Solar-powered boats to sail clean on blue waters

Solar energy seems to be getting on the minds of the designers who are always looking for ways to use this abundant energy to power vehicles. We’ve seen designers come up with sustainable cars and buses that are powered by renewable solar energy for a truly zero-emission ride. Apart from land transport, there have been concepts aimed to green your weekend marine picnics as well. Here is a list of 15 boats that generate propulsion power from an onboard array of solar panels:

PlanetSolar Catamaran

At 31m long, the PlanetSolar is the world’s largest solar-powered multi-hulled vessel. The boat’s solar panels are expected to produce up to 103.4KW of renewable power. The solar panels allow the PlanetSolar to hit a top speed of about 8 knots. The boat’s 38,000 photovoltaic cells have been provided by SunPower, which are claimed to have an efficiency of at least 22 percent.

ARKKI Solar Boat

Designed by Janne Leppänen, the ARKKI concept features a huge open space covered with a surface like that on an outdoor basketball court. The entire surface of the boat is covered with multilayer photovoltaic cells that can produce the required energy from the sun to power the boat.

Solar Powered Personal Boat

Costing $10,500, the Solar Powered Personal Boat can ferry up to four adults. The boat is powered by a 700W electric motor that enables the boat to move silently at 5mph. The motor is powered by four deep cycle batteries that are constantly recharged by the sun during daylight hours. The batteries hold a reserve charge that can power the boat for 6 hours after dark.

Buffalo’s Solar-Powered Boat

Designed by Buffalo Solar Boats, this pontoon boat is capable of touring inland waterways and lakes by harnessing solar power from a rooftop array of photovoltaic modules. The PV modules can generate up to 1KW of power, which can be stored in a large onboard battery for use during overcast days.

Solar Proa Catamaran

The Solar Proa is a self-sufficient boat designed by Carolin Dissmann, Tibor Bartholomä, Daniel Boos and Andreas Schwab that harnesses solar energy for green power. The Proa is an asymmetric catamaran that provides space for six people with light weight, elegance and sustainability the key aspects of the design. The solar-powered boat has two foldable covers with solar panels on top. When docked, the covers are closed and the entire boat features just one clean and flat surface enabling the solar panels to generate electricity.

Onda Velocita Powerboat

The Onda Velocita Powerboat is a luxury boat that features the latest in technology with traditional design elements to make your ride green and comfortable. The hybrid boat uses a pair of water jet propulsion units, which can be turned off on sunny days, as the boat carries a photovoltaic system on its roof, which generates enough electricity to power the engines and other systems that are installed in it.

Sea Raider

Designed by Muhammad Imran, the Sea Raider is equipped with photovoltaic modules to collect solar energy during the day to power the boat and recharge onboard batteries. During the day the boat can power itself using the harnessed solar energy and during nighttime the boat’s batteries take over the system, ensuring a zero-emission cruise irrespective of the time of the day.

SunCat23 Catamaran

Developed by Horizon Yachts, the SunCat23 Catamaran utilizes four solar panels capable of generating 760W of power to fuel a 2.8KW electric outdoor motor. The electric motor propels the catamaran to a top speed of 6 knots while carrying 12 passengers. A fully charged battery bank will be able to power the boat for a day trip, even on a cloudy day.

Iron 23 Motorboat

The Iron 23 Motorboat by industrial designer Carl Hagerling features space for three passengers, runs on a solar-powered electric engine and also includes a kitchen and a toilet. The eco-friendly boat features a compact solar array that according to the designer generates enough energy to power the boat. The boat is also equipped with a conventional engine that can be used if the sun isn’t shining or if the juice in the onboard batteries depletes.

N-DOUR Hybrid

The N-DOUR by designer Riccardo Pilurzu is a yacht with multiple purposes. The design was created with the idea of developing a luxurious yacht that will sustain itself for a longer period of time out at sea. The idea is to utilize wind and solar energy to create hydrogen which will later propel the yacht with a hydrogen power plant. The N-DOUR has another trick up its sleeves, when the vessel is docked in the harbor and no electricity is been consumed by the vessel, the yacht will start producing energy for the harbor, therefore providing clean energy to the grid.

SolarLab Research’s Solar Shuttle

The Solar Shuttle by SolarLab Research is a solar-powered boat that has been designed for the 2012 Olympics. The 255-passenger boat features a rooftop array of solar panels that generate the electricity needed for propulsion.


The Leviathan concept yacht is the work of industrial designer Adam Valmassoi, who believes that the sun and wind have the potential to green your next cruise. The eco-friendly self-sufficient yacht runs on two electric jet pump engines, which are powered by wind turbines and solar panels on board the yacht.

The Float

The Float flat-surfaced boat is a solar-powered double motor concept boat that harvests renewable solar energy using an array of solar panels placed neatly on the roof. Solar power and electric engines don’t make it the fastest boat you’ve ever ridden, but provide a decent cruising speed of up to 10kph. Meant for a marine picnic, the boat is equipped with a table, a grill and a small refrigerator.


The IKKAR by designer Julien Anglade is a low-emission futuristic yacht concept that has been designed to bridge the gap between man and sea. The innovative concept yacht features a simple yet elegant design that can change its shape according to the location for the comfort of the passengers. The 150m-long IKKAR includes a streamlined hull for better fuel efficiency, and its main sail is equipped with rigid photovoltaic panels that help generate energy to power the boat.

Code X Yacht

The 47′ 7” Code X yacht comes with a hybrid engine that can either give you a thumping 710hp by twin Ilmor Formula 1 engines to propel the yacht at a speed in excess of 80 knots or a more leisurely 9 knots using its twin electric motors. The battery pack has the capability to run continuously for two hours and can be recharged using the on-board solar panels for additional leisure.

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