PlanetSolar, the world's largest solar power boat, was unveiled last week. The white catamaran measures 31m (101ft) long and 15m (49ft) wide, and is designed to reach a top speed of around 15 knots (17mph). It can hold up to 50 passengers.
Power is entirely generated by 500 square meters (5,381 sq ft) of photovoltaic solar panels. SunPower provided approximately 38,000 of their next generation all black photovoltaic cells, an efficiency of at least 22%, which they believe to be the highest efficiency solar cells commercially available.
The boat has been designed for a global circumnavigation planned for 2011. The 60 ton catamaran cost about 18 million euro ($24.4 million) to build at the Knierim Yacht Club in Kiel in northern Germany. It will be launched waterside next month with sea trials due between June and September.
The project was conceived by Raphal Domjan, a 38 year old Swiss , who with Frenchman Grard d'Aboville, (the first person to successfully row the Atlantic Ocean) will skipper PlanetSolar around the world next year to showcase the practicalities of photovoltaic technology. Stopovers on the East-West journey are expected to include Hamburg, London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Singapore and Abu Dhabi.