one with a good waterproof rating. Some of the best options are IP67 and IP65. These will ensure your panels and charge controllers or regulators remain safe and at low risk of fire even when exposed to moisture and direct water contact.


Finally, you should consider what your kit comes with. Some come with only panels, so you’ll need to buy a controller, an inverter and a battery to complete your setup. Some come with a combination of these parts, although batteries and inverters aren’t commonly included. Some panels also include mounting brackets, although this is also uncommon.

Thinking about the additional equipment you’ll need to purchase after buying your panels will help you budget more effectively for your entire system.

How Do Solar Panels Work With Boats?

PV panels for boats work just like panels for residential use — they collect sunlight and route the energy either to a storage or use system.

Since boat solar systems are entirely off-grid, most require the following:

  • Solar panels
  • A charge controller
  • An inverter
  • Mounting brackets or other mounting hardware
  • A backup battery for energy storage

We’ll explain what each of these components does in the section below, and then we’ll get into how to set up and maintain your system.

Equipment for a Marine Solar System

best regulators for marine solar systems

The main components you’ll absolutely need for your boat solar system are PV panels and a controller. If you plan to store energy or use it to charge common electronics, you’ll also need a battery and an inverter.

The panels are the pieces of the system that collect energy from the sun. The electricity generated is then passed to your controller, which limits the amount of power that flows through the wires to your battery or device.

The charge controller helps prevent overcharging batteries or electronics when production is high, and it also prevents battery drainage when production is low. Some panels are equipped with bypass diodes to provide the same safety features.

The solar energy that’s collected is direct current (DC), while most electronics, including standard light fixtures, use alternating current (AC) power. An inverter is used to convert DC current to AC so that you can use your solar power to power devices directly. If you don’t have DC lights in your boat, for example, an inverter might be necessary to provide lighting.

A battery storage system is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a battery bank that stores solar energy for later use.

Solar batteries are useful for two main reasons on boats.

  • First, if you ever experience cloudy days, your solar production might very well drop below what you need to provide power to your devices. In that case, having a battery to pull stored energy from can be helpful in maintaining charging capability or electricity.
  • Additionally, a battery on board can be useful for maintaining backup power for emergencies. If your boat’s built-in battery ever fails or you need to charge emergency communication or navigation devices, a battery will come in handy.


Since you want your solar panels to be exposed to as much sun as possible, it’s best to install them at or near the highest point on your boat — often the bimini. This will prevent them from getting shade from other parts of your boat during the day, regardless of which direction your vessel is moving.

It’s also typically best to install your panels as close to parallel with the surface of the earth as possible. Since your boat will be moving around a lot, it’s not realistic to install them facing the path of the sun in the sky as you would on a home. Laying them flat gives you the best chance of always collecting at least some sunlight.

You, of course, need to consider available space as well, so remember to take measurements of your installation site and compare them to your panels before beginning the process.

Finally, you should consider where your batteries will be — if applicable — and where your wiring will run once your installation is complete. Keeping these things in mind will help ensure that the installation process goes as smoothly as possible.

Below, we’ll include a brief step-by-step guide on how to install a solar system on your boat.

  • First, take measurements of where your panels will be installed, the path the wiring will take to all components and where your battery, inverter and controller will be placed. Making sure you have enough room for all of your components will help avoid headaches once you get started.
  • We recommend mounting your batteries, inverter and controller first. These are generally the easier components to mount, so they’re the easiest to move once installed.
  • Next, mount your panels. The process for this will depend on the panels you choose and where you plan to install them. You should follow the installation instructions for the mounting brackets or hardware you purchase.
  • Finally, you can wire your system, beginning with the connection between the panels and the controller and then the connections to the inverter and battery.
  • You can test your system by using a voltmeter or by checking to see if your powered devices function as intended. Some controllers will also show you if your panels are providing energy and how much they’re producing.

For more guidance and information on how to set up your boat solar system, you can check out the video below:


Thankfully, solar systems are relatively maintenance-free once installed, although you should carry out routine system checks and cleaning to ensure you continue to enjoy maximum safety and energy production.

You should spray down your panels with water about once every six months to get any accumulation of dirt or salt off of them. This will help maximize energy generation. Around the same time, you should also check the wires and connectors for corrosion, which is more likely to occur if you use your boat in saltwater.

After major storms, it’s a good idea to ensure that none of the connections between components were lost. A simple disconnect could lead to your battery charging issues, which could be an issue if you ever need backup power.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that solar systems on boats are generally considered safe. There is a small risk of fire but provided you carry out the proper maintenance, you should avoid any serious issues.

Are Marine Solar Panels Worth It?

The answer to this question really depends on who you ask. For some boat owners, PV panels are essential. Not only can they provide backup power for emergencies, but they can also improve your quality of life at sea and the enjoyment of your boat.

For many people, these things are indispensable, so solar systems are well worth the investment. For certain types of boats — like small fishing boats and sailboats — solar panels will be the only source of electricity.

Other boat owners feel comfortable relying on generators if they have them, and some use their boats only for short durations, which makes having an on-board solar array less valuable.

For most people, though, having at least a small solar system to provide backup power for emergencies is worthwhile. From there, opting to up the size of your system to improve your time at sea isn’t hard to get behind.

FAQ: Marine Solar Panels

Below, we’ll answer a few of the most common questions we get about solar panel systems made for boats.

