Solar powered pontoon boat: Should you consider buying one?
Solar power is a clean and renewable source of energy that can be produced free of charge. We all know that right?
So why not take advantage of this abundant source of energy to power your pontoon boat. As more and more people look for sustainable living choices, solar power is slowly and steadily making a mark in the boating world as well.
Solar powered pontoon boats are equipped with solar panels, batteries, and electric motors. Like standard pontoons, solar powered pontoon boats can be used for leisure activities like fishing and cruising.
Read on as we answer all your questions about solar powered pontoon boats.
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How does a solar powered pontoon boat work?
A solar powered pontoon boat is like any other pontoon boat when it comes to the basic design. However, the key difference between the traditional pontoon boat and the solar powered pontoon boat is their energy source.
While a conventional boat uses fuel, a solar powered pontoon boat uses solar energy. The solar power is harnessed with the help of solar panels on the boat and converted into energy, which is then stored in batteries. This stored energy is then used to power the pontoon boat.
What are the main elements of a solar powered pontoon boat?
Amazon has a whole range of choices for solar pontoon boat kits. Depending on your personal requirement, you can choose different solar panel accessories like solar panels, mounts, and power banks.
You must, however, include these components if you want to power your pontoon boat with solar energy –
The solar panels are the most critical component of a solar power kit for your boat.
They collect energy from the sun’s rays. The more panels you have, the more solar power you will be able to collect. However, you cannot place too many panels on your boat because of the lack of space.
The best place to install solar panels on your boat is on the hard bimini rooftop. It would be ideal if you placed them in an area that is out of the way and where they can absorb the maximum sunlight.
Go for panels that are both flexible and waterproof so that they can withstand the elements to which they are exposed.
After you have selected the right solar panels for your boat, you need to fix and secure them to your boat.
You need to choose suitable solar panel mounts for your boat to ensure that they are secure. The solar panel mounts come with nuts, bolts, tools, and a special adhesive to stick the panels into the proper position.
Once the solar panels start collecting the energy from the sun, you need to store this energy to be used later. You will need a battery to store this energy.
You can opt for two batteries or more if your boat has a high electric drain. Always use a marine battery on your boat to ensure that the salt and water are not harmful to it.
If you are going for an entirely solar powered pontoon boat, you will also need an electric motor. Choose a small motor that can provide you enough power for your boat.
A bigger motor will draw more electric power.
A small motor will be able to provide slow speed, which is good enough for trolling. Some of the other advantages for using an electric motor in your pontoon boat include –
Less noise pollution
No smelly exhaust fumes
A charge controller protects your batteries and ensures that they last longer. If a battery is overcharged too often, it ruins its capacity to hold a charge. A charge controller prevents the marine batteries from overcharging so that they remain in good condition for a more extended period.
Watch this video on solar electric pontoon walkthrough
What are the advantages of a solar powered pontoon boat?
If you choose to use a solar powered pontoon boat with an electrical engine, your boat ride will be much quieter than if you had a regular engine. You can enjoy the boat ride in peace. On a solar powered pontoon boat ride, you can enjoy the peace and tranquility of the natural environment around you.
Using a solar powered pontoon boat can help you save a lot of money you would otherwise have spent on fuel. We often have to consider the cost of the fuel when we plan a trip on the waters.
With a solar powered pontoon boat, you can take longer trips and even change plans without worrying about refueling.
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Solar energy is an environmentally friendly source of energy. A solar powered pontoon boat helps you save money, and it is also beneficial for the environment. When you refill the tank of a fuel engine, you sometimes release a bit of fuel into the water.
This action can pollute the water. With a solar powered pontoon boat, you do not have to worry about polluting the air or the water.
What are the few disadvantages of a solar powered pontoon boat?
If you opt for a solar powered pontoon boat with an electric engine, you will be disadvantaged in terms of speed and power. While these boats are ideal for leisure rides and trolling, you must not expect them to go at very high speeds.
High speeds can drain the power of the batteries very quickly.
Solar panels require some extra maintenance. You must clean your solar panels every few days to ensure that there is no dust, debris, and bird droppings on them. Doing this will help your panels to absorb the sunlight properly.
A solar powered pontoon boat depends on sunlight for its power. If it is cloudy or raining, it can impact your energy source. Your engine may not perform to its best capacity during such weather.
You must carry some extra batteries with you to help you get back to shore during cloudy or rainy weather.
How much does a solar powered pontoon boat cost?
The cost of getting a solar powered pontoon boat depends on how much you want to spend. You can purchase a pontoon boat that is completely hooked up with solar power, which may cost more.
Apex Marine offers solar powered pontoon boats in the price range of $10,000to $30,000, depending on the boat’s features.
If your budget does not allow buying a new boat, you can go for a DIY approach. A good solar-powered kit can come for $1,000. You can buy a basic solar system for a few hundred dollars to see if it works out well for you.
Final thoughts: Should you buy a solar powered pontoon boat?
Now that you know all the pros and cons of owning a solar powered pontoon boat, it is time to weigh all your options before making the final decision. Solar powered pontoon boats are environmentally friendly, make less noise, and can save you money when it comes to fuel.
On the other hand, these boats require extra maintenance, may not work the best during cloudy weather and do not run very high speeds.
Think about what you need from your boat. For example, if you use your boat to spend some quiet time out in the water, a solar powered pontoon boat is ideal for you. However, a solar powered boat may not be the best option if you like recreational water sports as your boat may not provide you the speed you want for these activities.
You can buy a solar powered pontoon boat or fit your boat with a solar kit. Either way, a solar powered pontoon boat will make a positive impact on your savings and the environment as well.