Zen Yachts

The ZEN50 is a game changer. World’s first series production catamaran equipped with a wingsail, it defines a new distinctive class of its own, where genuine zero-emission meets high comfort and performance, limitlessly. 

Designed from scratch for ZEN Yachts by award-winning naval architect Julien Mélot , this full carbon catamaran is the ultimate essence of technology driven, high performance and luxurious, eco-friendly leisure yachting. 

The blue water capable ZEN50 lightweight racing carbon hulls are combined with a huge solar roof for an unrivaled solar power vs. displacement ratio above 1:1 (18 kW / 17 tonnes), making this yacht completely energy self-sufficient. A revolutionary, fully automated, wingsail - by Ayro© - can be added as a range and speed extender. The yacht’s high capacity battery bank powers a powerful silent electric propulsion, allowing the ZEN50 to achieve 14 knots and maintain high continuous speeds in unrivaled safety and comfort, indefinitely… 

The ZEN50 is offered with or without wingsail and comes in 3 main different versions: Racer, Cruiser and Explorer, each dedicated to a different usage and owner profile. We use these versions as a basis to define a final, bespoke specification for each of our valued clients and ZEN Community Members. Scroll down for more details, specifications and prices.

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1st WINGSAIL series production yacht in the world!

The OceanWings32 - by Ayro© - was initially developed for Team Oracle, for the America’s Cup 2010 in Valencia. Over years, it has further been developed and automated by VPLP and was installed on Energy Observer in 2019. Two years of field feedback have allowed the Ayro team to fine tune the algorithm commanding the wingsail. The ZEN50 is the first series production leisure craft to be equipped with this fully automated wingsail. It is controlled at the touch of a finger on screens, is automatically adjusted and has several safety modes and features. The two parts of the wingsail can be hoisted and lowered independently and with the simple touch of a button. The wingsail OceanWings32 is the ideal complement for the solar roof for those wishing to cruise long distances off-shore with zero-emissions.

ZEN50 wingsail and solar powered performance zero emission electric catamaran yacht by ZEN Yachts

Greatest ratio SOLAR POWER / weight on the market

At 17 tonnes lightweight and 18,000 W of peak solar power, the ratio of the ZEN50 is at over 1 kW per displaced tonne of water or beyond 1:1 which is far beyond any other blue water CE Cat A yacht in this size range. Lots of solar power for little water to displace is the strong and healthy foundation the energy self-sufficient ZEN50 is built upon.

ZEN50 wingsail and solar powered performance zero emission electric catamaran yacht by ZEN Yachts

Performance CARBON sandwich hulls

The hulls of the ZEN50 have been designed from a blank screen for ultimate efficiency - understand minimum drag or minimal energy consumption for a range of speeds from 6 to 10 knots. Their shape is aggressive, sharp and slender. Their reverse bows cut through water like a sword cuts through butter and their curvature is reminiscent of graceful dolphin bodies. These hulls are undoubtedly of the performance type and are built with the best available composites: Carbon fibre and Corecell™. The combination of high strength, low weight and performance design allow the ZEN50 to reach speeds of up to 14 knots.

ZEN50 wingsail and solar powered performance zero emission electric catamaran yacht by ZEN Yachts

INFINITE range at high CONTINUOUS speeds

With maximized solar and wind power and minimized energy consumption… the ZEN50 can sail continuously at speeds varying between 6 and 10 knots. Thorough simulations in various sea states and weather system have consistently shown the ZEN50 will be able to achieve performance catamaran speeds continuously without using a genset. With the ZEN50, the world is your oyster and the wildest destinations are within your reach with this self-reliant vessel!

ZEN50 wingsail and solar powered performance zero emission electric catamaran yacht by ZEN Yachts

True ZERO-EMISSION operation

The first ZEN50 unit, whose construction started in March 2023, will not be equipped with a genset at all and will not have any fossil fuels onboard. The ZEN50 energy system with its very large capacity 160 kWh battery bank, has been designed to function for days in complete safety with minimal solar energy harvest and no wind. It is perfectly safe with no backup genset and operates 24/7 without any polluting emissions.

ZEN50 wingsail and solar powered performance zero emission electric catamaran yacht by ZEN Yachts

NO FUEL , no costs

Naturally, requiring no fuel to operate day in day out is great news for the environment, it is also fantastic news when sailing into remote areas where fuel bunkering might be near impossible or where the fuel quality might be an issue. Finally, it also makes a massive difference in this yacht’s costs of operation. Imagine the hundreds of liters of diesel saved over just a week, the obsolete engine maintenance schedules, the clogged filters and dirty tanks from another age… Welcome to a new burden-free, energy self-sufficient era, welcome to clean and graceful eco-yachting, welcome to ZEN Yachts.

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Highest SAFETY & reliability

At ZEN Yachts, we have made some design choices to attain energy self-reliance with the ZEN50 that reduces the habitable volume in the hulls, similar to performance catamarans. Where we have not and will never compromise is on safety. Our main voltage system is 48V making it perfectly safe to work on. The level of redundancy of the batteries and solar panels is 10! The main electrical architecture is split in 2 so that should anything happen on 1 hull, the entire vessel can still operate normally. There are 2 independent helm stations and the ZEN50 is packed with special safety features, nonsubmersible compartments and we can even offer an in-depth practical course on safety equipment usage and management. Sailing with the ZEN50 is not only exhilarating and clean, it is ultra safe!

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Unrivaled space & COMFORT

The ZEN50 offers the speeds of a performance catamaran, the comfort of a large motor yacht and the simplicity of an electric car. No less than 2 large day beds, 3 dining areas for over 10 people, 1 professional galley and 2 wet kitchens, 5 heads, up to 4 double ensuite cabins, 1 bunk double and 1 single together with both saloon and dining areas converting into extra sleeping areas, this is simply unrivaled on a 50 ft. catamaran. Add an electric tender, dive compressor, satellite internet, 2 helm stations (cockpit and flybridge), a solar roof that converts into a gigantic upper deck to enjoy the most epic sunrises and sunsets, welcome onboard the ZEN50!

ZEN50 wingsail and solar powered performance zero emission electric catamaran yacht by ZEN Yachts

SPECIFICATIONS

Main particulars.

• Length Over All: 15.7m

• Beam: 8.4m

• Depth Molded: 2.7m at midship

• Displacement (light) : 17 T

• Draft (design): 1.3m (4.3ft) incl. keel

• Passenger Capacity: 12

• Berths: 12 (4 x double + 2 x single + saloon)

• Building Material: Carbon Fiber - Corecell™ composite

• Certification: CE Cat A - Unrestricted with 12 persons

Note: Some of the above figures may vary between versions

PROPULSION & ENERGY

• Propulsion: 2 x 50 kW brushless DC motors

• Main Battery Pack Capacity: 160 kWh Lithium

• Solar Roof Peak Power: 18 kWp

• Wingsail: Oceanwings® OWS 3.2 by Ayro©

• Backup Battery Pack Capacity (Nav/Com/Wing): 5 kWh Lithium

• Main System Voltage: 48V - Low voltage for total human safety

• Accommodation Voltage: 110V or 220V

SPEED & RANGE

• Max. Speed on e-motor only: 10 kn

• Max. Speed on e-motor & Wingsail: 14 kn

• Cruising Speed for continuous operation - solar only: 4.5 - 5 kn

• Cruising Speed for continuous operation - solar and wing: 6 - 10 kn

• Cruising Speed day time: 8 - 10 kn

• Range Over 24 h: 180+ nm

Note: These values may vary between versions and sea / weather conditions

EQUIPMENT INCLUDED - RACER VERSION

• Integrated power management system

• Solar power & energy storage system

• Electric propulsion system

• By-wire steering system

• Helm stations at cockpit & flybridge

• Galley counters, storage, sink, oven, stove, fridge, freezer

• 4 en suite heads with enclosed shower, toilet, sink & faucet (in each head)

• All cabin furniture (as shown in layouts)

• Aft deck fixed dining table and aft sofa with collapsible back rest (as shown in layouts)

• Fore deck day bed and lateral seats (as shown in layouts)

• Outdoor marine cork decking / indoor saloon natural bamboo decking

• All cushions In/Outdoor upholstered with Sunbrella® fabric

• 6 deck hatches

• 2 x 500 liter (2 x 132 gal) fresh water tanks

• 2 x 100 liter approx. (2 x 26 gal) fresh water tanks + 1 fresh water pump

• 2 x 350+ liter approx. (2 x 92 gal) holding tanks

• Railings, cleats and fore deck trampolines

• Mooring equipment: 33 kg Rocna® stainless steel anchor + 50 m stainless steel chain 10 mm + 150 m nylon rope + e-windlass

• Regulatory navigation equipment including navigation lights & mast

• 2 x chart plotter 16”; 2 x VHF with DSC button

• Regulatory Life Saving Appliances

• Critical spare parts kit

Note: The above equipment is for the Racer version. Cruiser & Explorer versions carry additional equipment

ZEN50 Solar Wingsail Electric Catamaran - Solar Roof Layout

ZEN50 Solar Wingsail Electric Catamaran - Solar Roof Layout

ZEN50 Solar Wingsail Electric Catamaran - Flybridge Layout

ZEN50 Solar Wingsail Electric Catamaran - Flybridge Layout

ZEN50 Solar Wingsail Electric Catamaran - Main Deck Layout - Asymmetric D (subject to changes)

ZEN50 Solar Wingsail Electric Catamaran - Main Deck Layout - Asymmetric D (subject to changes)

ZEN50 Solar Wingsail Electric Catamaran - Cabin Layout - Asymmetric D (subject to changes)

ZEN50 Solar Wingsail Electric Catamaran - Cabin Layout - Asymmetric D (subject to changes)

ZEN50 Solar Wingsail Electric Catamaran - Cabin Layout - Asymmetric E (subject to changes)

ZEN50 Solar Wingsail Electric Catamaran - Cabin Layout - Asymmetric E (subject to changes)

SOLAR & WINGSAIL

OCEAN RACER

Solar & Wingsail, basic configuration ready to sail, navigation, safety, fridge, etc.

