Tough economic times call for creativity — not something that has ever been in short supply at Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding. The Thomaston, Maine-based boat builder, known for some of the finest sail and power yachts afloat today, is now applying its talent and innovation to alternative energy. J.B. Turner, president of the 160-employee company, said that the company has developed what they call a PowerCube, a self-contained solar power generator for off-grid applications. Turner said that they got into solar power at the suggestion of Zach Lyman, son of Cabot Lyman, the company’s owner. “Zach and Cabot have been working on it for a few years and we first built a prototype, then the actual units. No one had taken these pieces and packaged them in this way.” Turner said.
The company is manufacturing two sizes of the device — a three-panel and a six-panel array. They use 200-watt Sanyo photovoltaic panels configured into two sizes — 600-watt and 1,200-watt. The larger unit has a generator as well.
Turner said that nine units have been sold so far — all to the U.S. government. He said that they are being tested all over the world in a variety of diverse applications. One of the units is being used on a mountain in Afghanistan.
Turner said that the company is trying other alternative energy projects. Zach Lyman is interested in water turbines while his father is the “solar guy.” Turner still has five boat projects in the shed and working on getting up to speed on wind power.