Around The World In A Solar Catamaran

PlanetSolar's solar-powered catamaran
PlanetSolar’s solar-powered catamaran may be coming to a city near you.
(cc) PlanetSolar

SunPower, a manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, today announced that its industry-leading solar cells will power PlanetSolar’s new solar catamaran. The solar boat, currently under construction, is expected to be the largest of its kind and will be powered exclusively by SunPower’s high-efficiency solar cells.

Designed by a team of international engineers, construction of the solar catamaran is expected to be completed in February 2010 and will be the first solar boat to embark on a round-the-world tour. Approximately 38,000 of SunPower’s next generation cells will be incorporated into the skin of the catamaran and each cell offers a minimum efficiency of approximately 22 percent. It is expected to be the fastest solar boat to cross the Atlantic Ocean and the first to cross both the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Stopovers include Hamburg, London and Paris in Europe, New York and San Francisco in the U.S., and Singapore and Abu Dhabi, to name a few. The solar boat will be available for public display during each of its stops, offering an educational opportunity to all visitors.

“SunPower is proud to be involved with such an ambitious project as the design, launch, and round-the-world tour of this solar catamaran,” said Manuel Brachet, general manager of SunPower’s , International Business Development Group. “We have the proven technology and the experience to provide the PlanetSolar team with the highest-efficiency solar cells on the market today. Our cells offer the level of performance that will enable the solar vessel to successfully achieve its goal to circumnavigate the globe.”

“We are excited to partner with SunPower, as we build the world’s largest solar boat,” said Raphael Domjan, CEO of PlanetSolar SA. “We chose SunPower’s solar cell technology because of its high-efficiency and proven results.”

SunPower’s high-efficiency solar cells lead the industry with up to 50 percent more power than conventional technology, and two to four times the efficiency of thin film technologies. The same SunPower solar cells integrated into the skin of the solar boat are the number one choice for rooftop systems on homes and light commercial installations in the U.S. With an all-black appearance, SunPower’s solar cells offer an attractive, affordable way to add solar to any building while maximizing the energy generated per square foot of any roof area.

Founded in 1985, SunPower Corp. designs, manufactures and delivers the planet’s most powerful solar technology broadly available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on the company’s experience and proven results to maximize return on investment. With headquarters in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

PlanetSolar will achieve the first round-the-world sea voyage powered by solar energy. The world tour will be made on board a revolutionary 30-meter long catamaran covered with 470 square meters of photovoltaic solar panels. The first solar-powered round-the-world voyage – scheduled for April 2011 – will run from East to West, along an equatorial route.

PlanetSolar is committed to sustainable development and is particularly motivated by the necessity to develop alternatives to fossil fuels; which are in limited supply and causing measurable negative environmental impact.

PlanetSolar has brought together an international team of physicists, engineers, boat builders and a variety of people who all realize the importance of renewable energies and environmental protection. Raphael Domjan will be the boat’s skipper alongside the famous French sailor Gerard d’Aboville. PlanetSolar’s ambition is to be a symbolic step towards a better world.

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