EUR 2 400 000

WORLD CRUISER

Solar & Wingsail, well equipped configuration with, among other options, electric tender, AC and water maker

EUR 2 650 000

ARCTIC EXPLORER

Solar & Wingsail ultimate configuration with all available options

EUR 2 850 000

Solar only, ready to sail basic configuration with navigation, safety, fridge, etc.

EUR 1 850 000

CONTINENTAL CRUISER

Solar only, well equipped configuration with, among other options, electric tender, AC and water maker

EUR 2 100 000

TROPICAL EXPLORER

Solar only, ultimate configuration with all available options

EUR 2 300 000

Ready to reserve your ZEN50?

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  • Yachting World
  • Digital Edition

Yachting World cover

Review: Silent 55, the extraordinary solar powered yacht

Yachting World

  • January 18, 2019

Silent Yachts is tapping into the solar zeitgeist and creating a new meaning for the term ‘powercat’.  Sam Fortescue reports

Silent Yachts Silent 55

There is a slow, silent revolution under way in the yachting world. It is a revolution that is introducing tonnes of lithium and a sprinkling of silicon to the spec list of new boats. Holding out the promise of silent mobility, plus limitless domestic power on board, it made a big splash at the last Cannes Festival of Yachting – not least thanks to the new Silent 55 catamaran which debuted there.

From the pontoon side, the Silent 55 looks like a typical modern catamaran, with a big coachroof studded with windows and a flybridge helm. Except there’s no mast. Now, bear with me here. I realise that this is a sailing magazine, but we will shortly get back to more familiar territory. The unique qualities of this catamaran only become apparent from up top, where an expanse of solar panels stretches away fore and aft, embedded into the coachroof. The hard top itself carries yet more panels, and can be folded down flush to give an unshaded solar array of 49m2. During the heat of a summer day in the Med, this is capable of generating 10kW of power and up to around 60kWh in the course of the day.

Silent Yachts Silent 55 exterior

But to make a solar system work in reality, Köhler had to go back to the drawing board on yacht design. The saloon and hulls have extra thermal insulation to keep air-con losses down, and the use of carbon and aramid in key areas helps reduce the overall weight to a decent 17 tonnes (a Lagoon 52 weighs 22.5 tonnes). He has tried to keep windows out of the direct sun with long overhangs and in contrast to the Lagoon’s 12 deck hatches, the Silent 55 has just two.

Holistic design

On the other hand, it has lots of opening windows, to allow a natural draught to do its job. “It’s a holistic approach – you can’t take the batteries and the drivetrain and drop it into another boat.”

Of course, using the propulsion system quickly takes its toll of the boat’s 140kW battery bank. The model on display at Cannes had two 135kW motors, giving you just half an hour of silent motoring flat-out, albeit at a top speed of over 20 knots. More reasonable 30kW engines and a single-digit speed give you greater range. Nonetheless, the electric drive alone isn’t going to allow you to outrun a storm, or race home after a day at anchor, so the boat is designed to work with a generator hidden in the heavily insulated transom of its starboard hull. At cruising speed of around 5-6 knots, Köhler says there is rarely any need to use the generator, citing an owner who has just emailed him triumphantly about a second year totally generator-free. “In the end, you have to compare it to the performance of a sailing boat,” Köhler says. “It is as fast as a sailing boat in similar conditions – after all, there is no wind without sun.” He went so far as to tell me during the sea trial in Palma, Mallorca, that he believed the majority of sailors would happily dispense with the hassle of sails and a rig if only they could enjoy silent motoring and anchoring. “As soon as people realise the incredible concept of this boat, they won’t understand why they ever did anything else.”

The market does not seem to agree with him – yet. Sales of the boat have been good – they have already sold six, five of which are already in the water. But of those, four customers have taken the sail option, which means planting a 19.7m tall mast complete with boom and rigging slap bang in the middle of the coachroof solar array. “I was a bit amazed,” Köhler admits. “The shade from the rig reduces the energy generated by the solar area, while it costs more and is heavier, so consumes more fuel. Maybe it is for optical reasons.” In fact, the shade of the rig slashes the average yield of the solar panels in half. In the Med, that means around 30kWh per day. But perhaps it figures. The typical profile of buyers is an environmentalist who has a Tesla electric car and is “an early adopter who likes to have things before others”. And at low speeds, with modest use of the air-con, the reduced energy generation should still cover daily consumption.

Silent Yachts Silent 55 Sail Version exterior

The performance under sail should be reasonable because of the lightweight build of the boat, its broad 8.47m beam and stub keels added to each hull. Control lines are led back via conduits in the coachroof to the flybridge helm station, to make single-handing under sail a possibility.

More interesting, I think, is a sort of halfway-house option using a kite rig. This optimises the performance of the solar panels and gives plenty of propulsion. On the smaller 55 and the 64, Silent Yachts currently recommends a 19m2 kite that costs around €25,000 – a fraction of the cost of a new mast, boom, shrouds and sails. “The sail automatically makes a figure of eight above the boat, and you can steer it with a joystick or an app on an android phone,” Köhler explains. “It can propel the 55 at up to 6 knots, even in light winds.” Perfect for an Atlantic crossing, then.

For the bigger Silent 79, which will hit the water in the summer, a commercial grade Sky Sail system needs to be used – a smaller version of the ones used on cargo ships. This kite can propel the boat at ten knots, but it costs more than ten times as much as its smaller cousin. Both are capable of pulling the boat upwind. So far, so new. But outside the novel energy and propulsion system, the Silent 55 aims to do what many other cruising catamarans are trying to achieve. “Most of our clients order for circumnavigation and long-term cruising,” Köhler says. So the boat is aimed to be as comfortable and capable as possible with watermakers, TVs and an induction hob that all capitalise on the boat’s abundant energy. A flexible configuration allows owners the choice 
of between three and six cabins – the latter designed for charter. The owner’s cabin lies forward of the saloon, under the windows of the coachroof, which provide magnificent views and abundant natural light. There’s a walk-around bed and steps down into the starboard hull give access to an en-suite shower room and heads.

Silent Yachts Silent 55 master cabin

In my view, the best cabin lies aft of this, accessed in the traditional manner down steps out of the saloon. The king-sized bed lies athwartships and the shower is larger than that of the master cabin. There’s more space down here, better headroom and still plenty of light courtesy of the many hull lights.

Silent Yachts Silent 55 guest cabin

When I had the chance to sea trial the Silent 55, albeit in motorboat format, I jumped at it. It was a contrary autumn day on Mallorca with 15 knots breeze – just a shame, then, that this wasn’t one of the sailing configured versions.

To start with, getting on board is made really easy courtesy of deep boarding platforms on the skirts. She feels rather square because of that vast, glazed saloon with its deep overhang, and perhaps because of the utilitarian nature of the hard top, which is really about supporting more solar panels. Nevertheless, the side decks are broad and uncluttered. The space up top is designed to concertina down flat, hence the hydraulic rams, fold-down seat back and lowering console. It makes a great sailing position, though, with all round visibility, and is also perfect for sundowners at anchor. When the rain comes down, this feels quite exposed, but there is a fully sheltered helm at the front of the saloon, and it is also possible to drive the boat from anywhere using a tablet thanks to smart electronics. Under power, the handling is superb. The quietness of the motors is astonishing, and I gather they’ll be inaudible on the next boat, which will do away with the gearbox. Even in the aft cabins, directly above the motors, there is no more than a distant hum. The boat responds instantly to the power and the wind seemed to have no impact at all. As with any propulsion system, the power consumption jumps as you pile on the speed – it was sobering to see. At 6 knots, both motors drew 10kW but at 8 knots it was closer to 30kW. I liked the huge saloon with its raised table for 360º views. And the sliding door and window gives great access aft, connecting the saloon and cockpit in fine conditions. The finish was smart and in muted tones, feeling more Scandinavian than German.

Intriguingly, at least it seems to me, Köhler has tapped into something with the concept behind Silent Yachts – but not entirely for the reasons that he expected. Buyers are opting for the sail or kite versions of the boat because they want a comfortable wind-powered craft with abundant, quiet energy on tap. It brings a whole new meaning to the 
term ‘powercat’

Lagoon 46 sailing

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Outremer 51 catamaran at sea

Multihulls: owners’ experiences and reviews

They have two different boats, different sailing plans and two very different sets of experience. But what these cruisers have…

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Recharge at Sea: Solar Catamarans Harness Sun-Powered Serenity

on

Just as a residential solar system makes a house independent of an electricity grid, a marine solar panel makes a yacht independent of a fossil fuel powered generator. Catamarans boosted by solar power systems are increasingly in demand in today’s day and age for their increased energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact.

