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Solar boat 2

Note (?)
Difficulté (?)
Durée (?)3h 30 min.
Coût (?)~20 CHF
Languefrançais english deutsch
License (?)



Building a solar boat is a good way too experiment the use of photovoltaic solar cells.

Solar boats are an ecological means of transportation because they use the sun, a renewable and environmental friendly energy. In order to navigate by night and when the sun is too weak, solar boats generally store electricity in batteries (this is unfortunately not the case of this DIYs project which can only work in direct sunlight...). The weight of the batteries is less problematic than for cars or solar planes because boats are capable to carry heavy loads with a small amount of energy.

This type of boat is still uncommon in real life. But on the lake of Geneva, the "Aquarel solar boats" can be hired. The large Swiss catamaran PlanetSolar completed in may 2012 a 60'000 km world tour, only with the help of solar energy.


Basic material and freedom of design


The two basic elements to build a solar boat are a good solar cell (possibly waterproof) and an electric motor (compatible with the cell).


Concerning the boat itself, it is interesting to leave the children free to invent the model of their choice. That way, they are encourage to use their imagination and experiment different designs. Their first model built, they can always reuse the solar cell and the motor to create other types of boats.


To help them to express all their creativity, they should be offered a wide choice of material (We give some examples further on).


16.05.2013 : Martin
Quelques reflets des passeports vacances d'été d'Oron, où Info-Energie a réalisé des bateaux solaires avec les enfants :   source :         Lire la suite
16.05.2013 : Martin




General building rules

Leaving children freedom in their choice of design is important, but if some projects are clea ...

Specific building designs

We give in the following steps a few design possibilities depending the types of propulsion. The ...
Propulsion by (marine) propeller   Build a bridge with the galvanised fixing band, t ...
Remove the metal connector from the plastic part of an electrical connector using a box cutter ...
Push the feet of the bridge into the boat (made of expanded polystyrhène) so that the propelle ...
Propulsion by wind propeller   Build a frame using galvanised fixing band.   ...
Attach the frame to the boat by passing a washer on a bolt, passing it from below through the ...
Paddle wheel propulsion   Models of this type are more complex to bui ...
Create two hooks at the end of two iron rods. Pass the rods through the centre of the wheel both ...
The same way than for the propellers, create 2 supports with galvanized fixing band. Fix the e ...
As the photovoltaic cell and the motor are quite weak, it is important to check ...