Grid Connected Solar Punt

Power boating can be a noisy, smelly affair. Additionally, the greenhouse gas emissions of an outboard motor are far higher than those of a car over a comparable distance.

Electric outboard motors have been around for decades and have been particularly popular with fishermen for use in areas where fish are easily spooked; but they’ve had very limited range and power.

The “Loon” solar powered punt from Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company in the USA, brings electric-powered boating into a new age, with the added environmental benefit of solar power.

The 6 meter Loon has a 3 HP continuous rated electric engine (equal to 10 hp petrol outboard) and has a daily range of 46+ kilometres. With a top speed of 6 knots and a cruising speed of 5 knots, it’s not the fastest boat around, but where it goes it does so in style and comfort.

Over 2 metres wide, the Loon is very stable and is able to carry 8 adults.

The eight 6-volt deep cycle batteries are charged by an impressive 738 watt peak power solar panel array. The boat’s batteries can also be recharged in just 4 hours via a mains grid connection.

While most recreational boats spend much of their time on dry land, one of the unique aspects of the Loon is when in dry dock, it can be used to generate power for the mains grid using vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. This can translate to income for the boat owner through feed in tariff programs. Given this aspect, boating need no longer be seen as a hole in the water that money is continually poured into.