What are the best marine solar panels?

In our opinion, the best solar panels for boat use are the SunPower 170W solar panels. These are flexible panels that allow for easy and versatile installation.

They are some of the most efficient panels suitable for boat use, and they provide an incredible 170 watts each. This is enough power for just about anything you need electricity for on your boat and for emergency equipment in low-light conditions.

These panels are a bit expensive, and they don’t come with any additional equipment. However, the junction boxes have a waterproof rating of IP67, come with a five-year warranty for equipment and high efficiency and are made from high-quality, durable materials for years of use.

Will solar panels keep my boat battery charged?

Yes, solar panels can be hooked up to keep your boat’s 12 volt battery charged. However, you need to make sure you install a system that is sized appropriately for your boat’s needs.

You can check how much power your boat draws from its battery system by looking at the loads (in amps or watts) of each device. You can also use your battery monitor if you have one to check the energy demand of each individual component pulling power. Then, choose solar panels that produce a bit more energy than your system needs.

If you live in an area that experiences a lot of cloudy weather, you might want to size up your system even more to ensure your system generates enough electricity.

How much does it cost to put solar panels on a boat?

The cost to install a solar array on your boat can range from around $150 up to well over $1,000. Where in this range your total falls depends primarily on how much energy you need to produce.

If you’re looking for portable solar panels to take on and off a small boat with you for emergency use only — which is typical for sailboats and smaller boats that don’t normally have electricity — you’ll likely be looking at the $150 end of the spectrum.

If you have a much larger boat and want to be able to maintain power for your essential equipment and some non-essentials, then you’ll likely push your all-in cost closer to the higher end of the range.

What are the benefits of solar panels on boats?

Installing solar panels on your boat can provide quite a few key benefits, although the perks you’ll actually experience depend on your situation and your specific boat.

Perhaps most importantly, solar panels can charge your boat’s battery and maintain electricity for emergencies. Most systems — even small ones — can serve to charge your phone, GPS or other emergency devices in case you run into problems out on the water.

Larger systems can also provide power for recreational use, like charging phones, powering speaker systems, keeping beer cold and more.

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Top 3 Best Solar Panels For Sailboats

Best Solar Panels For Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

Choosing whether or not to install solar panels on your sailboat is a big decision. They are not exactly cheap, though they can start to pay themselves off pretty quickly.

This article is going to cover not only why you might want to use solar panels but all the benefits they provide. You will also find a helpful guide on which solar panels would be best for you and your budget. Hopefully, by the end, you will feel confident in your decision to install solar panels on your sailboat and even have an idea of which ones you might like.

Table of contents

Are solar panels on sailboats necessary?

Whether or not you should be installing solar panels on your boat is a matter of choice, not out of necessity. Sailboats get their power from the wind, by harnassing it in their sail. So if you plan to be sailing for the afternoon you probably don’t need solar panels.

You could charge a battery pack from the marina and that will probably see you through several trips. The problems only really start to arise if you are planning to be on your sailboat for longer periods, or even permanently. If you plan to live on your sailboat year-round, even if you spend 80% of it in a marina, you would be better off with some solar panels. Even if it is just as a backup source of power.

Are solar panels on boats safe?

Solar panels are generally pretty safe. They have no moving parts and typically have a very strong protective cover over them so you never come in contact with the electrics themself. So, as a source of power, they are generally pretty safe. The only time they may become unsafe is if they are badly damaged.

Solar panels are often covered by glass plating that keeps them safe. It also helps them absorb sunlight and warmth. This is great, except when the glass breaks. If the glass protective cover on your solar panels should crack and splinter you are at risk of serious injury from sharp shards of glass. Not only is the glass itself dangerous at this point, so are the electronic components inside. They have powerful currents running through them, and if you come in contact with them you may be in for a shock.

Furthermore, if these electronics get wet they can become deadly. Electricity and water do not mix well at all. Being as you are on a sailboat, at sea, the chances of them getting wet is very high. Luckily, the chances of them breaking in the first place are slim to none. The only real way they would break, besides vandalism, is by debris hitting them during a bad storm. There is not often debris at sea, so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

What are the benefits of having solar panels on a sailboat?

There are so many great benefits of having solar panels on a sailboat. They can be a lifesaver if you find yourself at sea for a long time. There benefits range from trivial comforts to being the difference between life and death. Here are some of the benefits you might not have considered about having solar panels installed on your sailboat.


Solar panels are not cheap, it is far cheaper to just run a generator or charge your batteries from the marina the whole time. At least, it is in the short term. Over time, it can start to become very expensive. With solar panels, you are looking at a big initial cost (the solar panels themself) and then it’s smooth sailing. You don’t need to pay for power again. Solar panels last for about 40 years before they start to become too inefficient at producing power. The cost of a few solar panels upfront compared to 40 years of marina fees and gasoline for a generator is the financially savvy move.

Emergency power

If you find yourself at sea, the wind dies down (or becomes too strong), and you find yourself stuck bobbing around waiting for more favorable conditions you may run into trouble. Depending on how long you are out there, you may find yourself with dead electronics. Be it a satellite phone, radio, or secondary engine (depending on the boat). Having a set of solar panels and a power bank can be a genuine lifesaver in these situations.

