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Sustainable Energy Systems Presents

100 % Solar Marine Propulsion
Solar Sal Diagram

Frequently asked questions

  1. Does this really work?
    Absolutely! Our two prototypes have demonstrated that 100% solar boats are practical, aesthetically pleasing and fun.
  2. What do you mean "100% Solar"?
    100% Solar means that all of the energy necessary for propulsion and general cruising needs is generated on board by the solar panels.
  3. Is there any noise?
    All our boats are quiet. Electric motors do make an audible "hum," however this does not interrupt conversations at normal voice tones. This makes cruising on our boats much more satisfying than trying to shout over an engine.
  4. What about clouds?
    All our boats have battery back up for cloudy days and darkness. However, even without batteries there is enough sunshine filtering through clouds to move the boat at 2-4 knots.
  1. Will I need a back-up generator?
    Our boats get enough energy from the sun for all propulsion and general boating needs under normal cruising conditions between the equinoxes. If you wish to use more power to say run an air conditioner or be underway 24/7 then you may consider adding a generator. Likewise if you plan to cruise extended days in the darker seasons.
  2. How fast do they go?
    This varies slightly between models, however top speed is 6-7 knots and normal cruising speed is 5-6 knots at half-power. One of our main selling points is that on our boats the journey is as rewarding as the destination. If you need to get somewhere fast then our boats are not for you.
  3. Why long and Narrow?
    Long and narrow hull shapes move through the water more efficiently. This obviously effects the interior volume. Our boats are longer that other motor boats with similar interior volumes. We think this is an advantage. Check out the conceptual drawings of our products and see for yourself.
  4. How much money will I save?
    What is your annual fuel bill? Solar Sal has none What is the annual maintenance cost for your engine? Our electric drive systems are virtually maintenance free.

Listen to the song and watch this video
  1. What's up with the name "Solar Sal"?
    In the good ol' days of the Erie Canal (peaking in 1855) commerce traveled by barge from From New York City to the Great lakes and beyond. These barges were pulled by mules, and reduced transportation costs 95% over ox cart. The home waters of the Solar Sal 44 are around Albany, New York where she will cruise the Hudson River and the Mohawk, Champlain and Erie Canal system. Launches of this type were often found in these waters. The name “Sal” in Solar Sal 44, refers back to the old Erie-Canal Song, written by Thomas S. Allen in 1905, with lyrics that begin: I've got an old mule and her name is Sal Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal She's a good old worker and a good old pal Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal We've hauled some barges in our day Filled with lumber, coal, and hay And every inch of the way we know From Albany to Buffalo
  1. What are the boat's limitations?
    Rate of travel is limited by the combination of incoming sunshine and stored energy in the batteries. There is always some energy filtering through the clouds, so as long as it is daylight the boat will go. Our boats do not have the horsepower to buck strong currents, huge waves or strong headwinds. They do have 50% power in reserve to maintain cruising speed through some headwinds and waves. The Coast Guard has stringent stability requirements. Our 44' tour boat is in the process of being certified by the Coast Guard to take 30 passengers in inland waters.
  2. Is one of these boats for you?
    If you like a comfortable boat that is quiet, then this may be for you. If you are OK traveling at 5-6 knots, then this may be for you. If you have the patience to wait for favorable currents, and some understanding of how batteries work, then this may be for you. If you need to go fast, have lots of horsepower, or prefer to not be limited by tides, currents and sunshine, then this is not your boat.