Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Apr 23

Green Resort to Rent Solar Houseboats

Posted in Solar Power

Solar Sailor An environmental engineer/developer has plans to construct a unique lifestyle “Green” condo development on the banks of the main channel of the Mississippi River in the historic River city of McGregor in northeast Iowa. The site is within a 4 hr drive of Chicago, Minneapolis and Milwaukee & Madison, WI. While close to several urban areas, it is tucked away in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge; 240,000 acres and 260 river miles of protected wooded islands, marshes and backwaters. The developer notes that there is a human desire to recreate and to be in contact with nature however this has placed unsustainable pressure on the very places we seek out to enjoy.

Green Resort

Green Condos

The need to protect places such as the project site; to “Recreate Gently,” combined with present trends in environmentally sensitive design and energy conservation determined the approach taken. The character of the City of McGregor ‘s 19th century architectural styling is captured by the condo project’s design but will be sharply contrasted by its use of “Green” building materials and renewable energy to minimize its environmental footprint including, heating by ground water, electric power supplied by solar cells and wind turbines and the use of solar powered boats.

Solar Sailor Because of the developer’s interest in renewable energy, he is working with the Australian solar powered boat designer, Solar Sailor LLC, to develop solar – diesel hybrid powered catamaran houseboats for use at the resort and for sale to the public. The boats will utilize solar photovoltaic cells to generate electricity to power electric motor drives. They will also include Solar Sailor’s patented retractable solar wing that functions as both a rigid sail for wind sailing and to track the sun to maintain the optimal orientation of the solar cells. 30 ft, 45 ft and 60 ft models that will operate on solar alone, batteries, wind, diesel electric or combinations of power sources will be available.

The boats will also incorporate retractable wind turbines to generate electricity for on-board use, charging the batteries or for feeding into an electric grid. It’s planned that the boats will be made available to condo owners as part of a timeshare program and to provide tours into the surrounding park. The boats when not in use will be docked at an adjacent marina and generate electricity by the on-board solar cells and wind turbines for use by the condos.

Houseboat time share program partners will have the option of being part of the Holiday Shores’ Southern Horizons program in which the houseboats will motor south down the Mississippi River every fall stopping along the way at Riverfront cities such as Memphis, TN and New Orleans, LA. It’s expected that the boats will use only solar power traveling down the Mississippi. The boats will exit the Mississippi River at the Gulf of Mexico and will use Solar Sailor’s rigid wing and solar power to travel along the coast to wintering destinations as far south as Mexico and Central America. In the spring, the boats will return to McGregor, Iowa for the summer and fall.

Investors and interested persons can obtain information as noted below:

Information on the condo development project at
Information on the solar boat designer Solar Sailor can be found at
Information on the solar powered houseboats can be requested at solarboatsinfo[AT]

  • Christiana

    I am an environmentalist and I always make sure that the actions that I do does not hurt the environment. My sister is an architect and she gave me an idea about these green resorts which I have found to be interesting. As a matter of fact, whenever I have my vacation I make sure that I AM staying at a green resort.

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