Finch Bay Hotel in the Galápagos obtained a new, fully electric transfer boat this year, Solar Ray, which is powered by four 370 W solar panels on the boat’s rooftop. Photo courtesy Finch Bay Hotel.

Via National Geographic, ReVision’s James Manzer weighed in on the emergence of affordable battery storage and the challenges of incorporating it with nautical travel in a recent feature about solar-powered boats: 

“Electric motors in boats are heavily dependent on storing enough energy to propel that craft where it needs to go for as long as it needs to go,” explains Manzer. Even then, higher speeds deplete batteries faster and battery recharge stations can’t exactly be located in the middle of the ocean.

Advancements will undoubtedly solve such problems, as they have most others. Materials are already getting hardier, like the flexible, lightweight, and durable solar panels used in the Kara Solar river transportation project for indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The project’s pioneers have also applied their methods to the airport transfer boat of the Finch Bay Hotel in the Galápagos. And companies like Oceanvolt are attempting to do for watercraft what Tesla did for cars.

“There are also key improvements in both cost and supply. “We’re seeing a 15 percent reduction in price every doubling of manufacturing output in the battery space,” says Manzer.