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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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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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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.
View attachment 128192
That's my boat! I have two of them for running sheltered flatwater up to Class I+).

Each one is a Square Stern Alumacraft CO17 carrying 2 150 watt monocrystalline solar panels (300 watts of solar collection) through a 30 Amp Victron Smart Solar MPPT Charge Controller charging a 100 AmpHour LiFePo 12v battery housed in a floating waterproof Plano Gear Box.

That powers a "stock" 55# thrust (0.6 hp) Minn Kota EnduraMaxx PWM Transom Mount trolling motor sporting a high pitch after market model airplane prop.

Each boat yields 5.1 mph at wide open throttle at 370 watts, 4.5 mph cruising speed at 75% throttle (300 watts) and about 5 hours of "no daylight" power reserve (20 mile range) with generally "unlimited range" if the sun is shining.

I still have canoe paddles onboard for shallow creeks and landing/launching.

850 pound payload rating for each 17' canoe. I will load 2 people and 250 pounds of gear, or 1 person and 400 pounds of gear for longer treks.

The two Solar Canoes are matched, so they make a great catamaran when lashed together with two 8 foot wood poles bungee corded on the fore and aft thwarts on larger bodies of water. You can stand up and walk around if you are careful.

Bullet Proof canoeing skills required (NO DUMPS ALLOWED)

I am not "green", I am just LAZY! and got tired of listening to a 2hp outboard for long treks on flat water rivers.
 

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Nice setup. I wouldn't have thought you'd be able to generate that much power. (but I'll still paddle... at least for now)
I am not "green", I am just LAZY! and got tired of listening to a 2hp outboard for long treks on flat water rivers.
Thank you. Especially since rivers usually mean the outboards are those obnoxious jet motors!
PS: Welcome to the fire.
 
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While I lived by myself along Current River in MO I got tired of not having a shuttle friend. It's certainly really nice to be able to run upriver under power from your home put-in and paddle/drift back down . At the time I was ignorant and got a 30lb MinnKota - not enough power to get up riffles or swifter spots. If I had to do it all over again I'd love a better rig like this - running silent is so much better than the whine of a gas motor.

But really I wish I'd known about poling back then.
 
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