Here is everything you should know about solar catamarans from Sunreef Yachts Eco :

An Introduction to Solar Catamarans

Derived from natural sources, renewable energy is replenished at a far higher rate than consumed. Of these, solar energy is the most abundant renewable energy resource on Earth that may even be harnessed during cloudy weathers. Additionally, because sunlight remains omnipresent, powering a watercraft with solar energy is a fitting concept.

Before we continue exploring the subject of solar catamarans, let us focus on the architecture. The twin hull structure of catamarans translates into a large beam, which provides ample space for solar panels installation. To top it off, catamarans have a fairly shallow draft that produces little to no drag, making them exceptionally energy efficient .

Marine solar panels are currently gaining substantial popularity amongst catamaran designers and manufacturers as a medium of supplying clean energy via a reliable source. Sunreef Yachts Eco is a pioneer in solar catamarans as we believe that the incorporation of a solar power system into yachts births an environmentally friendly yachting solution with a significantly reduced carbon footprint.

The Benefits of Solar Catamarans

The ocean is home to the largest continuous ecosystems; unfortunately, it also remains the most sensitive. Millions of people across the globe indulge in recreational marina and boating activities leaving behind pollution in their wake.

Here are three ways in which solar catamarans rectify commonly occurring hazards for the greater good of the environment:

1. Fuel (oil or gasoline) spills and the discharge of combusted fuels from engines readily contaminates water surrounding the marinas. This aggravates toxicity levels in water, resulting in increased pollutant concentrations in aquatic organisms and sediments.

For illustration, coral reefs, which are a vital source of nitrogen and nutrients for marine food chains and provide shelter for over one million aquatic species, are nearing extinction due to water pollution. Installing solar panels would, without a doubt, decrease the dependency of all types of watercrafts on non-renewable energy sources, i.e., fossil fuels, for operations and increase energy efficiency.

2. Noise from moving gas-powered ships cuts straight to the sea floor and back. These acoustic vibrations transmitting end-to-end affect marine animals to a great extent. Research suggests that human-caused noises result in disrupted behaviours, increased stress, and impaired feeding in marine life, leading to injury and death. Solar catamarans are far quieter than their combustion-driven counterparts; thus, they maintain the oceanic silence vital for the marine life as it enables communication and continuous growth.

3. The elimination of fuels also makes solar yachts more affordable to run and maintain in the long haul. In comparison to fuel powered generators, solar catamarans produce electricity at a lower cost since solar panels obtain power via the sunlight, a renewable source of energy that is present in abundance. But even if your catamaran utilizes both fuel and solar power, you are still to enjoy significant savings on fuel.   

Why Power A Boat with Solar Panels   

Apart from the obvious environmental factors, solar panels fulfil an important criterion for the oceangoing voyagers who do not wish to be left stranded far from land with a dead battery: unlimited backup power.   

On a typical sailing day, there is ample sunlight to ensure the backup battery restores enough power to generate electricity that keeps motors, electrical systems, and onboard appliances running. An added benefit of solar panels is that they continue to generate power even when the catamaran is at a standstill. This energy is stored in batteries for later use.   

Furthermore, unlike gas powered generators, solar catamarans do not produce excessive heat, are quieter, and experience little to no vibrations. This allows boat trips to remain pleasant for sailors and vacationers.   

Sunreef Yachts combines luxury with sustainability to offer noiseless, vibration-free, and fume-free cruising experiences. Launched under the Sunreef Yachts Eco flag, our sailing and motor yachts are powered using inhouse engineered solar panels that are fully integrated within their composite structure for optimal results. However, an additional asset for sailing solar catamarans remains the ability to combine eco motoring with wind propulsion with the use of high-performance kites.   

The Mechanism of the Solar Power System   

Classification of solar panels   .

There are various kinds of solar panels available for marine boats: adjustable panels, standard panels, and high-energy thin-film panels. While some may argue that having a portable solar panel makes it easier to relocate to where the sun shines the brightest, permanently mounted panels remain ready to go throughout the day.

Despite their long life, standard panels often fail to find a place in the marine industry as they compromise the space availability onboard. Hence, high-energy thin-film panels emerge as winners due to their ability of being permanently embedded on the solar catamaran’s bodywork without restricting living space.

The research and development team at Sunreef Yachts Eco developed the industry’s first composite integrated photovoltaic technology to produce highly efficient, shock resistant, flexible, and ultra-thin solar panels. This in-house engineered solar power system was recognized as a winner of the German Design Award 2022 in the category of Excellent Product Design: Eco Design .

Each solar panel consists of photovoltaic cells, compromising of a positive and negative layer for creating an electrical field. These are made of singly-crystal silicon, a semiconductor that absorbs the radiations of the sun to produce electrical power via the photovoltaic effect. For better understanding: the photovoltaic effect is the process of converting photons (a particle of light) to voltage.

Technical Specifications of Solar Panels

While the average solar panels’ weight lies between 8 to 15 kilograms per square meter, Sunreef Yachts Eco’s solar cells have a thickness below one millimetre and weigh only 1.8 kilograms per square meter. This makes Sunreef Yachts Eco the lightest marine solar power system producer in the solar catamaran market.

Each of the solar cells administered into the Sunreef solar catamarans are ISO 9001:2015 certified and offer a peak performance of ±24 percent, this is 25 to 30 percent more power compared to conventional cells. Despite this, these solar cells do not heat up excessively when receiving sunlight.

Integration Into the Solar Catamarans Structure

The orientation of the sun should be as such as that it hits the solar panels at a 90° angle for best performance. However, with the Earth rotating around its axis to produce a 24-hour day, it is non-viable to ensure the perfect angle throughout the day.

What is more is that the amount of energy produced may also differ depending on external factors, such as a building preventing direct sunlight from hitting the solar panels or light experiencing diffraction from the waterbody before contact. For this reason, it is best to invest in high-efficiency solar cells that generate maximum energy even from limited number of active panels.

Sunreef Yachts Eco makes the most of its solar catamarans’ space availability by spreading its “solar skin” across the hulls, mast, superstructure, bow terrace and bimini roof. Due to this arrangement, the solar panels receive ample sunlight at desired angles from early morning to late afternoon.

At the same time, light rays bouncing off the surface of water to the solar panels, in a process called reflection, also helps generate electricity. These superior performance solar panels possess great strength and durability to survive adverse conditions, year after year.

Generation of Electricity on Solar Catamarans

The crystals in marine solar cells are treated to enable the movement of electrons to generate an electric current. These silicon electrons activate only when in direct contact with sunrays. Instantaneously they start producing direct current (or DC) charges, which is captured by wires and stored in the batteries as energy.

At this point, a charge controller is employed as a regulator for the energy to transfer from the solar panels to the battery. It not only manages the energy load received by the battery, but also prolongs the battery life and performance by ensuring the battery is not overcharged or overloaded. Solar catamarans deploy multiple charge controllers depending on the energy produced.

While the current may be supplied directly to support the electrical demands of the catamaran, if the appliances demand alternating current (or AC), an inverter is added to the cycle to convert the DC to AC first.

Solar Catamarans in Action

But how much energy is enough energy? Working out a catamarans’ energy requirements requires summing up the energy consumed by each device onboard in watt-hours. For better understanding: energy is power accumulated over time, so if power is calculated in watts, energy is watt-hours.

Hence, the first step of installing solar panels dictates an extensive energy assessment of the watercraft. This requires checking the labels of every individual appliance onboard for its typical amp hours and volts used, be it the fridge, fan, or lightbulb. A battery monitor can also help measure energy consumed more accurately.

Depending on the size of the catamaran and the energy consumed, the solar panels size and wattage of power can be precisely determined. Multiple solar panels may be wired together to form a solar array for maximum energy generation. Aiming to fulfil the power needs of your catamaran with solar panels allows you to enjoy a quiet, peaceful anchorage.

Overcoming The Challenges of Solar Catamarans

While yacht solar panels resolve the problem for keeping the batteries topped up without running the generator, solar power systems are faced with challenges of their own. For starters, the harsh weather incurred at sea and saltwater splashing on or immersing the panels accounts for much damage.

However, technological advancements have enabled solar panels to withstand most of these environmental adversities. To illustrate, the installation and electronics linked with solar power systems have now become more resistant to short circuits and corrosion.

Sunreef Yachts Eco employs a unique photovoltaic integration technique in solar catamarans to give the panels extreme resistance to shock and abrasion. Even if the cell eventually cracks, the solid metal foundation remains intact to maintain a high-power output. Furthermore, these solar panels experience no light-induced degradation, no temperature coefficient, and favourable low-light and broad spectral response.

Likewise, the constrains of surface area for marine solar PVs have been addressed with the ability to manufacture customized solar panels. For instance, Sunreef Yachts Eco uses the lightest solar cells in the industry which offer unparalleled flexibility for placement on rounded surfaces of the solar catamaran while others break under pressure. Here solar panels are integrated vertically (on hull sides, flybridge sides, and mast) and horizontally (on front flybridge and bimini) to maximize energy generation.

While the Sunreef Yachts Eco’s solar panel system has a protracted life expectancy, any panels sustaining damage, due to adverse conditions at sea or other geographical circumstances, can easily be replaced. However, it is proven repeatedly that their performance remains unaltered over extended periods of time.

Efficiency of Solar Catamarans Vs. Diesel Yachts

Solar panels make for an ideal energy provider as they ensure the batteries always have power. This makes solar catamarans more self-sustainable and cost efficient to run in comparison to gas-powered ones. Additionally, fewer moving parts in solar catamarans call for significantly lesser maintenance in comparison to diesel yachts.

