Solar Powered Solarsail Sets Sail in Shanghai

Suntech-Guosheng solar sailor

Suntech Power Holdings, the world’s largest producer of crystalline silicon solar panels, has launched the Suntech-Guosheng solar sailor on the Huangpu River in Shanghai. The innovative 31.5 meter solar-powered passenger vessel features proprietary ‘solarsail’ technology developed by Australia-based Solar Sailor, a leading innovator in maritime solar technology. The eco-friendly vessel will cruise the Huangpu River for the Shanghai World Expo, inspiring visitors to embrace the event’s theme of “Better City, Better Life.”

At the launch ceremony, attended by the Communist Party of China Central Committee Party Secretary of Shanghai, Mr. Zhengsheng Yu, Suntech also announced it has designated Shanghai as another location for the expansion of its high performance crystalline silicon manufacturing technology.

“To meet the soaring global demand for Suntech’s solar products, we plan to add 1,000MW of crystalline silicon cell and module production capacity at our Shanghai facility within the next three years,” said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Founder, Chairman, and CEO. “Today, there is no question that solar power has officially set sail in Shanghai.”

The Suntech-Guosheng is one of several Shanghai Expo attractions to feature advanced solar technology, as both the China Pavilion and Theme Pavilion are also powered by Suntech’s industry-leading solar products. The operator of the Suntech-Guosheng is the Shanghai Guosheng Group, an investment firm owned by the Shanghai government and co-developer of the Expo’s Corporate Pavilion.

Solarsail’s hybrid marine power (HMP) technology combines electric drives with the power and range of hydrocarbon/alternative fuels. Solar power and other renewable energies available on the surface of the sea, lakes, and rivers charges batteries that power the sea vessels. In addition to solarsail technology, the Suntech-Guosheng passenger vessel incorporates National Semiconductor’s analog-based SolarMagic technology to maximize the power output of the HMP system. Advantages of the hybrid solar-powered sea vessels include fuel savings, zero emission capability, power redundancy, lower green-house gases, noxious gas and particulate emissions, and potential access to environmentally sensitive routes.

“This is an exciting development and I wish to congratulate Suntech for championing this groundbreaking technology,” commented the Hon Bob Hawke, Chairman of Solar Sailor. “We are just beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible with solar. It seems clear that Suntech will continue to push the envelope, creating advanced solar technology to power a better future.”

Suntech has a long history of partnering with leading Australian research institutions in the development of advanced solar technology. Recently, the Victoria-Suntech Advanced Solar Facility was launched in Melbourne, Australia, for the development and commercialization of nanoplasmonic solar technology. In addition, Suntech maintains a long-term relationship with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney to co-develop new solar technologies.

“Our long-term research collaborations with Australian organizations are central to driving solar innovation,” said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, who is also a graduate of UNSW and a fellow at the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). “As our planet bears the strains of fossil fuel energy generation, we are empowering people around the world to look up and harness nature’s cleanest and most abundant energy resource. The Shanghai Expo and this remarkable Solar Sailor technology offer shining examples of the power of technology to create a better life.”

Solar Sailor owns patented ‘solarsail’ technology – single devices that can harvest wind and solar energy on any vehicle and has developed hybrid marine power (HMP) technology for a variety of applications from small unmanned vessels, to ferries, cruisers and tankers. The company has contracts for design and supply to ferry operators in the USA and Asia and is working on applications of the technology in UAE, Japan, UK, and Hong Kong. The company’s USA minority owned subsidiary UOV LLC in Virginia has just signed a contract with the US Navy for the development of unmanned ocean vehicles over the next 18 months.

Shanghai Guosheng (Group) Company Limited was formed after the merger of Shengrong and Dasheng companies, following the decision of the municipal party committee and the municipal government in September 2007. Shanghai Guosheng (Group) Company Limited is a state-owned investment holding company which has registered assets of RMB10 billion. Guosheng Group is mainly engaged in investment and asset management and its investment services cover a wide range of sectors such as agricultural products, business estates, construction materials, culture and sports, infrastructure, professional education, refined chemicals, and venture capital investment.

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. produces industry-leading solar products for residential, commercial, industrial, and utility applications. With regional headquarters in China, Switzerland, and the United States, and gigawatt-scale manufacturing worldwide, Suntech has delivered more than 10,000,000 photovoltaic panels to over 1,400 customers in more than 80 countries. Suntech’s pioneering R&D creates customer-centric innovations that are driving solar to grid parity against fossil fuels. Suntech’s mission is to provide everyone with reliable access to nature’s cleanest and most abundant energy source.

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