Solar-powered canoe

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I suppose it's been done before, but I saw my first solar-powered canoe. I was bicycling along a street that bordered the Kentucky River in Frankfurt. When I passed the boat, which was sitting on a trailer, my brain went "whaaa..," and I doubled back to look at it more closely. Two panels were bolted to the gunwales and wired to a small electric outboard in the stern. I'd loved to know how it performed.
21Current-SolarCanoe.jpeg
 
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Yeah, I'd also be curious about performance. Would it have enough juice?

OK, so in direct sunlight let's say 15 watts/sq metre, call it 30 watts for that assembly. So that's ~0.04 hp, steady state. I think two dudes paddling after chugging high fructose corn syrup could outrun that boat over any moderate distance. Maybe the use case is a half hour of fishing after charging all day.
 
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I thought it was more like 15 watts per sq ft - so ~250 watts? Am I way off. Still only a third if a HP, but seems in range of smallest trolling motors.
 
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It was a day with heavy cloud cover that devolved to bike-ride-ending rain. Maybe diminished sunshine, i.e., generating capacity, was why the canoe was on the trailer rather than the river.
 
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After looking at a site on solar panel output, and a site on electric motors, I think the canoe would move at least paddling speed on a sunny day. The panels probably yield 250-300 watts. 500 watts drives a 12 ft dinghy 4mph. So 250 watts maybe moves the canoe 2 or 3 mph. Just guessing and I’m no engineer.
 
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Maybe ok for slow fishing, but otherwise I don't see the point other than as an engineering class demo.
I'd rather spend my time and effort paddling in my canoe.
 
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Agree w yknpdlr. I was once given an electric trolling motor. I got a battery and put it on my OT Tripper, which it would drive along smartly, for a while. After that, it was worse than useless, because it got in the way and you are still lugging around the 60-pound battery. I gave the motor away. I had to register the canoe to use the motor. At least the numbers make it easier to recognize the Tripper.

Tipprt-on-Pax2017.jpeg
 
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Ooops, I put the thumb rule in the wrong units, but as yknpdlr says, human paddlers move these boats pretty well. Also, humans can eat bannock which is a good way to store energy. The canoe/paddler system is sustainable right out of the box.
 
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