Boats of all shapes, sizes, and types (sail or motor) can be powered via solar energy to run all onboard appliances on battery. Apart from fulfilling the watercrafts’ day to day electrical usage, utilizing a renewable source of energy extends the durability and reliability of the catamaran.

But most importantly, a solar powered yacht compared to a standard diesel yacht has a significantly reduced carbon footprint. Ideally, with the use of solar power generation on catamarans, you would save 108.5kg of CO2 emissions per day or 39.6 metric tonnes annually.

Why Invest in A Solar Catamaran?

The wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and the sweet smell of the sea are one of the many joys of sailing. However, as an ocean enthusiast, it is crucial to calculate your impact on the environment. On average, the Sunreef Yachts Eco’s solar catamarans account for substantial electricity generation of up to 30 kWh, promoting a positive green footprint.

Today, solar catamarans are trending among yacht owners and shipbuilders as a clean medium to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Additionally, staying true to its legacy of yacht innovation and evolution, Sunreef Yachts Eco continues to work on advancements to its solar panels for improved performance, efficiency, and durability.

Evaluating the Sunreef Yachts Eco Solar Catamarans

Using advanced technology, Sunreef Yachts Eco has engineered ultra-thin, flexible solar panels with the best performance on the market. They are seven times lighter than the average solar power system, enabling them to be fully integrated into the composite structures, including curved surfaces.

The more surface area covered, the more electricity generated. The 80 Sunreef Power incorporates 200 square meters of solar panels (weighing about 360 kilograms) that deliver an astounding 40 kilowatts peak per hour. This setup alone produces solar energy equalling to two generators weighing 800 kilograms altogether.

Hence proven that Sunreef Yachts Eco optimized marine solar panel system outperforms a diesel generator both by weight and performance. Additionally, at reduced speeds, the Sunreef 80 Eco remains fully autonomous, running solely on solar power.

In light of sustainable yachting, Sunreef Yachts Eco has committed to launch over 40 models of its solar catamarans by the end of 2024; this includes a wide selection of sailing yachts, power yachts, and superyachts. Furthermore, Sunreef Yachts has begun commissioning a new range of technologically advanced hybrid ecospeeders, called the Sunreef ULTIMA , that would further extend their solar catamarans line up.

Future Innovations in Solar Catamarans

Despite the distinctive competency of Sunreef Yachts Eco in solar catamarans, the journey of innovation does not come to a halt. To further reduce our carbon footprint, we are undergoing ground-breaking research to redirect excess heat secured from direct sunlight on solar panels to the boilers of our solar catamarans.

Furthermore, Sunreef Yachts Eco is currently developing a concept of an all-new 90 feet sustainable sailing superyacht , called ‘The Zero Cat’ . Apart from sporting a solar power system, this catamaran will use a zero-emission generator to convert methanol to clean hydrogen for unlimited autonomy and greater self-sufficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why are solar catamarans favorable?  Because sunlight remains omnipresent, solar catamarans discern as a greener, cost efficient, and self-sustaining yachting solution . The environmentally friendly passenger conveyance from Sunreef Yachts Eco is consciously built to counter air, water, and sound pollution.
  • What is a solar catamaran? A solar catamaran is a twin-hulled vessel powered by solar panels, harnessing sunlight to drive its propulsion and onboard systems, offering an eco-friendly alternative to traditional fossil fuel-powered boats. Powered using inhouse engineered solar panels, solar catamarans designed and manufactured by Sunreef Yachts Eco encourage a positive green footprint at sea. 
  • Do solar catamarans exist? Launched under the Sunreef Yachts Eco flag, our sailing and motor yachts are powered using inhouse engineered solar panels that are fully integrated within their composite structure for optimal results. The Polish designer and manufacturer has also committed to launch 40 additional models of its solar catamarans in 2024.
  • Are there any solar powered yachts? With an increasing demand for solar catamarans with increased energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact, Sunreef Yachts Eco has put to sea several variants of its sailing and power catamarans such as the Sunreef 60 Eco , Sunreef 70 Eco , Sunreef 80 Eco , and 80 Sunreef Power Eco
  • What are the advantages of solar catamarans? The installation of solar panels reduces a watercrafts sole dependency on non-renewable energy sources for operations. In comparison to their combustion-driven counterparts, solar catamarans offer noiseless, vibration-free, and fume-free cruising experiences.
  • How much is a solar-powered catamaran? With Sunreef Yachts Eco’s philosophy of promoting clean green yachting, the company has released a new range of solar catamarans , the Sunreef ULTIMA , with prices starting as low as €2M* for the 44 ULTIMA ECO . *Please note that all prices listed are subject to change at any time without prior notice.

ULTIMA RANGE

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Sailing with Whisper Yachts in 2024

  • Full autonomy
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Whisper Yachts embarks the best of technology aboard solar-powered yachts designed to be both in harmony and respect with the sea.

Whisper Yachts offers an exclusive 50 ft luxury yacht powered by green energy that provides a way of sailing more handy, comfy and eco-friendly.

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The perfect balance between luxury and sustainability

A new way of exploration, bring innovative and environmental solutions to sea navigation.

A new way of exploration

Green technology

Whisper Yachts is constantly innovating and adapting its products to push back the limits of responsible navigation, placing respect for seas and oceans at the heart of their concerns.

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Slow cruising

With Whisper Yachts, reveal your pioneering spirit. Enjoy a sense of belonging in the middle of the immensity, delight the beauty of the oceans without damaging them.

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Respect of the seas

Whisper Yachts reduces the carbon impact on the environment by 90% and is working to reduce to 100%. 

Sustainable by nature, the design team is committed to always selecting sustainable materials without compromising quality. 

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Whisper Yachts offers a range of green energy luxury yachts with 100% solar electric motor yachts that provide a way of sailing more handy, comfy and eco-friendly. 

Whisper Yachts exists to bring sustainable and environmental solutions to sea navigation.

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A family's quest for sustainable travel

In the pulsating heart of a bustling metropolis, an art gallery transforms into a stage, unveiling the intimate theater of a family. Sarah and Thomas, embodiments of complicity, wander among the artworks, their young son, Lucas, a silent witness to their harmony. Each painting, each sculpture, becomes a chapter in their story, woven with vibrant colors, mesmerizing shapes, and tales whispered to the soul.

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The evolution of yachts: from sail to motorization

The evolution of yachts is a fascinating journey through history, marking humanity’s progress in navigation, engineering, and luxury. This evolution mirrors not just technological advancements but also a shift in our relationship with the seas.

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  • Environment

In this time of reflection and renewal, Whisper Yachts invites us to welcome 2024 with a resolution that transcends the traditional, by personally committing to the preservation of our planet. This commitment takes the form of an unparalleled sailing experience aboard their solar electric yachts, a perfect fusion of luxury, technology, and ecological awareness.

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Returning to nature, an escape from contemporary chaos

In a world where every second counts, where the incessant notifications from our devices constantly remind us of our duties and responsibilities, the anxiety of immediacy has become a tangible reality. Crowded streets, ever-present screens, and the breakneck pace of modern life have created a stifling atmosphere, leaving little room for serenity and contemplation. The relentless waves of often alarming information overwhelm us, leaving us in search of a sanctuary, an escape.

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Merging luxury with ocean conservation

Since the earliest days of terrestrial existence, the oceans have been the stage for an eternal dance of life. These vast expanses of saltwater, stretching as far as the eye can see, witnessed the birth of the first life forms and have been the silent observers of the evolution of millions of species. These deep and mysterious seas have inspired countless legends, myths, and tales of adventure, reflecting the fascination and reverence they educated  humanity.

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Where modularity meets opulence

Your yacht, a symbol of luxury and innovation, is equipped with the latest technologies, offering you an unparalleled sailing experience. But what about tomorrow, when the technology will so much improve that you will dream of having it onboard ?

The Whisper Yachts are designed to be able to easily upgrade all high tech equipment when you decide so. 

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Redefining luxury with innovation and design

Embark now on this symphony of the sea, where each voyage aboard a Whisper Yachts becomes an ode to grace, elegance, and the poetry of sailing. With Guy Marchal, Symphony Marine, Berret Racoupeau Yacht Design, and the innovative vision of Torqeedo, let yourself be carried away to a new horizon, where dreams and reality merge in perfect harmony upon the glistening waters.

Soel Yachts

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  • Soel Senses 62
  • Soel Senses 82
  • Soel Shuttle 14
  • Custom model

True ecotourism

no more fuel

The SoelCat 12 is an energy autonomous solar electric boat, designed from the ground up as a fully sustainable excursion vessel to enjoy the sea. The solar catamaran brings  true eco-tourism  to water-bound operators, communities, resorts, lagoons and nature reserves. With no CO2 or noise emissions involved, we can save the ocean and offer a better experience to our guests! The heart of the concept is  silence : being on board without any distractions lets the journey become the destination!

Solar electric yacht désigner Soel Yachts

“Being on the solar catamaran gives you a feeling of total relaxation and freedom. The energy autonomous boat is powered by clean energies and we don’t have to worry about harming the environment with dirty exhaust fumes, fossil fuels or complicated maintenance! Our guests love the quietness and the openness of the vessel, which make every sunset cruise a very special moment!”

S. Dekeunynck, French Polynesia

electric from the start

The SoelCat 12 solar electric catamaran is integrally designed for electric propulsion right from the first line drawing to the matched propeller. Every aspect of this vessel contributes towards its highly efficiency for solar electric sailing. The lightweight yet durable fibreglass construction, the large solar roof and the super slender hulls are the major key factors for the solar vessel’s high performance when it comes to speed and range. The electric propulsion system for the SoelCat 12 is superior when it comest to volume and weight.

