Can You Use Solar Power For A Boat Lift?


As the longer days begin to set in around spring, it’s time to start enjoying water activities of all kinds again, including getting your boat back out on the water. Getting your boat on the water typically uses electrical power via a boat lift; however, many people are beginning to wonder if this could be done with solar energy.

Your boat lift can undoubtedly run on solar power, and for most boats, a simple 10-watt/12-volt solar panel, which charges a 12-volt DC lift motor, will be sufficient. Using a solar panel to power your boat lift has various benefits, including; power efficiency, it’s considered safer, it’s a simplistic design, and it saves you money. 

This article will discuss whether or not you can use solar energy to power your boat lift. So keep reading! We have everything you need to know about using solar energy to power your boat lift. 

Utilizing Solar Energy For Your Boat Lift

Depending on whether you’re new to the boating world or a mariner, the decision to get a boat lift if you don’t have one comes with a plethora of benefits. Boat lifts are mechanical devices that secure any watercraft out of the water. 

Typically a boat lift runs on electricity linked to a power box near the water. However, in recent years, solar energy-powered boat lifts have become increasingly popular thanks to their numerous benefits, such as saving you money and various safety aspects. 

The solar panels can be placed on the roof of your boat dock, enabling them to capture solar radiation, which is turned into light. As they absorb the sun’s light, the panels turn this into energy stored in a battery. 

There are numerous reasons to purchase a solar boat lift. In the last decade, they have been increasing in popularity thanks to companies like Shore Master, who specialize in innovation. The boat lift can function on as little as a 10-watt solar panel.

What To Keep In Mind When Setting Up Solar Powered Boat Lift

There are various aspects to consider when purchasing a solar-powered boat lift, including; the solar panel wattage and output, the solar battery array, the size of the boat that’s going to be lifted, and how often you’ll be lifting it in and out of the water. 

The Wattage And Output Of The Solar Panel

If you decide to opt for a solar-powered boat lift, you’ll first need a large solar panel to provide you with a sufficient amount of wattage to charge your batteries. You’ll need to accompany this with an adequate output, represented by the voltage, to ensure that the batteries charge safely to their full extent.

Using a solar-powered boat lift with an average-sized boat will require a single battery system made up of a 10-watt and 12-volt solar panel, which charges a 12-volt DC motor that does the heavy lifting. 

If you want to ensure that your battery will be fully charged each time you attempt to lift your vessel from the water, you’ll need to consider the following points:

  • Depending on how often you’ll be lifting your boat in and out of the water determines how much power you’ll be using and whether or not the batteries will get recharged between each lift. Generally, the standard 10-watt solar panel and the 12-volt lift motor will be fine for one lift per day. 
  • However, if you take your boat out in the morning, afternoon, and sometimes even in the evening, then you’ll need more power. In this case, you’ll want to opt for a 20-watt solar panel accompanied by a 24-volt output.
  • Just remember that the key is ensuring that the output voltage of the solar panel could be in line with the voltage of the battery. 

More Batteries, More Power

If you decide you need more power, either because you have an overly large boat, you need the use the lift numerous times per day, or you simply want the boat lift to work faster, you can expand your battery count. 

You can expand your battery array from 12 volts to 24 volts by simply adding in an extra battery. This can be done by hooking two separate batteries into a series. This results in your lift motor receiving 24 volts of power instead of the original 12.

Use A Solar Regulator

A solar regulator is a vital aspect to consider, as this will monitor or regulate the charging of the battery, ensuring it does not overcharge. If the battery of the solar panels over-charges, it can lead to severe damage and reduce its longevity.

The Benefits Of Using Solar Energy For Boat Lift

Numerous benefits come with utilizing solar energy for your boat lift. Various people have begun switching over for their own reasons, whether it be green energy, cheaper energy, or simply the safety aspect. A list of the most common benefits are listed below:

  • Efficient Energy – Everybody loves to save money, and reducing your power bill, especially when your boat is concerned, couldn’t be more accessible. As technology increases around solar energy, the technology becomes more efficient with each passing year, and today the savings are worth the investment. 
  • Solar Panel Simplicity – Many people may be initially put off when they think of the switch to solar panels, as they’ve heard it can be a lot of work. Again, this is not the case in recent times, thanks to technological advancements. 
    Anyone who knows how to use basic power tools can easily install solar panels. All that’s required in the installation process is to secure the panels towards the midday sun with clamps and kink up the various leads and connection points between the panel and the battery. 
  • Safety Aspects – Solar energy is considered a greener and safer form of energy when the environment is concerned. But it also keeps the wiring to a bare minimum around your dock, meaning that if any problems were to arise, you’d be more than safe. 

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