Planet Solar’s trip around the world In 2012, the solar powered boat PlanetSolar was the first to sail around the world powered only by solar energy. The carbon fiber boat can travel at 14 knots (16 mph). Now done with its objective, it has now become a research vessel and more than just a solar publicity project.

In the future, there’s no reason to think solar energy and electric motors won’t play a growing role in marine activity. Water pollution threatens both water quality and wildlife around the country and solar energy could eliminate most of that pollution coming from boats on the water.

For the solar industry, the opportunity is tremendous. In 2013, 135,000 outboard boats were sold in the U.S. and if solar energy becomes a standard on boats, whether for propulsion or supplemental electrical power, it could bring a major demand source to the industry.