MOBILE POWER STATION

During downtime, the SoelCat 12 can utilise its large solar array to provide energy for your land based electricity grid. The solar electric catamaran then turns into a mobile power station and is able to feed 8.6kWp into the AC grid or provide power at remote places where no grid is available. The 120kWh  lithium battery  system supplies all the energy required for save operations during day and night.

Tesla on the water, SoelCat 12, SOEL YACHTS, mobile power station on the ocean, electric catamaran, electric boat company, solar electric naval architecture

SPECIFICATIONS

Length 11.80 m 39 ft
Beam 5.80 m 19 ft
Draught 0.70 m 2.3 ft
Displacement 6 ton 13.200 lb
Solar Power 8.6 kWp
Battery Capacity 2x 60 kWh
Electric Motor 2x 30 kW
V 13 kn
V 8 kn
V 6 kn
Passengers 12 – 20
Crew 4
CE Design Category C
  • Running Time (battery only)
  • Running Time (with solar)

Solar yacht design by Soel Yachts

“Every detail on the boat is perfect – gorgeous spaces to relax, great spots to view the sunset or the marine life, and even a bar! My favorite moment of all was after sunset, when an incredible manta ray came to say hello, drawn by the underwater lights of the solar catamaran.”

S. Lee, New Zealand

fully customizable

The deck space of the solar electric boat can be customised to your wishes and host a variety of seating arrangements and layouts. Choose classic yacht fittings, luxurious and comfortable. Or practical and economical deck wear and simple bench setup for water taxi services. Furthermore, the electric catamaran can be equipped with a day head in the port side hull.  Get in contact with us now  to learn more about the different options and to discuss your personal requirements with your Soel Yachts contact partner.

Boat interior solar electric catamaran

The solar electric catamaran can be equipped with removable roll down screens on every side for flexibility in every situation. Screens for sun shading can be applied on good days, while transparent rain screens protect your guests in bad weather conditions. When the screens are not in use, the comfortable SoelCat 12 lounge layout offers spacious space options in the hulls and underneath the furniture.

Protection screens from the SoelCat 12 solar electric catamaran

SUSTAINABLE SEA TRANSPORT

With both the Okeanos Foundation and Soel Yachts sharing a vision of sustainable sea transport and striving for a healthier planet, we are honoured that our partner, the Okeanos Foundation has funded and supported the development of the SoelCat 12. The first SoelCat 12, named the ‘Okeanos Pearl’ is the first energy autonomous vessel for the ecotourism industry and will pave the way for more sustainable coastal water vessels in many different sectors. The Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort is proving a pioneering spirit by operating the solar electric Okeanos Pearl. As the first resort, they are offering truly sustainable, noise and emission-free excursions in the pristine lagoon of Bora Bora to their guests.

Demountable

The SoelCat 12 can be delivered as a demountable solar electric boat, which fits into two 40ft high cube containers. Such compact dimensions enable ease transport of the catamaran at affordable rates to destinations all over the world. Neither lamination processes or specialized tools are required for the SoelCat 12’s quick assembly on location. For more details, please feel free to follow the link below and discuss your project requirements with your Soel Yachts partner!

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Solar Boats - Electric Yachts Catamarans

10 SOLAR Boats 2023 & 2024 | Electric Yachts & Catamarans

With more steps being taken towards sustainable development, new, eco-friendly solar boats have been introduced in the world of green travel: solar electric catamarans. 

Solar boats are electric yachts that can go for long distances without needing to stop for fuel and without emissions. Those solar catamarans are interesting eco-friendly alternatives to the classic power boat or sailing yacht for cruising. However, there are also a few disadvantages that you should know about before purchasing one!

10 Solar boats, electric yachts & catamarans

Here are the best solar boats that will delight you with a top-notch sustainable yachting experience based on your requirements:

Sunreef Yachts – Eco 80 Sail Catamaran

  • Silent Yachts – Silent 80 3-Deck

HH Catamarans – HH44

Silent yachts – silent 60, sunreef 43m eco (140 ft).

  • Silent 120 Explorer
  • 100 Sunreef Power Eco

Azura Marine – Aquanima 40

Soel yachts – soel senses 48, serenity yachts – serenity 64 (hybrid).

Here’s a quick summary of the features of the best solar catamarans for green yachting in 2023-2024:

Solar BoatsSolar Powered
Electric Propulsion
SailsDiesel
Engine
SizePrice
from
Sunreef
Eco 80 Sail
L$8 mm
Silent Yachts
Silent 80
Kite
Sail
L$6 mm
HH Catamarans
HH44
S$1 mm
Silent Yachts
Silent 60
Kite
Sail
M$2.7 mm
Sunreef 43M Eco
(140 ft)
XLOn request.
Expected
$23 mm
Silent Yachts
Silent 120 Explorer
Kite
Sail
XLOn request.
Expected
$19 mm
100 Sunreef Power EcoOptional
Hybrid
XLOn request.
Expected
$15 mm
Azura M.
Aquanima 40
XS$0.6 mm
Soel
Senses 48
SOn request.
Expected
$1 mm
Serenity Yachts
Serenity 60
M$2.7 mm

If you are an advocate of sustainable yachting or sustainable tourism and are looking to buy an eco-friendly boat that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels , then you would do well to consider getting a solar catamaran. In this article, I will go through the pros and cons of 10 of the best solar yachts and superyachts that you can buy in 2023 and 2024!

It is also important to note that while there are solar panels for sailboats that you can fit on older models, those new boats have been specifically designed to maximize the use of renewable energy.

Most Luxurious + Most innovative solar system

The Eco 80 Sail Catamaran is one of the electric solar boats provided by Sunreef Yachts.

It features a unique “solar skin” that covers all composite structures on the boat, including hull sides, boom, mast, bimini, and superstructure. This green tech makes it possible to place solar panels where it wouldn’t normally be possible (like the hull and any other smaller but useful surface) and provide enough solar energy from every angle.

The boat is 80-feet long (24.38 meters) and includes electric motors that push it smoothly over the water without causing any vibrations or noise.

Besides being solar powered boat, the Eco 80 Sail Catamaran can also be powered by wind and hydropower. It is designed with a sail on its structure, allowing it to tap into wind power and supplement the solar.

The solar powered sailboat generates enough green power not only to propel the boat and keep it moving but also to charge the essential electric water appliances and other water-sport toys.

So far, the Sunreef Yachts Eco solar sailboats have earned a good reputation for being eco-friendly and sustainable. Besides, this solar powered catamaran takes its commitment to the environment a notch higher by using recycled materials , natural fibers, and non-toxic paints to create their boats.

It is no wonder that Sunreef Yachts have been winning environmental awards for so many years. This solar sailboat is one of the most remarkable boats you can ever invest in and it clearly shows the latest advancements in technology .

Prices: about $8 million USD

Where to buy : Sunreef Yachts .

  • Larger surface covered with solar panels, that are installed also along the hull, and in other unusual areas.
  • The batteries are 30% lighter than normal
  • Unlimited cruising range.
  • It runs silently and does not cause pollution.
  • It has also traditional sails, so it can cruise also when it is not sunny without relying on batteries.
  • Luxury, superb quality and finishing
  • Great helm position.
  • The solar catamaran is very costly (going for $8 million USD or more).
  • The solar panels installed on the sides of the catamaran may not be appealing to the eye of all people.

Silent Yachts – Silent 80 Tri-Deck Solar Catamaran

Best pure electric

The Silent 80 Tri-Deck Solar yacht is popular for the large amount of space it offers.

This solar catamaran by Silent Yachts features three large decks that can be easily customized to fit the owner’s preferences and needs. The topmost deck can either be open or enclosed.

This solar powered yacht offers 4 to 6 cabins that are customizable, regardless of whether the deck remains open or enclosed. Besides, the top deck provides additional living space and can be used as a luxury master suite that opens onto a private space outdoors.

Where to buy : Silent Yachts .

  • Purely electric propulsion that can be helped by the kite sail.
  • The finishing, while being of high standards, doesn’t seem to be at the level of other options in its category.
  • Quite costly, with prices starting at about $6 million USD.
  • If going for a long cruise during cloudy days you may need to run the generator to keep going.
  • The kite sail helps to give some propulsion using wind, but it is less effective than traditional sails.
  • The absence of a traditional sail may make the boat a bit less stable, compromising a bit of the comfort while cruising.

Best for world cruising

HH Catamarans is a small boutique boat builder designing some of the most impressive solar boats for cruising, with one of their latest creations being the HH44.

The HH44 is a groundbreaking new boat that is designed to be eco-friendly and efficient.

The boat has a large battery bank that can be charged by solar panels, and also has two electric motors that can be used for electric propulsion up to 7 knots for up to 2h.

The HH44 has an innovative propulsion system named Eco-Drive. This is a parallel hybrid system that combines diesel and electric propulsion for long-range motoring and silent electric propulsion.

The boat also has two diesel engines, which can be used for long-range motoring or to generate electricity. The boat is also designed to be safe, with four propulsion devices plus sails and a large solar array.