Comfort amenities

Whether you are day sailing or making a week-long voyage, having access to the comforts in life can make the whole journey so much more enjoyable. The amenities may not be available to you without having a constant source of power at sea. Having access to a kettle, tv, videogame system, radio or microwave oven may be the only thing keeping you going at rougher times. As exciting as sailing can be, when you aren’t sailing and are just bobbing around it can be quite dull. The sea is beautiful, but there is only so much time you can spend looking at the water before you miss the comforts of land. With solar panels, you can bring those comforts with you.


There are only two alternatives to solar panels. A gasoline generator, and taking power from the grid. Neither of these is good for the environment. Luckily, solar panels are a great third option. Solar panels are completely eco-friendly and are great for the environment. This is not just great for the earth, and your conscience, but for the journey itself. If you are running a gasoline generator at sea you are going to be listening to it thrumming away and smell the burning gasoline. Wouldnt you prefer silence and nothing but the smell of the sea breeze?

How much do solar panels cost?

How much solar panels cost is almost entirely tied into both their voltage/wattage and whether or not they are portable panels. Portable solar panels are great for people who don’t spend a lot of time on their boat or are happy enough living off the marina’s power grid. Permanent solar panels, the kind that may need to professionally installed, can end up costing far more. They are also likely to be far superior and you can pretty much forget about them once they are installed.

Portable solar panels will cost just a few hundred dollars each. You will need a few to be sustainable, but that’s not going to be much of a problem. These portable solar panels can just be rolled out on the deck of your boat, weighed down, and then hooked up to a battery pack. The battery itself here is going to be the most expensive part of the whole set up. A decent-sized battery could set you back a $1000. But, when charged fully it will last days. Even with constant use.

Permanently installed solar panels can cost one or two thousand dollars in some cases. The advantage here though is once they are installed that’s it, you can forget about them. You don’t have to put them up, take them down, and find somewhere to stow them every time they need using. They too will need to be hooked up to a battery, the battery is still only going to cost you $1000. If you are installing permanent solar panels because you plan to be making long voyages, it is ideal to have two or perhaps even three large batteries hooked up to your boat. One to run off, one or two for emergencies.

How do I maintain my solar panels?

Solar panels, unlike gasoline generators, are generally pretty easy to maintain. They have no moving parts and are thus pretty self-sufficient. They don’t need taking apart and they last as long as 40 years. That being said, if they do break they need repairing as soon as possible. The exposed electrics can be deadly when water is thrown into the mix. Which, on a boat, is almost always. The glass cover will need replacing and the electronics inside may need repairing, though not always. Don’t ever attempt to do this yourself unless you are experienced at making these repairs. The cost of hiring someone to do it for you is preferable to being dead. Solar panels have very powerful electric currents, that when in contact with water and yourself can be fatal. As mentioned above, these panels rarely break so you will likely not ever run into this problem. If you do, hire a contractor.

Do my solar panels need cleaning?

Solar panels work by converting the light and heat of the sun into useable power. The process itself is rather complicated but the results are simple to understand. That being said, there are some reasons that your solar panels will stop working as effectively. They all revolve around a lack of sunlight. It could be because it is night time. It could be because it is very cloudy. Or, it could be because they are dirty. If solar panels become too dusty, dirty, and become too covered in grime they stop operating at maximum efficiency. This is not as much of a problem at sea, the sea spray stops dust settling. The biggest thing you will need to clean off your solar panels is salt build-up and slime. This is easy enough to do with some warm soapy water. Freshwater, not seawater. You want to be removing as much salt as possible. Salt is corrosive to electronics, so removing it is important. Never clean your solar panels using pressure washers as they can crack the glass.

Which are the best solar panels for sailing?

There are so many options on the market at various price points. Here are three very different options that will all make good choices, depending on your needs. It is important to consider not just price but power output. Spending a lot of money on solar panels now might not feel ideal, but it is the most cost-effective decision.

1. Renogy Starter Kit

This starter kit is going to be perfect for installing on almost any sized boat. There are four solar panels, each can be fitted permanently to the boat. They can be mounted (and unmounted) easily, for your convenience. They do require a flat surface, but they are small enough that that likely won’t be too much of a problem. This starter kit is very middle of the pack price-wise but should provide enough power for a small to medium-sized vessel easily. It is also possible to buy extra panels individually should you need them.

Wattage: 400/4 (100 per panel)

2. Nature Power Rigid

The nature power rigid is a large, powerful, single solar panel. If you are looking for the right panels to power your entire boat comfortably, these are the ones for you. They are very large so they will need a large flat surface area. alternatively, they can be hung vertically from rails. This is an inefficient way of using them, so you would need to buy more this way. Nature power makes various solar panels so you could find some smaller ones of the same brand to supplement it. This one is not so easy to install, you might need to hire someone to install it for you.

Wattage: 165

3. Nature Power Monocrystalline

Nature power makes a portable solar panel that fits inside a special briefcase. It is perfect for stowing away easily and only taking it out when it is needed. It is decently powerful considering its portable, but there is the inconvenience factor of having to set it up each time. If you planned to buy the nature power rigid, buying one of these portable panels might be ideal for supplementing your power supply when it is especially sunny. Though, it may be cheaper for you to just fit more of the Nature Power Rigids.

