Just unveiled in Germany, this Swiss built catamaran dubbed PlanetSolar is the largest of its kind with over 5,000 sqft of solar paneling covering most of the surfaces. With a top speed of 15 knots (17 miles per hour), this 66-ton boat carries 50 people with its crew of two. It’s 38,000 newer generation photovoltaic cells have an efficiency of at least 22% to help with converting the suns rays to turning the propeller. It’s no Code-X speed boat, but it is probably more efficient and practical.
Sticking to routes near the equator, the crew hopes to maximize the suns exposure to keep their average speed at 8 knots. They will be embarking on a 140 day voyage to cities like San Francisco, New York, Darwin (Australia), Hong Kong, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Marseille. Maybe they could stop by the Pacific trash gyre on the way over.
- Cost to build: $24.4 million
- Top Speed: 15 Knots (17mph)
- Weight: 66 Tons
- Capacity: 50 Passengers, 2 Crew
- Solar Powered: 5,380 sqft solar paneling w/ 38,000 photovoltaic cells
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photos by CHRISTIAN CHARISIUS/Reuters and Heribert Proepper/AP
[via theage and treehugger]
Very impressive indeed! It’s also an amazing looking boat which should help it to attract interest. Of course, if it was a sailing yacht you’d reach speeds just as high if not higher, at a lower cost, and with even less pollution, but this is certainly an interesting development in the motor yacht industry. Are they planning smaller models for “average” boat enthusiasts?
Other than the DIY solar kits for boats, I don’t think there is really anything comparable on the market for average boat enthusiasts. Hopefully as solar technology advances, the costs will come down and efficiency will rise to where just having a solar patch laid out on the deck will suffice to power the boat. Until then, sailboats with supplemental solar and wind power generators are the way to go for the average Joe.