The HH44 has a number of technical features that make it a groundbreaking eco-friendly design, including:

  • 3 types of propulsion: full electric, standard diesel, and sail.
  • 4.2 kWh of solar panels: generating power for recharging the lithium battery bank for solar .
  • 10 kW electric motors (5kW each): mounted on the back end of each diesel engine for electric propulsion.
  • The diesel engines can be used both for propulsion and as electric generators.
  • Possibility to use the propellers to recharge the battery while the boat is sailing. Kind of like using hydropower to charge your solar batteries , pretty cool!

The HH44 is also a performance catamaran thanks to its C-shaped §daggerboards. Daggerboards are an essential component of many sailing vessels, providing both vertical lift and increased upwind sailing performance.

This solar powered yacht features up to 4 double cabins and 2 heads . Not bad for this world-cruising vessel!

If instead, you are looking for a larger boat, HH Catamarans also have other models up to 88ft.

This solar catamaran was also the preferred choice of Gone with the Wynns , a popular cruising YouTube channel. Here’s their announcement video:

Where to buy : HH Catamarans .

  • A true performance world cruiser.
  • Very resilient with 3 different propulsion modes (electric, sail, and conventional engines) and ideal for offshore cruising.
  • It can run silently and without causing pollution.
  • More affordable than other solar catamarans, starting from $1 mm USD
  • Smaller than other options.
  • The improved sailing performance requires narrower hulls, which reduces the available space onboard compared to other traditional vessels of similar size

Best mid-range

The Silent 60 is one of the smaller electric boats made by Silent Yachts. It is designed to be handled by at least two people. The users can either choose to include an additional crew or not.

Despite its outward small appearance, Silent 60 is very spacious and can accommodate a good number of people.

Besides, the electric yacht has a beautiful design that adds to its elegant and luxurious feel. It is usually designed with up to 6 cabins , with each cabin offering every basic amenity you need to have a luxurious stay on the yacht. In fact, the electric solar boat is equipped with everything you need to allow you to live on board permanently!

Solar catamaran - Sunreef 43M Eco

As someone who loves spending time on the water, I was really excited to learn about the Sunreef 43M Eco: a superyacht that is both eco-friendly and luxurious.

I was especially impressed by the solar power system, which is built into the composite structures of the yacht, and the large hydraulic platform which creates a vast walkaround beach club.

The interior of the solar superyacht is just as impressive as the exterior, with a variety of sustainably-sourced materials and fabrics used throughout as well as energy-saving air-conditioning. The Sunreef 43M Eco can welcome up to 12 guests in the most luxurious conditions.

Silent Yachts – Silent 120 Explorer

Solar yacht - Silent 120 Explorer

Here’s another incredible solar super-yacht by Silent Yachts. The Silent 120 Explorer is a truly unique yacht, designed to explore the world in style and comfort.

Powered by solar energy, this solar catamaran is perfect for those who want to enjoy the beauty of the open seas without worrying about the impact on the environment.

With plenty of space for guests and all the amenities you need onboard, the Silent 120 Explorer is the perfect choice for your next adventure. If you’re looking for a yacht that combines luxury and environmental responsibility, the Silent 120 Explorer is a perfect choice.

The company didn’t yet release detailed information, however, this superyacht seems to be even featuring a helipad under the roof’s solar panels!

The Silent 120 Explorer has plenty of room for guests and all the amenities you need onboard. So if you’re ready to embark on your next great adventure, be sure to consider the Silent 120 Explorer, which will likely start being delivered in 2023.

The 100 Sunreef Power Eco

Sunreef recently launched and sold their first 100 Sunreef Power Eco catamaran, a transatlantic luxury craft that takes solar boat design to the next level.

With massive living space, great autonomy, and impressive features like a flybridge that can be transformed into an outdoor cinema, the 100 Sunreef Power Eco is the perfect vessel for cruising in supreme luxury

This catamaran uses the latest innovations in solar power to achieve outstanding energy efficiency, and its ultralight battery bank provides for silent cruising and infinite range.

The fully customizable interior and exterior make this catamaran a truly one-of-a-kind option, and its use of ethically-sourced and eco-responsible materials is sure to please even the most discerning buyer.

If you’re looking for an electric yacht that is both luxurious and eco-friendly, the 100 Sunreef Power Eco is certainly a great option for you if you can afford it!

The most affordable $

The Aquanima 40 catamaran is entirely powered by solar energy. It features creative adaptations and unique innovations that make it eco-friendlier and more economical boat than other solar-powered catamarans. For example, the solar panels installed on the electric catamaran are built in such a way that they can sell any excess solar energy back to shore stations when connected.

The exterior of the Aquanima 40 has an elegant design. Also, the interior is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also very clean and modern.

The boat is designed with 2 single cabins for the crew and 2 double cabins for guests.

Indeed, this solar boat by Azura Marine is one of the most economical and cost-effective options you can go for when buying a solar catamaran.

  • Relatively fast.
  • Ideal for short vacations.
  • The most affordable solar catamaran, starting at about $0.6 million USD.
  • Much smaller than other options.
  • Not recommended for long cruises.
  • Basic looks and layout.

As its name suggests, the Soel Senses 48 is 48 feet long. It has a slender design and is lightweight , making it more economical than most other solar-powered boats.

The boat is designed with two sleeping berths that can accommodate two people each. It also includes a salon that can offer enough sleeping space for four people. 

Compared with most other solar yachts, the Soel Senses 48 has a much smaller size. Its size, adding to its sleek and innovative design, give it faster speed than other solar-powered boats.

It incorporates 12 solar panels installed on the roof ; all these panels generate a combined electrical power of up to 2.7 kWh. The electricity generated by the solar panels is then stored in two batteries which can be easily configured to hold a maximum solar power of 142 kWh.

Like other Soel Yachts, the Soel Senses 48 glides smoothly over water without causing any noise, rattles, or generating fumes.

It has average cruising speeds of 10 knots, even reaching top speeds of up to 18 knots. However, the solar catamaran cannot run at its top speed for long periods.

Both the interior and the exterior of the Soel Senses 48 have a sleek and modern design. Every single component of the solar catamaran has been designed carefully to make it as functional and comfortable as possible. Therefore, when you board on this boat, you can expect to experience one of the best sailing experiences of your life.

The Serenity 64 Yacht features a diesel engine. It is a hybrid solar boat, which means that it can run on either solar power or on diesel.

The diesel engine especially comes in handy when the users wish to achieve faster cruising.

The solar catamaran is a very spacious electric boat and provides plenty of living space. It is built with four luxurious cabins, with each cabin having its ensuite bathroom. And even though the Serenity 64 is smaller than the Serenity 74 model also built by Serenity, it still provided an elegant feel and a smooth sailing experience.

Solar Boats Pros and Cons

Solar Boats pros and cons

The sun is a powerful and free source of energy, making solar power an attractive option for those looking to power their yacht. Solar panels can be used to generate electricity to run the yacht’s lights, appliances, and even the engine. Solar power can also be used to heat water for showers and laundry. But, what are the pros and cons of solar catamarans?

Here’s a quick summary of the solar yachts’ advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of solar boats ✅Disadvantages of solar boats ❌
Eco-friendly: solar power is clean and renewableMore expensive than standard boats
They (mostly) don’t require fuelSolar panels work well only during sunny days
ReliableYou will still need a (diesel) generator onboard: for both safety and continuity of power
Reduced maintenance costsReduced stability while cruising (If without sails)
Cost-effective in the long runThe smaller versions of solar yachts will have quite limited cruising speed when using only the power from solar
Potentially unlimited range, especially for the larger solar catamarans
Possibility to sell back the excess power to shore (when connected)
No restrictions on electrical use

One of the main benefits of solar power is that it is renewable and environmentally friendly. Solar panels have no emissions and do not produce pollution. In principle, they also do not require fuel, making them very cost-effective in the long run. Solar power is also very reliable, as the sun is a constant source of energy.

There are a few disadvantages to solar power. Solar panels can be expensive to install, and while they require less maintenance, this can be quite costly, especially when it will come time to replace the batteries. Solar panels also need to be pointing directly at the sun to be effective, so they may not generate power on cloudy days or at night.

But there’s more, let’s see what some sailing experts are thinking about solar catamarans!

Sailing expert’s solar Boat review

Recently, one of the most popular sailing YouTube channels, Saliling La Vagabonde , published a very honest and interesting review of the solar powered yacht Silent 55. Here’s a summary of their experience:

  • 7 Days onboard (6 nights)
  • Travelled 145nm with an average speed of 7 knots
  • Generator used for about 12h (in total)
  • Fuel consumed: 208 liters

Here are some interesting observations they made:

  • While cruising it may feel less stable than a standard sailing boat because it doesn’t have a sail to stabilize it when hitting the waves.
  • For the Silent 55 it was possible to move at about 3 knots by using only the power generated by the solar panels (without using the batteries) on a sunny day. This means that if you are moving the solar yacht around quite frequently, you will end up using the generator quite a lot to produce the necessary power.
  • When the batteries are out of power, the Silent yacht is using a (diesel) generator to supply the necessary power to keep the boat moving and to power the appliances.
  • A great luxury yacht with all the comforts and going in the right direction for the future of the sector.
  • Overall, the Silent Yacht is a great eco-friendly alternative to a power boat , while if you are thinking about cruising around the world, you would be probably better off going for a standard sailboat (or for some of the hybrid alternatives mentioned in this article, like the HH44).

Why are solar yachts all catamarans?

Solar yachts are all catamarans for 2 main reasons:

  • Catamarans have a larger surface, which allows for placing more solar panels and also offers more room for the batteries onboard.
  • Catamarans have efficient hulls for their size. This reduces their power consumption while moving.