Wattage: 120

Hopefully, you now have a good idea about whether solar panels would be right for you and your sailboat. Sailing is great, but the lack of power at sea can be dreadfully boring. Luckily, there are so many great options available on the market. Not just the ones mentioned above. Buying a solar panel is an investment, the initial cost is minor compared to the steady return from all the savings you will make.

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I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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9 Best Solar Panels for Sailboats

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Solar panels have become game changers when it comes to supplying power while off the grid. Marine solar panels can charge anything from batteries to computers to bigger electronic appliances. What are the best solar panels for sailboats? 

The 9 best solar panels for sailboats are: 

  • Renogy Flexible Solar Panel
  • Newpowa Solar Panel
  • SunPower Flexible Sol ar Panel
  • Eco-Worthy Off-Grid Solar Panel
  • Rich Solar Polycrystalline
  • Topsolar Flexible Solar Panel
  • HQST Monocrystalline Solar Panel
  • WindyNation Solar Panel Complete Off-Grid
  • DOKIO Solar Panel Kit

This article will explore everything you need to know about the best marine solar panels. 

Table of Contents

Solar Panels on Sailboats: An Overview

Before exploring the best solar panels, it is helpful to consider how solar panels on sailboats work and how many you need. Solar panels sit on different parts of a sailboat’s surface and absorb the sun’s rays, converting them into energy. This energy is used to power chargers, fridges, cooking stoves, and other electronics you need for self-sufficient sailing. 

Worth noting is that today we will only discuss solar panels and not the batteries, which of course is an essential part of a complete system; we will also not discuss charges or charge controllers.

The products in this post will get you started in the right direction, but if you’re looking for a high-output system, then I suggest you contact someone that can help you calculate your energy requirements.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for My Sailboat?

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You will need between 2-8 solar panels for your sailboat. The exact amount depends on your sailboat’s space and how many electronics you need to power. Most solar panels can absorb between 100-300 watts per hour. On average, you will need approximately 1500 watts of power each day. 

If your solar panels absorb 1500 watts daily, here’s what they can power on your sailboat: 

  • A laptop charger
  • A microwave 
  • A coffee maker 
  • An induction cooker 

If you want to power more heavy-duty electronics like a washing machine or a television, look for solar panels that absorb 400 watts. For heavy-duty electronics, try installing 5-8 solar panels. 

Flexible vs. Rigid Solar Panels

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The three main types of solar panels are rigid panels, flexible panels, and semi-flexible panels.

Rigid panels are surrounded by aluminum and made with sturdy tempered glass. They are resilient against various weather conditions but require flat space to install. 

Semi-flexible panels can be slightly bent to fit the shape of the installation surface. However, they can’t absorb a lot of power. 

One very common type of solar panel used on boats is the flexible panel . Flexible panels are thin and lightweight, and, as their name suggests, they can be added to a wide variety of surfaces. 

Here are the pros of flexible panels: 

  • They are thin and light. Flexible panels are approximately one-eighth the weight and size of rigid and semi-flexible panels. This allows you to add them to various sailboat sizes and surfaces. It also reduces the load on your sailboat. 
  • They are easy to install. Flexible panels are easy to work with and can be self-installed by following the instructions that come with the panels. Meanwhile, rigid and semi-flexible panels may require expert installations. 
  • They’re sturdy. Despite being light, flexible panels can bear a lot of pressure – you can easily walk over them. 

However, there are also some drawbacks to using flexible solar panels: 

  • May fly away . As flexible panels are fragile, they can easily be dislodged and fly away, especially in strong winds. 
  • Vulnerable to scratches . While flexible panels can bear much weight, they may get scratched more easily. Over time this may affect their functionality. 
  • Not easy to reposition. Flexible panels are generally adhered to the surface of a sailboat using a specially prepared adhesive. Because of this, it is challenging to reposition the solar panels when there is a change of season.
  • Less efficient. Flexible solar panels don’t convert energy to electricity or rigid panels. It may be harder to power heavy-duty appliances from a flexible solar panel. 

How Many Panels Can I Fit on a Sailboat (Catamaran and Monohull)?

The amount of panels you can fit on your sailboat depends on the size of the panels and the surface space you have available. 

You can fit at least two 400W panels on a Monohull and at least four on a Catamaran around 35ft in length. You will be able to fit 4-8 more solar panels if you add a solar panel bracket at the stern. 

Renogy Flexible Solar Panel 100W

Renogy is a popular solar panel producer that designs high-quality solar panels. The Renogy Flexible Solar Panel is specially designed for marine vehicles, including sailboats. 

Here are the best features of this solar panel: 

  • Flexibility . These solar panels are fragile, making them flexible and easy to mount on served surfaces. 
  • Easy to install. These are made with high-quality Monocrystalline, allowing them to be easily bent and easy to install. 
  • Lightweight. One solar panel weighs only 4 pounds, ensuring that no extra pressure or weight is displaced on your boat. 
  • Durability . User reviews have noted that these panels are highly durable and can last you a few years. 
  • Users have noted that these panels do not have the best outputs. They also can’t be stacked, which impacts their accessibility. To ensure that these panels can be connected, you may purchase extra extension cords. 

Newpowa Rigid 160W Solar Panel

The Newpowa Right Solar Panel is a new design with a maximum power of 160W. It is weather-resistant and can be used on various surfaces and vehicles. 

