Solar-electric workboat completes historic cargo run

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Proving that solar propulsion is not only environmentally and budget-friendly, but feasible, a 39-foot vessel, Solar Sal, recently completed the final leg of its maiden cargo run, carrying recycled cardboard along the Erie Canal without using a single drop of fossil fuel.

Whether plug-in, hybrid or solar charged, more and more workboats are choosing Torqeedo electric propulsion due to its power, efficiency at moving heavy loads and cost savings.

Solar Sal traversed 72 locks and traveled a total of 650 miles across the state of New York, delivering four tons of cargo from Lockport to a paper mill in Mechanicville on its history-making journey. The vessel runs 8.3 mph on twin Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 electric motors. Providing the equivalent thrust of two 9.9 horsepower combustion engines, these powerful, emission-free electric motors run on sunlight.

Solar Sal can motor all day in daylight and up to 50 miles after sunset on stored battery power. It's fitted with 5 kW of solar panels, serving two battery banks. One powers a bank of Torqeedo's Power 26-104 lithium batteries, the other powers conventional lead-acid batteries. Borton hopes the side-by-side comparisons of the storage technologies will provide some interesting data in the future.