The Solar Sal 24 in an electric cuddy cabin boat built by Belmont Boatworks in Belmont, Maine. The boat scored the wave-making designation of “first 100% solar US Coast Guard-inspected passenger vessel.”
Powered by an electric motor using batteries recharged by solar panels, it carries enough photovoltaic cells to provide infinite range, at least as long as the sun is shining.
Part of the Solar Sal 24’s impressive solar performance comes down to the sheer size of its canopy.
Stretching nearly the entire length of the 24 ft (7.3 meter) boat, the canopy supports four large 360W solar panels, totaling 1,440 watts of solar charging.
Those panels help charge up four Torqeedo Power 24-3500 lithium batteries providing 14 kWh of onboard storage capacity. But as long as the boat sticks to its 5-knot cruising speed (6 mph or 10 km/h), the output from the solar panels is actually sufficient on its own to power the motor without needing to draw battery power. That gives the boat infinite range as long as the sun is out, and a pretty darn long run time into the night on battery power, depending on the speed.
For those that want to push even harder though, the boat can manage one more knot at full power, bringing the top speed to 6 knots (7 mph or 11 km/h).
When operating at night, the boat has a range of 24 miles (39 km) at full speed or 45 miles (72 km) at cruising speed.
When dropping to four knots, the boat has a range of 100 miles (160 km). That should take nearly 24 hours, though, meaning the sun is probably going to be back out by then and beginning to recharge the battery.
Another advantage of the solar panels is that the boat isn’t limited to tying up at docks with shore power, but instead can be moored or docked anywhere while still charging its batteries up to full.
Standard equipment on the Solar Sal 24 includes 2 pedestal sliding captains chairs, cushions for bench seats with back rests, USB chargers mounted on both sides of the boat, running lights, anchor light, overhead lights, a table, 8 cup holders, non-skid surfaces on sole and deck, and a bilge pump.
Optional add-ons not bundled in the US $135,000 price include a 9” Chartplotter and transducer, anchor and rode, bow roller, bow thruster, Laveo dry flush marine toilet, window enclosure, and a trailer.
Solar electric boats are an increasingly common find, offering silent and efficient boating without the worry of recharging from shore power.
We’ve seen several options in the higher end of the market, though they usually come with much higher price tags as well. While the Solar Sal 24 isn’t an impulse buy at $135k, it also doesn’t come with the same million-dollar price tag of several solar electric yachts out there.
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