Here are the pros of the Newpowa Solar Panel: 

  • Weatherproof . The design features of this solar panel ensure that it survives under a range of different weather conditions. It has a heavy-duty frame preventing it from strong wind and waves. Its mainframe has a further layer of protection for the Junction box. 
  • Long warranty . Newpowa offers a 25-year transferrable output power warranty. 
  • Easy to install . These solar panels are made with mono cells and bypass diodes. Consequently, the solar panels can be immediately unpacked and are ready to install. 
  • High wattage. As these solar panels have 160 Watts of power, you need less of them to power all the devices on your boat. 
  • If you are planning on buying the Newpowa Solar Panel, you should note that they only make rigid panels. As a result, you may find it to be difficult to install them on curved spaces.

SunPower 110W Flexible Solar Panel

SunPower’s Flexible Solar Panels are made with high-quality materials ensuring durability. They are especially ideal for sailboats as their warranty also covers saltwater damage. 

Here are the standout features of the SunPower 110W Flexible Solar Panel: 

  • Flexibility . This solar panel can be bent up to 30 degrees, making it easy to install on various surfaces. 
  • Easily portable. These solar panels are incredibly lightweight (4.4 pounds or 2 kilograms) and can be easily uninstalled and transported. 
  • Extended warranty . SunPower offers a five-year warranty on power and a two-year warranty on the product. The warranty includes damage caused by saltwater which many other solar panel warranties do not. 
  • Some users have noted that the output quality of these solar panels deteriorates over time. However, you can use the extended warranty to address any quality deterioration. 

ECO-WORTHY Rigid 25W Off-Grid Solar Panel

This is a rigid, 25-watt solar panel that is waterproof, making it ideal for your boat. It is highly durable and has inbuilt indicators that highlight the battery’s status. Its low output makes it only suitable for charging phones or smaller electronics.

Here are some notable features of the Eco-Worthy Solar Panel: 

  • Ease of use. This solar panel is easy to install and requires no maintenance. 
  • Warranty. Eco-Worthy offers one year of warranty on all of its products and free maintenance if needed. 
  • USB control. This solar panel is attached to a USB control panel, preventing it from overcharging and getting damaged. 
  • Waterproof. All solar panel parts are entirely waterproof and can handle exposure to both saltwater and freshwater. 

Some of the drawbacks to this solar panel include: 

  • Low watt absorption. Unlike many of the other solar panels on this list, this one can only absorb up to 25 watts of power at a time. So, it can only power smaller devices like batteries. 
  • Instruction manual. Some users have noted that the instructions to set up the Eco-worth solar panel are confusing for beginners. If you have never installed solar panels before, it’s best to call in an expert to help. 

RICH SOLAR 100W Rigid 12V Polycrystalline

This 100W rigid solar panel is designed to absorb energy even in low light conditions. It is easy to install and ideal for marine environments. 

Here’s why you should consider buying Rich Solar Panels: 

  • Works well in low light. This solar panel has been tested in various low light conditions, including cloudiness and during sunrise and sunset. It is certified to be able to harvest energy in low light conditions. 
  • Extended warranty. Rich Solar Panels offers a 25-year warranty on limited power output and a five-year warranty on quality. 
  • Water and weatherproof . The Rich Solar panels have used selective design elements to ensure they are water-resistant. They have high transparency and are made with tempered glass to withstand high winds and water pressure. 
  • Cost-effective . These are significantly cost-effective, making it easy to equip your sailboat fully. 
  • While solar panels can easily resist strong winds and water, they can be vulnerable to hail. Hail storms can cause dents on the solar panels, which can eventually cause damage. 

Topsolar Flexible 100W Solar Panel

Topsolar provides premium flexible solar panels that are easy to move and install. They are ideal for installing on water vessels like sailboats with waterproof materials. 

Here are some of the pros of choosing the Topsolar Flexible Solar Panel: 

  • Flexibility . The arc radius of this solar panel is 16 inches (40 centimeters) and can be bent to fit several curved surfaces allowing your solar panel to harvest the most sun. 
  • Efficiency . These solar panels are made with ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) materials. They are extremely energy efficient and can rapidly convert energy. 
  • Some users have noted that these solar panels don’t have as long a life as other panels. In addition, some panels may only be able to absorb up to 75 watts of power at a time. 

HQST Rigid 100w Monocrystalline Solar Panel

This is a 100-watt solar panel that has been specially designed to perform well in low light. It is made with high-quality materials and is ideal for sailing boats as it is durable even in unfavorable weather conditions. 

Here are the pros of installing the HQST Solar Panel: 

  • Durability . These solar panels are designed to withstand strong winds and snowfall. They’re made with tempered glass and aluminum and are resistant to corrosion, ensuring longevity. 
  • Testing and warranty. Each solar panel is quality tested before it is distributed. It also comes with a three-year warranty. 
  • Easy to install . While these are rigid solar panels, they have pre-drilled holes, making them easier to install. 

WindyNation 100W Solar Panel Complete Off-Grid

As its name suggests, this solar panel is designed for off-the-grid living and is helpful if you need to access power when you’re in the middle of the sea. 

Here is why you should consider the WindyNation Solar Panel: 

  • Includes a charge controller. This controller lets you quickly see the amount of power the solar panel has absorbed. 
  • High power. Several positive user reviews have indicated that this solar panel is highly efficient in absorbing and converting power. 
  • This solar panel is more expensive than many others on the market.

