A very large solar solar-powered yacht called Planet Solar has set out on a 31,000 mile trip around the globe. It is estimated it will maintain an average speed of 7.5 knots per hour. At that speed it should take about 160 days to travel around the planet.
The boat’s top is covered with 5,780 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels with a capacity of 93.5 kilowatts of electricity. The boat is a catamaran 101 feet in length. It cost about $13 million to construct and was funded by Rivendell Holding AG, a Swiss company renewable energy investment company.
If successful, the venture will demonstrate solar power is a real-world, seaworthy technology for long voyages, and that the shipping industry can replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. (Toyota’s car-carrying Auriga Leader employs solar panels to generate up to ten percent of its energy while docked.)
A spokesperson for the Solar Planet project said, “Our society is too dependent on fossil fuels, which are in limited supply and which are causing measurable negative effects on the earth’s atmosphere. It’s now time to demonstrate the potential that renewable energies have to offer in the area of mobility.”
The unusual, and large yacht was constructed in Kiel, Germany in just 14 months. It is capable of accommodating up to 40 occupants, but for the very long journey, just four will be the crew. They have a website which constantly updates their position using Google Maps.
Also, they publish their daily log entries, such as this one for Sept. 29/30, “In the night from Tuesday to Wednesday the weather situation was somewhat different, very lively seas, up to 40 knot winds and strong waves hitting the boat. For this reason, we decided to change course more to the south to absorb the suns rays more efficiently in order to recharge our batteries.”
Stopovers will take place at the following cities: Miami, Cancun, San Francisco, Sydney, Singapour, and Abu Dhabi. Of course, these locations are subject to change depending on scheduling, weather and the vessel’s condition.