Irish company markets its boat with deck made from solar panels

Waterways Industrial, a start-up company based in Northern Ireland, has come up with a solar-powered Gridbeater Amphibian boat. The solar-powered vessel never runs out of fuel because it is propelled by a lightweight electric outboard motor powered by solar panels.

Richard Bell of Waterways Industrial, who has been working in the solar industry since 2008, said that unlike other glazed solar panels, these boats developed by them have a covering which enables them to be walked upon and hence they are suitable as a deck material.

The whisper quiet $12,600 vessel is now being previewed at boat shows around Europe. The power collected and stored in the batteries can be used to charge other products on board or on shore such as laptops, cell phones or e-bikes.

Bell said that the solar panels were made as per the design of a Chinese (Graham Rogers of Hong Kong) company.

He expects the Gridbeater Amphibian to be used for leisure in inland waterways but it could prove to be a lifesaver in disaster relief areas where road access might be impossible.

Bell said that it has a patent pending apart from 20 other patents to his name. Waterways Industrial plans to offer other off-grid photovoltaic products based on the same bendable solar panels.