Solar Electric Narrowboat

Introducing the Mothership Solar Electric Narrowboat. She is the first of her kind, a purpose built solar powered boat with an electric motor and back-up generator. Her steel hull offers the strength and toughness needed for life on canals.  But the superstructure is a lightweight super-strong composite the has been moulded to house recessed solar panels. It is an elegant and practical solution that offers many benefits.

Integrated Solar panels

The GRP modules with recessed solar panels fit snuggly over a traditional steel hull. It means build time can be drastically reduced because fitting out the interior can take place with the roof off. The underside is finished and fitted with down lights.

Available to other boat builders

This patented* design is available to other boat builders, it comes with solar panels pre-fited on the the topside and a tounge’n’groove finish on the underside together with fitted down lights. After finishing the interior, drop on the roof, connect the electrics. Job done.

*patented pending

The sound of the countryside

Good advertising copy always tries to convey the sizzle and not the sausage. Here the sausage is our electric motor and the sizzle is the sound it makes, or lack of it. In its place you’ll hear the sound of the countryside. Bird song, rippling water and the wind in the willow trees. We think you’ll like it.

The sizzle extends to conversation and the glug of wine as it descends from the bottle. Gone too is the vibration and the clawing smell of diesel fumes. If your aim is to get away from a technology stuffed modern day life, the irony is that you’ll be doing it with the aid of an innovative, technologically advanced electric motor rather than its more ‘traditional’ diesel predecessor.

Up to 2 kW of solar real estate

The Mothership Narrowboat carries more solar panels than many houses. Panels can also be fitted to the sides. Interestingly, a high proportion of the energy generated comes from the near vertical panels on the side of the superstructure by way of reflection from the water. 4 panels can be place on each on each side. They have been specially constructed to match the adjacent 4 rectangle hopper windows.

Having the solar panels recessed within the roof panel is very practical and helps protect the panels from damage. It is also very aesthetically pleasing. Good design that is practical and nice to look at.

Solar made to measure

Narrowboats have history and a place in time. It’s what gives them their charm and appeal. We searched the world for a standard solar panel that was tough, highly performant and of a size and style sympathetic to our boats. We didn’t find them and this has lead us to the commissioning of our own panels from a highly specialised company used to making panels for harsh environments like mid ocean monitoring stations and deep space. It also means we are able to configure the arrangement of individual solar cells to maximise charging performance.

Special solar


Working with Morris & Co. Mothership has developed an interior that celebrates the Arts and Crafts Movement of the 19th century whilst resonating modern day chic. There is a real meeting of minds between the Arts and Crafts Movement and modern day conservationists. Both celebrate the natural world and wish to preserve and protect it.

William Morris

William Morris

William Morris was a designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the Arts and Crafts Movement. His legacy and work lives on today through the company Morris & Co. Inspired by nature his designs have adorned houses all around the globe. Much of his works’ appeal comes from the fact that prints are produced from hand crafted wooden blocks. And like nature, they are all fractionally different bringing real warmth to the work.

At Mothership we are embracing these design principles and incorporating them on our narrowboats to bring a real sense of authenticity to the build. Morris was a true innovator and we would hope that he would approve of the innovations found on the Mothership Narrowboat.

See in the example below how his prints are used on the walls of the narrowboats and are again picked up through accented colours in the boats soft furnishings and upholstery. Our aim is to provide a living space that although restricted by width has a richness and depth that offers a feeling of comfort and peace.

The importance of individuality

At Mothership we recognise the need for Narrowboaters to express themselves. There are no real hard and fast designs but we’d like to help you explore a range of designs and colour pallets that you might not have ordinarily chosen. Like a painting by a master, we’d like to help you create a narrowboat that you are extraordinarily proud of and never tire of looking at.

The exterior finish can be kept classically traditional with a paint finish that would blend into the fleet at narrowboat rally. Alternatively you can opt for a low maintenance gelcoat finish that simply requires a polish every now and then.

There is no real necessity to have solar panels along the vertical side of the boat. It just helps you realise more power from the sun. If you prefer to have a boat that has portholes all along the side of the cabin, there is no restriction from our point of view to doing this. It is simply a question of personal choice.

Please talk to us about the style and effect that you are wanting to achieve and we’ll do all we can to help. We recognise that most people  are really brimming with ideas but often struggle to table these thoughts. Our design skills are at your disposal and we will do all we can to make the process both successful and fun.

Click the icon to download a PDF of the Mothership Narrowboat

Please get in touch if you'd like to know more

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