DOKIO 300W 18V Portable Solar Panel Kit

If you are looking for a heavy-duty solar panel, the Dokio Solar Panel Kit is excellent. It can absorb a lot of energy and power a wide range of appliances on your sailboat. 

Here’s why you should consider this solar panel: 

  • Versatile and flexible. While this is a rigid solar panel, it can be folded, making it easy to transport and install. 
  • High efficiency. This solar panel is highly efficient at converting energy into power. As it absorbs up to 300 watts, you can install just two of these panels to get significant energy. 
  • Some users have noted that this solar panel does not work well in low-light conditions. You may want to have a backup solar panel for days when it’s rainy and windy. 

Here are Some of My Favorite Catamaran Cruising Resources

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you hopefully start your sailing adventures. Here are some resources that I use as a sailor that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the exact things that I use and recommend to everyone, even my own family. Sailboats: If you’re looking for the best boat to suit your needs, I would recommend a catamaran. If you’re interested, I can show you the differences between catamarans and other types of sailboats .

Books:  For getting started, I really like  Cruising catamarans made easy . It is actually a textbook from the American sailing association; it is used to get a cruising catamaran certification. There are some other great books, and I have compiled a list of books about cruising catamarans that you will find useful.

Communication:  Being out on adventures, whether it be sailing or climbing mountains, good communications are essential to being safe. I recommend two things Google fi (incredibly simple cellular data all over the world) and Garmin inreach mini (for text and voice in remote areas without cell coverage)

Sailing courses: Online sailing courses are great for beginners starting out their sailing career; it’s an efficient way of learning the basics of navigation, throttle controls, and maritime safety. I suggest starting with two free courses from NauticEd .

To see all my most up-to-date recommendations,  check out this resource  that I made for you!

Owner of A minimalist that has lived in a caravan in Sweden, 35ft Monohull in the Bahamas, and right now in his self-built Van. He just started the next adventure, to circumnavigate the world on a Catamaran!

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Solar and wind powered boat’s final voyage across the sea

The Energy Observer has one more stop in Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, a French territory just south of Newfoundland, before powering across the North Atlantic to retire.

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The Energy Observer, a solar and wind-powered catamaran, is nearing the end of its extensive global journey, having sailed over 64,000 nautical miles while circumnavigating the globe. The vessel has demonstrated the viability of renewable energy-powered maritime travel, even across the most challenging oceanic conditions.

Last week, pv magazine USA met with Luc Bourserie, the systems engineer of the Energy Observer, in Boston Harbor. The 100-foot-long boat is powered by a sophisticated energy system that uses power from solar and wind, stores long-term energy in hydrogen and stores short-term energy in batteries.

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The Energy Observer features 2174 square feet (202 square meters) of Solbian flex modules and newer bifacial modules. Rated at just over 33 kW, the real-world peak output of the panels is around 26 kW due to the panels’ fixed-angle placement all over the craft, optimizing for maximum cumulative output rather than peak efficiency.

At one point, solar panel upgrades were necessary. Initially, the vessel was equipped with hard-framed glass bifacial modules. Ocean water splashing forcefully broke some of the panels installed in front of the solar wings, so they were replaced with custom-made mono-face flexible panels. The bifacial panels that remained intact were kept at the rear, where reflection has a greater impact.

The design team selected flexible Solbian modules for their adaptability and durability and found that they were an ideal choice for curved surfaces, and their availability in various shapes and sizes ensured coverage for nearly any area. The modules are also robust enough to be walked on, a crucial feature for constrained spaces on the ship.

The ship uses 13 DC to DC converters, rated at 3 kW each, manufactured by BRUSA Electronik AG, an electronic mobility specialist based in Switzerland. These converters increase the voltage of solar output from 20 to 30 volts up to the 400 Vdc required by the main 100 kWh lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (LiNMC) batteries used for propulsion and the 24 Vdc 20 kWh battery used for control systems. The converters are equipped with Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) controllers that optimize the conversion efficiency of solar modules under various lighting conditions. 

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In strong winds, the Energy Observer can harness additional energy by engaging its propellers (in reverse), turning them into turbines that generate power. The ship’s innovative sails, known as Oceanwings, were first tested on this vessel and have since been adopted by the Canopée , a French container ship that transports rockets across the Atlantic. These sails cut fuel consumption by up to 30% compared to traditional diesel ships.

Bourserie said that the Oceanwings automatically adjust to maximize energy capture. These prototype sails have required ongoing development and some replacement components to withstand the rigors of maritime conditions.

The vessel is equipped with an innovative hydrogen storage and compression system that stores hydrogen at 350 bars in eight composite tanks, using a two-stage compression process developed with Nova Swiss to handle the transition from 30 bars (the electrolyzer’s output pressure) to 350 bars. The tanks offer a superior energy-to-weight ratio compared to batteries, storing ten times the energy at half the weight, and the multi-stage compressors are dramatically lighter weight than traditional models designed for fixed stations. This allows for efficient compression and storage of up to 62 kg of hydrogen.

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The 62 kg of onboard hydrogen storage can power the ship’s fuel cells for approximately six days, providing 1 MWh of electricity and 1 MWh of thermal energy. Supplied by Toyota, the cells are a modified version of those used in the company’s Mirai vehicle.

