Here are some of the latest options for turning your boat into a green machine:
A very popular way to get your boat on the alternative energy path, solar panels are designed to capture the sun’s rays and turn them into electricity. A 100-watt solar panel can typically produce 3,500 watt hours of electricity per week. All you need to purchase is a solar panel, a regulator or controller, and a battery to store the energy ? which can also be purchased as a kit.
- Kyocera manufactures a number of marine friendly solar panels ranging from 40 ? 235 watts (10 to 46 pounds in weight) and ranging in price from $212 to $642 per panel. Made in Japan, Mexico, and the USA, Kyocera offers a warranty of 90% output for the first 10 years, followed by 80% output for 20 to 25 years.
- In the USA, Sharp makes a range of solar panels from 142 to 235 watts; they range in price from $350 to $748 and offer a 10 year/90% and 25 year/80% output warranty
Although mainly utilized on sailboats, wind generators are another popular choice for going green. A wind generator requires the same general equipment as a solar panel to set up: a wind generator, a regulator or controller, and a battery to store the energy produced. Generally, the energy produced is directly related to having or not having an available wind source; when shopping, take into consideration the start-up wind speed and noise level of the generator.
- Ampair offers the 100 Wind Generator (12 & 24 volt) for $1,142; the Ampair 300 at $2,018; and the Ampair 600 for $2,568
- Hailed to be quiet, efficient, and reliable, DuoGen manufactures a 12 volt D-400 Wind Generator priced at $2,235 that features a triple-phase alternator capable of producing power even at low wind speed
- Air Breeze has a 12 or 24 volt 200 watt wind generator ranging from $875 to $935
Water towed impellers or generators are an easy boating alternative energy source. Typically an impeller is towed behind a boat (ranging from 1 to 3 meters under) which still allows travel into shallower coastal waters. The drag is kept to a minimum through the use of a low producing alternator.
- Aquagen offers a low drag 12 and 24 volt water generator ranging from $791 to $1,185
- Ampair manufactures a towed turbine capable of producing 1 amp per knot at average cruising speed; the 12 or 24 volt Aquair 100 is priced at $1,235.
Wind & Water Generators
DuoGen manufactures a precision blade combination wind/water generator that produces a consistent 8 amps of electricity at 6 knots; 11 amps traveling at 7 knots; and 16 amps of electricity at 8 knots. According to DuoGen, the most efficient way to charge a boat battery is by utilizing a towable water impeller. The DuoGen retails for $3,447.
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