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Behind the Scenes: A Michigan Solar Boat Manufacturer

Solar power has the potential to revolutionize recreational boating, and Michigan solar boat manufacturer Lilypad Labs Inc. stands at the forefront of this transformation.

Unlike traditional power sources, solar energy is uniquely suited for boating, offering maximum output precisely during the pretty days when we all want to spend time on the water. Best of all, solar powered boats don’t generate water and air pollution, they create zero CO2 during use, and help to protect the fragile marine ecosystems we all love.

Why Solar?

As experienced product developers and avid sailors, we first studied how sailboats might be improved to be easy to use, comfortable, and accessible. It wasn’t long, however, before we realized that “sailing with the sun” allowed for the true breakthrough. Leveraging the very latest photovoltaic technology, Lilypad continuously harvests power from only the sun, without the need for a plug, and entirely avoids dockside electric wiring and expensive chargers.

Our solar panels, manufactured in the United States at the largest facility of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, have proven to be exceptionally durable, efficient, and capable of harnessing ample energy—even on the cloudiest of days. 

One of the key features of our bifacial monocrystalline solar panels is their ability to capture sunlight from both sides of the panel—from the direct sun exposure on the top, and from the reflective rays bouncing off the water’s surface. Lilypad’s unique sliding solar roof positions the array to take maximum advantage of this reflected energy. This innovative approach ensures a continuous and reliable energy supply, contributing to Lilypad’s remarkable performance.

On sunny days, Lilypad can effortlessly cruise for hours without tapping into its onboard LiFePO4 batteries. Instead, the solar array seamlessly delivers power to the motors through a highly efficient direct drive system. 

On cloudy days, Lilypad intelligently blends direct solar energy with stored power, optimizing the mix based on power demand. After sunset, Lilypad enables serene starlit cruises for up to three hours, providing an unforgettable on-water experience. 

Upon returning to the dock, or during pauses on the water, Lilypad’s electronics and software ensures any energy consumed from the batteries is swiftly replenished by its powerful on-board charger and battery management system. This ensures a quick turnaround, allowing rental customers to enjoy uninterrupted time on the water without the need to monitor charge levels.

Lilypad is the first recreational solar boat who’s hull and propulsion system was designed in-house, from the ground up, to take full advantage of solar energy. Every component, from the photovoltaic array and charge controller, to the telemeter, movement control system, charge controllers, and batteries, have been carefully matched and optimized. 

By collaborating with the most capable, proven, and local partners, as a Michigan solar boat manufacturer, we have created a seamless design that delivers an unparalleled boating experience not found in other electric boats.

Looking ahead, Lilypad is committed to maintaining its leadership in this exciting new boating category. The future holds promise of even greater efficiency, power, and affordability.

Through continuous innovation and a commitment to both environmental and social responsibility, Lilypad aims to become the new standard-bearer for sustainable recreational boating, ensuring a healthier and more enjoyable future for water enthusiasts worldwide.

Discover more about the Michigan solar boat manufacturer, Lilypad Labs Inc, in these articles.

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