Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

The Solar Sal 24

A True Perpetual Motion Machine

The SS-24 is the first fiberglass hulled all-electric, solar powered boat, and is approved for manufacturing by meeting all the U.S. Coast Guard regulations. It measures 24’ long, holds 10 adults, and features four 360-watt solar panels and four 3500-watt lithium batteries that power a 3,000-watt Torqeedo electric outboard, comparable to a 6-hp gasoline motor, to a top speed of 6 knots (Courtesy photo)

Mike Bailey

“Most electric boats on the market today are range-limited. With better panels, batteries and motors, we’ve produced a solar boat that can continuously cruise without ever charging from the shore.” – Capt. Alex Borton

After college, David Borton and his bride of two weeks taught math and physics in Ghana for the Peace Corps. Two years later they went to graduate school in physics where David got a Ph D, Harriet got a masters, and they started a family with two children.

When David Borton retired in 2014, after 33 years of teaching solar energy engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he chose “Live Your Valuesas the guiding principle for his startup company: Sustainable Energy Systems.

Clearly David values innovation and practical, sustainable solutions, because after only eight years they have become the leader in solar boating, with a U.S. patent for high efficiency solar powered boats, yachts and other aquatic vessels, they’ve produced three different types of crafts from 24 to 44-feet in length, and have produced a remarkable series of breakthroughs: the only Coast Guard certified 100% solar-powered commercial passenger boat, the first 100% solar voyage through the entire 1,200 nautical mile Inside Passage from Washington to Alaska, the first cargo delivery on the Erie Canal powered exclusively by the sun, and now the first fiberglass solar recreation boat available in the U.S. and Canada.

The Solar Sal 24, designed by acclaimed maritime architect J.F. Bedard, features a high-quality hand-laid fiberglass hull, with a canopy roof that contains 1440 total watts of PV panels; enough to drive a high efficiency Torqeedo outboard electric motor. This powerful configuration, assembled at Belmont Boatworks in Belfast, Maine, provides unlimited quiet, clean cruising on lakes, rivers, sounds or bays during daylight hours without tapping into the 14,000 watt-hour-capacity lithium batteries. And there’s no range anxiety on the water, because she can travel for four hours at full speed without the sun; as far as 100 miles on battery power alone.

Standard equipment includes everything you’d expect in such an elegant day cruiser; seating for 10 adults in two swivel captain’s chairs and cushioned bench seats, with running, anchor, and overhead lighting, a table with cup holders, USB chargers, non-side decks and diving platform. Simple to drive and easy to maintain, the $124,500 price also includes freedom from dirty, expensive gas. The Solar Sal 24 plugs into the sun; free, clean, odor-free fuel forever!

More details are available at www.SolarSal.Solar including photos and information about the historic journey by David and Alex Borton through the Inside Passage from Bellingham, Washington to Glacier Bay, Alaska. And if you’d like to experience just how peaceful boating can be, take a ride on Solar Sal’s big sister, the 44’ Solaris. You can choose from over a dozen themed boat tours or book a private charter at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, NY. Schedule information and tickets are available at to enjoy birdwatching, live music sunset tours, and more.

See for yourself; solar powered boating is the most gracious and enjoyable way to live your values.

Mike Bailey is a sustainable energy consultant and trustee of

Solar Sal 24 Specs:

  • Length: 24’
  • Beam: 7’ 6”
  • Draft: 1’ 8”
  • Displacement: 3,200 lbs.
  • Capacity: 10 Adults
  • Top Speed: 6 knots
  • Battery-only Range:
    • 100 miles at 4 knots
    • 45 miles at 5 knots
    • 24 miles at 6 knots
  • Daytime Range: Infinite
    • 4 to 5 knots in sunshine
    • Zero battery draw

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