This makes catamarans the ideal platform to build a solar-powered boat.

Modern solar electric boats are undoubtedly an eco-friendly choice in sea travel and a form of green tourism . Not only do these electric boats provide a smooth sailing experience, but they also reduce the release of emissions into the atmosphere, reducing the environmental impact and enhancing sustainability .

Luckily, given their size, solar catamarans can charge themselves (unlike electric cars ), so they can sail indefinitely without the need to stop for refueling.

If you are environmentally conscious and looking to get a boat that is more viable, desirable, and eco-friendly, you may consider investing in one of the solar yachts discussed in this article!

Yachting Monthly

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Everything you need to know about yacht solar power

Dennis O'Neill

  • Dennis O'Neill
  • May 23, 2024

Marine solar panels are becoming more efficient and eco-friendly. Dennis O’Neill reports on the latest design advances

solar yacht

Keeping your batteries topped up without having to run the engine is a continuous challenge for cruising sailors, especially those who are highly conscious of their carbon footprint or just wanting to cruise ‘off grid’.

Solar panels have been a good option for sustainable sailing in sunny conditions for some time, being almost maintenance-free and, unlike wind generators, silent. However, maritime conditions are a harsh test for even the best of them due to the incessant exposure they face from saltwater spray and, ironically, ultraviolet (UV) energy.

Now, though, new solar panel technology coming over the horizon promises further improvements in both their efficiency and ease of use.

Silicon cells

Most solar panels use silicon-based photovoltaic cells, with the most efficient type within this class being monocrystalline cells, made from a single pure ingot of silicon. Polycrystalline silicon cells, made from multiple silicon crystals bonded together, perform almost as efficiently as monocrystalline cells but are less expensive to produce.

Ordinary photovoltaic cells, meanwhile, which are the most commonly used, are much cheaper, lighter, and easier to mount where structural flexibility is needed.

The downside, though, is that their intrinsic chemical materials tend to be more environmentally hazardous and difficult to recycle at their end-of-life.

solar yacht

The latest solar panels can even be installed on a fabric canopy. Photo: Tor Jonhson

Perovskite revolution

The new buzz of excitement in the solar panel sector is coming from the development of perovskite solar cells, which promise 50% more efficiency than conventional photovoltaic solar cells in converting sunlight into electricity. They also have the extraordinary potential of being used in a liquid form, such as paint, and even being printed onto compatible surfaces.

Researchers are now reported to be trialling spray-on perovskite solar cells that could be applied as a tint for windows. The production of perovskite solar cells is also less energy-intensive than conventional solar cells and can be achieved at room temperature using relatively abundant and cost-effective base materials.

Article continues below…

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How to convert a yacht to electric propulsion

There are hundreds, if not thousands of yachts still sailing with 40-year-old diesel engines emitting smoke and pollutants, so is…

solar yacht

Best marine batteries: 6 12V leisure batteries

Good quality, deep-cycle house batteries are not only a sound investment, but also an important safety factor when cruising. There’s…

Rigid Solar panels

Rigid solar panels currently on the market remain the most efficient and well-suited for mounting on larger boats with flatter surfaces. However, they are heavier, more awkward to mount, and can’t be walked on, so unless you have a hard top or dedicated gantry aft, you’re better off choosing a more resilient semi-flexible option.

Rigid solar panels are covered with impact-resistant glass in a metal frame, and often require hardware to install. Over time, the hardware and frame can corrode in unforgiving marine conditions, so it’s important to choose one with added weather protection.

solar yacht

Solar is well suited to use in yachts. Photo: Catchlight Visual Services / Alamy Stock Photo

Flexible Solar panels

Flexible solar panels, meanwhile, have become increasingly popular with yacht owners due to their versatility and adaptability. While not yet as efficient as rigid panels, they do offer a more eco-friendly and cost-effective option as well as being thin, light, bendable, and easy to install or mounted on almost any surface. You can, for instance, attach flexible solar panels easily to soft biminis and even sails.

However, attaching them to flexing surfaces may cause physical strain on the internal cells, causing damage in the long run. They also tend to have efficiency levels below 20% (compared to just above 20% for rigid solar panels), so they require more physical space to produce similar amounts of output.

They are usually encased in plastic coverings to make them more impact-resistant, but the plastic can degrade due to salt and UV.

solar yacht

Thin solar cells installed on a teak deck. Photo: Graham Snook / Yachting Monthly

Semi-flexible Solar panels

These are ideal for curved boat surfaces. The plastic covering on semi-flexible panels makes them highly resistant to impact and weight, in case you accidentally step on them while moving around a swaying boat.

Kite concept

Sailing enthusiasts working at the German engineering firm FLIN, based in Kiel, have developed a new broad range of versatile marine solar panel systems.

Products within the range include: the FLINrail, a rigid solar panel that can be used while sailing by being hooked onto a boat’s guardrails; the FLINstripe, designed to be mounted along a boom’s lazy bag using Velcro strips; and the FLINkite, a thin lightweight design comprised of up to six square panels that can be hoisted on a halyard and then tilted towards the sun using simple guide lines.

solar yacht

FLINkite can be hoisted vertically on a halyard and tilted towards the sun using simple guide lines

One owner who cruises a 40ft Fountaine Pajot Lavezzi catamaran in European waters has found that his FLIN installations have benefitted his cruising enormously.

‘We have four FLINflex panels mounted permanently on our built-in bimini, which produces around 450 watts while we’re sailing,’ he explains. ‘Then, when we’re at anchor or in port we can also set our FLINkite, which has six panels, each of which can produce up to around 50 watts.

We have a solar controller for each of the two systems and I’m able to monitor how well the systems are generating power using an app on my smartphone. Overall, the FLIN panels cover all of our electricity requirements, including our fridge and electric windlass. We’ve even now treated ourselves to an electric kettle!’

solar yacht

Foldable solar panels inspired by satellites

Origami Inspiration

Another exciting and innovative concept comes from two highly experienced sailors, Kim-Joar Myklebust and Sara Plaga, based in Milan, Italy. Together, they have designed and begun producing an origami-style marine solar panel made of recycled carbon fibre.

‘The idea came out of frustration,’ explains Kim-Joar. ‘We had regular power shortages on our sailing trips, even after we’d installed a large and bulky solar system which couldn’t keep our boat’s batteries charged.

‘As a motorsport design engineer I saw how space satellites used large solar panels that folded outwards to increase the area exposed to the sun, so I started cutting and folding a piece of paper until I found a shape I felt could work as a compact, fold-out solar panel on a boat.’

The couple’s firm, Levante, tested the effectiveness of their origami panels extensively aboard a 36ft cruising yacht, finding that their new product was 20% lighter than other foldable solar panels and 40% more compact, whilst producing only half of the CO2 footprint.

‘We’re determined to revolutionise the entire concept of marine solar panels,’ adds Sara. ‘You can use our origami solar panels in many different ways – just fold them up and use them on your boat, or at home, or anywhere you like.’

solar yacht

It’s vital you connect your solar panel to your battery via an electronic charge controller to prevent the battery overcharging

Solar panel maintenance

Solar panel efficiency is compromised by both salt water and long-term exposure to UV and high temperatures. Industry experts advise that good regular maintenance will improve a solar panel’s performance by around 15%.

You should clean solar panels early in the morning, while they are at their coolest, as cleaning them when they are warm or exposed to direct sunlight can cause internal thermal stresses. Always use distilled or de-ionized water to avoid the formation of mineral stains or deposits on the surface of the panels, and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive solvents that could scratch the photovoltaic cells.

Let the panels air dry or use soft cloths, and make sure no water residue is left. You should also check regularly for cracks, breaks or loose connections.

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SILENT Yachts

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The Iconic Original – Reinvented

The SILENT 60 embodies the next generation of the legendary SILENT 64, the first and only solar powered yacht to cross the Atlantic.

It can easily be driven by two people and offers enough space for families and crew members.

The possibility of storing a 4 m tender, two jet skis, several bicycles and a motorcycle makes it the adventurer of the SILENT family. Ideal to discover the world.

In November of 2021, the SILENT 60 won the “Best of Boats Award” in the category “Best for Travel”. This specific category is defined as “suitable for long distance travels with all amenities to live on board permanently, adapted for both inland waters and the tough conditions at sea”. Generally, she can easily be handled by two people, making the SILENT 60 ideal for families cruising with or without additional crew.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Solar power generation, light displacement.

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SUNPOWER VIP 44

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The Sunpower 44 VIP Solar-Powered Catamaran features two 30kW high-efficiency motors that provide sustainable, comfortable cruising. Owners can expect a 6-7 knot cruising speed with top end speeds between 11 and 15 knots.

The Sunpower 44 VIP version features a master stateroom in the front starboard area with a full-length ensuite bathroom and an office. Portside, there are two guest cabins including one with two single bunks and one with a double berth. Both guest cabins share a bathroom. Customized versions of the Sunpower 44 can be created upon request. 

