Firefly: A $2900 electric boat powered entirely by homemade solar panels

Environmentalists around the world have been continually encouraging masses to give up on the use of fossil fuels or at least reduce consumption by using public transportation systems or the use of renewable energy. While the rise in the number of cars is the reason why highways are the most polluted area of any city, the condition on lakes and rivers isn’t green either. With hundreds of boats, mostly powered by conventional fuel, used to ferry people the delicate marine ecosystem is also at risk.

There have been some designers who have conceptualized eco friendly boats and yachts, and here we have a completely working prototype created by Dan Baker. Dan’s innovation in green boating is called the Firefly and cost him just $2900 to build. The Firefly is a six person boat created for cruising small lakes without any engine noise or pollution.

The electric boat is powered by two brushless DC motors mounted on each rear corner to provide thrust and steering. The electric motors are fueled by a homemade solar panel using 6 X 6 cells. The solar panel, mounted on the roof the boat, generates about 140W of renewable electric power, which is enough to propel the boat at a speed of 4mph. Renewable energy generated by the solar panel is stored in a lead-acid battery that keeps the boat going for about 6 miles.

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