The Houseboat Centre has previously completed four Solar Power projects and now the fifth is finalised.
- The Houseboat Centre’s second home was a wooden Chalet built beside a lake where research into houseboat style plumbing, rainwater collection and solar power generation was undertaken.
- Moving to it’s third home on the shore of Lake Colibita The next project was a Self-driving solar powered boat with remote digital controls. This was successfully completed. The research boat has now been sold and you can buy car-toppable self-driving solar boat kits and parts resulting from that research at e-marine.uk .
- The next project was a small (7 metre = 21′ )all-electric solar powered houseboat for canals lakes and slower rivers. You can see what happened on https://www.facebook.com/marextouringsport/ .
4. the next progression was among other things, to try using a catamaran hull to see how that helped the low powered electric motors. Trials have been concluded . The cathedral hull did help a little and made the boat very stable. Not a major difference though. See the boat here. https://www.facebook.com/RekopR600
5. The current project boat is a Rocca Panthera 232, 6.48 metres long by 2.27 metres beam
There is full headroom in the cabin a two burner gas cooker,(now removed) a sink and a toilet.
Originally had a single 170 hp Mercruiser diesel engine with outdrive leg which have now been removed
Original Displacement 1600 Kg.
Reduced displacement after removal of engine, drive leg and fuel tank is now 1200 Kg.
This project will be closer to the kind of boat you can use in the canals in UK.
Full headroom and heavier displacement. at 1200 kg for the basic boat, more with motor, batteries anchor, chain and other items .
It is still shorter than most would choose, but this is to enable us to use a basic car and trailer to get it to the mountain lake.
The weight and utilities are intended to emulate a 30 to 35′ fibreglass 8 or 9′ beam outboard cruiser, which might make a comfortable home for 1 or 2 on a canal in the UK.
Like the one in this photo.
A trial of poly-carbonate to create a wheelhouse roof to support solar panels has been successful. A curve in the sheet gives it adequate rigidity.
It has two solar panels to charge the four batteries for the motors and two smaller ones to charge one battery for 12 volt services.
Following a successful series of trials on Lake Colibita in the Summer of 2021, the boat is now ashore on its trailer, with the axles supported by jacks.
The boat is currently surrounded by snow, the solar panels, the main batteries and motors have been stored indoors and the new toilet is waiting for final wiring. Most wiring was disconnected and needs to be redone. Two large wood panels are in the cabin ready to form a cubicle for the toilet. The Starboard aft cleat is loose and will have to be re-fibreglassed below deck. The two motor supports will be moved further apart to enable precise control, without using the steering wheel.
Photos on 31 Jan 2022