Rome (WSYR-TV) -- Can you imagine never having to shell out money for your boat? It may not be far off. A small company in Rome is marketing the first recreational solar powered boat.
Whether it’s docked or cruising Delta Lake, a boat named "Loon" is soaking up rays, replenishing energy.
“It makes perfect sense. When do you go boating? You go boating on nice sunny days. That means you’ve got great opportunity to go solar and that’s what this boat is all about,” said Monte Gisborne, owner of Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company.
Gisborne says he plans to start manufacturing the solar boats for market within the month.
It seems like such a great idea, but why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?
“It’s a culmination of a lot of things that made the timing now for this product really good,” said Gisborne.
World politics, a change in perception of solar power, high gas prices and environmental awareness all play a part. Gisborne says boaters are starting to look for something different.
Even without a gas engine the “Loon” can reach speeds rivaling a typical pontoon boat.
“Presently we're at about a thousand watts roughly, which is roughly a quarter of the total power available for the motor,” Gisborne said.
And the energy used is constantly being replaced by the sun and the four solar panels on the roof at a rate of up to more than 700 watts, guaranteeing miles of quiet, environmentally friendly boating.
The boat currently costs over $40,000 and people are already lining up to buy one in five years. Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company expects to be selling 1,000 boats per year. Gisborne says they have an aggressive hiring plan in place.