While covering over 64,000 nautical miles, the Energy Observer generally navigated close to coastlines. However, it also undertook several significant open-ocean voyages across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. These segments taught the crew to strategically manage their energy resources.

For instance, Bourserie told pv magazine USA , on days with good conditions – strong sun and wind that allows them to avoid using motors – “ We don’t do electrolysis in navigation, [as it’s a] matter of protecting the compressors, and besides, the excess energy would not be so much. To continue harvesting power from the sun, we’ll cook in the afternoon for the evening or use the washing machine, producing fresh water from sea water at that time.”

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On CNET, ship scientist Katia Nicolet underscored the daily importance of energy management on board. There were often instances where the crew would need to consult Bourserie on energy usage, asking questions like, “Can we run the dishwasher? Can we have a hot meal tonight, or are the batteries too low?”

The crew faced unique challenges from the COVID pandemic as well, including an extended period of greater than 45 days without docking, highlighting the resilience and self-sufficiency of both the crew and the vessel’s renewable energy systems.

As the Energy Observer prepares for its final Atlantic voyage from Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, it stands as a testament to the potential of renewable energy in powering our future on the seas.

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John Fitzgerald Weaver

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Is it being scrapped? Why is this its final voyage? Did they learn so much they will build another?

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yachts with solar panels

yachts with solar panels

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RICH SOLAR 100 Watt 12 Volt Premium Monocrystalline Solar Panel All Black

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RICH SOLAR 100 Watt 12 Volt Premium Monocrystalline Solar Panel All Black

100W Single Black

100W 2-Pack Panel

100W 2-Pack Black

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About this item.

  • 【Industry Standard】Size: 40.2'' x 20.1'' x 1.2'', 3' cable with connectors, generate 5.15 amp power, charge 12 volt battery. Industry standard, quick connect cables, work in series or in parallel.
  • 【High Performance】Excellent low light performance on cloudy days, mornings and evenings. Certified to withstand challenging environmental conditions.
  • 【Rugged Durability】Built with strong high transmission anti-reflective coated tempered glass and anodized aluminum frame.
  • 【Simple Installation】Fast and easy installation. 14 pre-drilled holes compatible with ground mounts, Z-brackets, side pole mounts and tilt mounts.
  • 【Warranty】25-year limited power output; 5-year material and workmanship.

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  • solar energy

Strong solar storm could disrupt communications and produce northern lights in the US

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- An unusually strong solar storm hitting Earth could produce northern lights in the U.S. this weekend and potentially disrupt power and communications.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a rare severe geomagnetic storm warning when a solar outburst reached Earth on Friday afternoon, hours sooner than anticipated. The effects were due to last through the weekend and possibly into next week.

NOAA alerted operators of power plants and spacecraft in orbit to take precautions, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"For most people here on planet Earth, they won't have to do anything," said Rob Steenburgh, a scientist with NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center.

The storm could produce northern lights as far south in the U.S. as Alabama and Northern California, according to NOAA. But it was hard to predict and experts stressed it would not be the dramatic curtains of color normally associated with the northern lights, but more like splashes of greenish hues.

"That's really the gift from space weather - the aurora," said Steenburgh. He and his colleagues said the best aurora views may come from phone cameras, which are better at capturing light than the naked eye.

SEE PREVIOUS REPORT: Could a solar storm this week cause tech disruptions? NOAA expert explains

Snap a picture of the sky and "there might be actually a nice little treat there for you," said Mike Bettwy, operations chief for the prediction center.

The most intense solar storm in recorded history, in 1859, prompted auroras in Central America and possibly even Hawaii. "We are not anticipating that" but it could come close, said NOAA space weather forecaster Shawn Dahl.

This storm - ranked 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 - poses a risk for high-voltage transmission lines for power grids, not the electrical lines ordinarily found in people's homes, Dahl told reporters. Satellites also could be affected, which in turn could disrupt navigation and communication services here on Earth.

An extreme geomagnetic storm in 2003, for example, took out power in Sweden and damaged power transformers in South Africa.

Even when the storm is over, signals between GPS satellites and ground receivers could be scrambled or lost, according to NOAA. But there are so many navigation satellites that any outages should not last long, Steenburgh noted.

The sun has produced strong solar flares since Wednesday, resulting in at least seven outbursts of plasma. Each eruption - known as a coronal mass ejection - can contain billions of tons of plasma and magnetic field from the sun's outer atmosphere, or corona.

The flares seem to be associated with a sunspot that's 16 times the diameter of Earth, according to NOAA. It's all part of the solar activity that's ramping up as the sun approaches the peak of its 11-year cycle.

NASA said the storm posed no serious threat to the seven astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The biggest concern is the increased radiation levels, and the crew could move to a better-shielded part of the station if necessary, according to Steenburgh.

Increased radiation also could threaten some of NASA's science satellites. Extremely sensitive instruments will be turned off, if necessary, to avoid damage, said Antti Pulkkinen, director of the space agency's heliophysics science division.

Several sun-focused spacecraft are monitoring all the action.

"This is exactly the kinds of things we want to observe," Pulkkinen said.

