Historic Moment: First-Ever 100% Solar-Powered Boat Just Launched in Maine
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
In a world where deforestation, rising Carbon Dioxide emissions, and immense fossil fuel burning are threatening the world we live in, I bring amazing news to boaters in the state of Maine and all of New England.
On Earth Day (April 22, 2022), a prototype boat, Solar Sal 24, was launched and successfully piloted in Lake St. George in Liberty, Maine, according to a Bangor Daily News article. Built by Belmont Boatworks in Belmont, this marked a historic day in Waldo County as the first solar powered boat to be on a lake in the area.
This 24 foot boat is 100% powered by solar panels on its canopy. This means it causes zero water pollution, burns no oil, and does not use gasoline, according to SolarSal website.
Not only does it have obvious environmental benefits, but listen to how quiet the boat travels. This is the future.
“I’m pretty blown away by it,” said Dan Miller, the owner of Belmont Boatworks, to the Bangor Daily News. “It was really fantastic. She (the boat) did everything she was supposed to do, and did it perfectly.”
This is just the beginning for solar powered boats in Maine and all over New England.
“The goal is to set up to build an infinite amount,” Miller said to Bangor Daily News. “If they sell, then we’ll carry the ball as far as it goes.”
One Solar Sal did go far - extremely far.
The picture above is the Wayward Sun, the first solar powered boat to complete the Inside Passage from Bellingham, WA to Glacier Bay Alaska, according to the SolarSal website.
That is a total of 1,400 miles, which is essentially the distance it would take to travel from the Port of Portland Maine to the Port of Miami, according to Ports.com. That long voyage strictly relied on solar panels - no oil, gas, or harmful toxins into our oceans.
“The Solar Sal is not just for environmentalist weirdos and science geeks like me. She’s not just a way to prove a point,” Miller wrote on his Facebook. “She’s really a great, efficient mover. She’s stable, comfortable, well-powered and pretty … This technology can help shape the way recreational and commercial boaters interact with our oceans and our planet. ”
The boat travels around 7 knots or 8 miles per hour.
“One of the things that I think solar technology is going to do is slow us down,” Miller said. “Our American need for speed is probably going to suffer a little bit. This boat is not going to be for speed boaters.”
Bottom line: we do need to slow down. We, as a global community, need to embrace these technologies that put us on a better path for our planet.
This is amazing technology that reached Maine. I look forward to seeing more completely solar powered boats in the future.
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