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Bio-inspired and bionic materials for enhanced photosynthesis

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The path towards new photonic materials starts underwater

The key to efficiently harvesting and storing solar energy could be found in those marine organisms that have maximised their ability to absorb, store, and convert light.

yachts with solar panels

As the world looks to wean itself from fossil fuels, a key question remains: how can we efficiently turn renewable resources into renewable energy? To answer this question, scientists with the EU-funded BEEP project turned to the natural world. “Our goal was to understand how those organisms that use light as their energy source maximise the amount of solar energy they absorb, store, and convert,” says Silvia Vignolini , a professor and physicist at the University of Cambridge . With this information in hand, the project, which received support from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme , hoped to open the door to developing innovative new photonic materials and technologies capable of optimising the harvesting and storing of solar energy.

Stunning strategies for harvesting light

Diving into the topic, the project team, which included nine early-stage researchers, started by looking at examples from the marine world. Specifically, they looked at various corals, microalgae, seaweeds, and sea slugs that have evolved to maximise photosynthesis in a limited space while also avoiding excessive exposure to sunlight. “These organisms have developed stunning strategies for the efficient harvesting of light and protection with their compact and highly pigmented spatial structures,” explains Vignolini. “They’ve also adapted to operate over a range of habitats and different light regimes.”

A colourful advantage

One of these strategies is structural colour. “Marine life is populated by a huge diversity of organisms with an incredible range of colour, with the brightest colours often being obtained by the way light interacts with ordered nanostructured materials,” adds Vignolini. BEEP project researchers showed that this colour is more than just pretty, but that it plays an important biological role. For example, in the red algae Irish moss, the organism’s structural colour serves as a photoprotective mechanism. “We demonstrated that the blue iridescent colour on the tips of its fronds attenuates more energetic light.” remarks Vignolini. “At the same time, the organism favours green and red light harvesting through its external antennae, which possess an intensity-dependent photoprotection mechanism.” The project also studied the photonic and structural properties of other algae species. This work led to the characterisation of stunning cellular structures that have never been described before.

Turning research into better-performing biomimetic materials and systems

The project has already translated some of its research into practical solutions. For example, researchers developed iridescent bacteria biofilms and converted them into photonic pigments for material applications – a promising result that could lead to the development of sustainable alternatives to the conventional paints and toxic dyes used today. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. “I am confident that our research will pave the way towards better-performing biomimetic materials and systems, including bio-photoreactors for the sustainable production of biomass and energy.” concludes Vignolini.

BEEP, photonic materials, solar energy, marine organisms, renewable resources, renewable energy, corals, microalgae, seaweeds, photosynthesis, biomimetic materials

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yachts with solar panels

State legislators pass new measures making affordable solar program more accessible to Virginian region: 'It's a step forward in building an equitable clean-energy economy'

V irginia is gearing up to harness the power of solar energy like never before with the launch of shared solar programs across the state. 

As reported by Renewable Energy World , the General Assembly has approved measures that will make solar energy more accessible to residents, marking a significant step toward a cleaner and more equitable energy future.

Solar power is extremely impactful. In the past year, India saved a huge $4.2 billion by switching to solar energy, reducing its reliance on coal. This is a big deal because coal is a major source of pollution. Solar energy is also creating lots of new jobs and helping economies grow all around the world.

Additionally, as more solar projects are built, solar power is getting cheaper. By 2030, it's predicted that a third of the world's electricity will come from the sun and wind, making clean energy more affordable for everyone. Plus, new ideas like floating solar panels and community solar projects — like the one in Virginia — are finding new ways to use the sun's energy without taking up a lot of land.

Community solar is like joining a community garden for solar power. Virginians can sign up to receive solar energy from panels installed in a shared location — just like how members of a community garden share the produce grown in a communal space. This model is particularly attractive for those unable to install rooftop solar panels due to financial constraints, shaded properties, or housing restrictions.

In Dominion Energy's territory, the existing shared solar program is set to expand from 200 MW to 350 MW, with half of the additional capacity designated for lower-income subscribers. Similarly, Appalachian Power will launch a 50 MW shared solar program, marking a significant step forward for a region historically reliant on coal.

Watch now: Solar-powered boats from the Honnold Foundation are making a difference in the Amazon

Advocates believe that these programs will not only make renewable energy more accessible but will also create opportunities for economic development and job growth in the clean energy sector . Shared solar subscribers are expected to see savings on their monthly electric bills while contributing to the expansion of renewable energy in the state.

Additionally, there is optimism that Virginia's shared solar programs will continue to grow with 

the help of federal funding. A recent $156 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will boost residential solar programs serving marginalized communities, furthering the state's commitment to clean energy and equity.

Robin Dutta, the executive director of the Chesapeake Solar and Storage Association , emphasized the bipartisan support for clean-energy initiatives, saying: "It's a great example of how clean energy should be bipartisan because it's a step forward in building an equitable clean-energy economy."

Virginia's move toward shared solar represents a significant step toward a cleaner, fairer energy future for all residents. As the state continues to navigate the complexities of energy policy, advocates remain hopeful that incremental progress will pave the way for a more sustainable tomorrow.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

State legislators pass new measures making affordable solar program more accessible to Virginian region: 'It's a step forward in building an equitable clean-energy economy' first appeared on The Cool Down .

State legislators pass new measures making affordable solar program more accessible to Virginian region: 'It's a step forward in building an equitable clean-energy economy'


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