Special Features :

o Length overall: 13,40 m (44.0‘) o Beam overall: 7,20 (23.6‘) o Draft: .750 m (2.5‘) o Light displ. (EC): 22,000 Lbs. o Water: 250L – 1 Tank. o Waste-Water: 1 Tank x 250L o Fuel: 250L – 500L o Solar Generator: 9,000 Wp o E-Motors: 2 X 30KW / 2 x 80kW / 2 x 135kW o Generator: 22 kW / 100 kW o Cruising Speed: 6 – 8 kt / 6 – 10 kt o Top Speed: approx. 12 kt / 15 kt o CE Certification: A

For more information on Sunpower Yachts, please contact Wille McCormick at 561-301-8126 or at [email protected]

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Make Sunpower Yachts
  • Length Overall 44'
  • Max Draft 2' 5
  • Displacement 24,250 lbs. (Light)
  • Water Capacity 2 x 54.9 Gallon Tanks

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Sun Powered Yachts, marine solar panels

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Let us help you go solar aboard, start enjoying c lean, quiet & renewable po wer.

At Sun Powered Yachts we hope to inspire and inform yacht owners on the benefits of going solar with SunPower & Maxeon. We're here to answer any questions you may have. 

With a background in sailing & solar, and also from living off-grid for 11 years in Hawaii, we have the knowledge to help you with your solar install.  Find out more about us  

In 2021-2022 we spent 15 months as a family living aboard our sailboat, a Dufour 382 sailing from Corsica to Cancun and more recently to Florida & Bahamas .   An intrepid adventure of over 7,000NM visiting 12 countries along the way.  We're available for solar consultations with SunPower & Maxeon panels in stock in the USA ready to fulfill orders. 

Aloha, Katie & Lyall

+1 808 825 2670

info@sunpower edyachts.com

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Maxeon® Air 330W

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Choose your sunpowe r ® e-flex solar panel bundle, flexible panel bundles.

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2x 100 Watt bundle

Free shipping in usa*, *at sun powered yachts we only sell premium cosmetic quality sunpower® e-flex panels.  our inventory is warehoused in arizona, please visit our shipping policy  for full details  , 1% for the ocean, we are committed that 1% of your order with us goes directly to support the papahānaumokuākea marine debris proj ect ( pmdp ) in hawaii.  the 2024 clean up season began in april with a 19-day mission to midway atoll removin g  an incredible 70,080 lbs of marin e debris  .

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Federal Tax Credits

Federal Tax Credits

Have you heard about the Federal Tax Credits that you could take advantage of for going solar on your boat?  Yes, your boat! 

Do you have a head, galley & bunk aboard? Then you may qualify and t he Federal Tax Credit has now gone back up to 30% of the total cost to put your solar system in place.

This can include solar panels, controllers, wiring, labor etc. and can now more easily include batteries - maybe time for that lithium upgrade to Battle Born

SunPower Advantage s

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Silent power

Solar panel systems burn zero fuel and have no moving parts. They are clean and silent, producing no atmospheric emissions or greenhouse gases that are harmful to the earth.  Enjoy those quiet anchorages with no more noisy engine/generator running just to charge your batteries.

Sun Powered Yachts

Easy install

The simple and easy installation of SunPower® E-Flex panels on your bimini, dodger, or deck, will reduce costs of adding an expensive davit or custom racking and mounting solution for traditional large & heavy fixed  frame solar panels.

SunPower flexible solar panels

Highest quality

Incredibly reliable and easy to maintain. With no moving parts, visual checks and servicing easily keep systems operating. Solar panels are robust & durable with a junction box designed with a high level of protection from dust & water ingress.

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Maxeon to open new factory in USA

Great news! Maxeon recently announced (Aug 10th) that they will be opening a 3 Gigawatt factory in New Mexico. Construction will begin Spring 2024 and so by 2025 that's high efficiency Maxeon solar panels being made right here in the USA! 

Read our news post for full details.

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For sale - 'Blake' our Dufour 382

Are you looking for a boat already set up to go cruising?  We have our 2016 Dufour 382 GL 'Blake' listed for sale on Yacht World .  She is the adventure version with taller mast/deeper keel, 950W of SunPower flexible solar panels, a DC watermaker, new dinghy and plenty of safety gear.  Currently in Freeport, Bahamas.  For more details contact us directly

T: 808 825 2670

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Check out our Install List  

We have added an Install List page to our website which currently has over 130 installs from our customers.  Get inspired by what other boat owners have added for SunPower & Maxeon solar panels. 

Maybe you own a Lagoon 400 or a Morgan 41 and wonder what panels might fit aboard, check out the list to see how other owners have gone solar aboard.

  

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Calico Skies 3x 410W

Bill & Grace sail Calico Skies , a Sabre 36, and whilst in Mexico they installed 3x410W SunPower fixed frame solar panels as part of a major upgrade to their arch/davit system.  

Check out their YouTube episodes including  #177 to see how they get on adding 1,230W (or 1.23kW) of SunPower solar panels.

Calico skies install details

"We made 7.2kWh yesterday out of our panels, what an upgrade!" 

Bill & Grace

SV Delos

SV Delos 3x 410W + flex

Brian & Karin of SV Delos   installed 3x410W SunPower fixed frame panels when on the hard in Mexico ( YouTube Ep.407 ) 

Combined with their SunPower E-flex panels, which have been aboard for ~3 years ( YouTube Ep.262 ) they now have just under 2,00W of solar keeping them powered up in the Pacific - awesome! 

SV Delos install details

"Love our new 410W panels and they're the same size as the old 300W ones - woohoo!"

Brian & Karin

Sailing La Vagabonde

Sailing La Vagabonde 2x 470W + flex

Riley & Elayna of Sailing La Vagabonde have been working on their new Rapido 60' trimaran and added 2x470W Maxeon fixed frame panels. 

They also have 6x170W SunPower flex panels they can deploy when needed.  With a 48V battery bank these panels are wired in series  YouTube episode

SLV install details

"Thank you, the solar panels have been absolutely incredible."  

Riley & Elayna

Testimonials

SunPower marine solar panels

"So now I generally

Don't bother hooking, up to shore power".

     Thanks for all the help in planning my solar project for my boat. The two 170W flexible panels fit well on my Bimini and now I generally don't bother hooking up to shore power.  Although I haven’t had any long trips since my installation I have done a few day trips. And even with fridge, radio, plotters, autopilot and occasional radar it seems that these panels are keeping up with my usage. The advice and service has been great.   Thanks again.

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 469

Maxeon solar panels

"It is by far the best decision I made "

         I bought a solar system from Sun Powered Yachts in 2020. It is by far the best decision I have made for the electrical system on my boat. I would (and do) recommend Sun Powered Yachts to anyone looking to add solar to their boat.

Endeavour 33

marine solar panels

"Terrific customer service, always responsive"

         The process of researching a solar solution for my Beneteau 41 was simplified & clearly understood once I discovered Sun Powered Yachts.  Terrific customer service, patient, always responsive with guidance and products that just work. Being a novice at setting up a solar system, I had many questions along the way, and the team at Sun Powered Yachts were always there to answers my questions and provide support.

Beneteau 41

Become a more sustainable sailor with SunPower® &  Maxeon® solar panels

Sunpower® solar videos, our beautiful boat home (full boat tour).

Our Beautiful Boat Home (FULL BOAT TOUR)

Mastering OFF-GRID Living: 4 Key Things Every Sailor Should Know ⛵️ Sailing Vessel Delos Ep. 441

New Feature: Prioritising solar or wind when on shore power Victron Energy

New Feature: Prioritising solar or wind when on shore power Victron Energy

GOING SOLAR - Video by Profiles in Dust (2023)

GOING SOLAR - Video by Profiles in Dust (2023)

Custom Double Flexible Solar Panel Mounting System (No Drilling, Welding, or Permanent Adhesive)

Custom Double Flexible Solar Panel Mounting System (No Drilling, Welding, or Permanent Adhesive)

Fundamentally different solar cells, chosen by champions

Fundamentally different solar cells, chosen by champions

Solar power

Electric boats.

  • electric boat

I drove a rare solar-electric yacht to test clean-sea propulsion, here’s how it went

Avatar for Scooter Doll

While we at Electrek often tend to focus on electric vehicles taking over roads, it’s important to remember that our inevitable abandonment of fossil fuels stems to all modes of transportation, whether it’s by land, air, or even the sea . I recently had the opportunity to set sail on Sunwater Marine’s Ramblin’ Rose , a 40-foot sailing yacht powered by solar panels and electric propulsion. It’s one of the only vessels of its kind on the West Coast.

Sunwater Marine is a San Diego-based nautical transportation company with a keen focus on spreading the benefits of renewable energy and electric propulsion to sea dwellers.

It was founded by president James Richmond in 2020, amid the global pandemic. Richmond had a little more free time to search for a boat for blue water cruising to which he could add solar.

James has been sailing for over 50 years, and has nearly 40 years of experience in the renewable and energy-efficiency industry.

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He soon found a 2015 Leopard 40 Catamaran and initially planned to simply add solar panels for an electric range and an energy-efficient water maker.

However, James soon discovered viable options for electric propulsion, and began researching the possibility of converting his new yacht to be be solar-electric.

The result is the Ramblin’ Rose , a catamaran that can haul 12 passengers and sleep up to nine. It also happens to be one of the only solar-electric yachts in the West Coast.

I got the chance to take the solar-electric yacht out of beautiful Coronado and test the technology out myself.

solar yacht

The Ramblin’ Rose solar-electric yacht

As previously mentioned, Sunwater Marine’s Ramblin’ Rose is centered around a Leopard 40 catamaran, built by Robertson & Caine in South Africa. Richmond then put an additional $100k into a renewable energy conversion, equipping the yacht with solar panels, and electric motors.

While the original catamaran came with some traditional solar panels, Richmond’s experience in renewable energy told him that would not suffice for his solar-electric yacht.

He added lighter and more flexible solar technology from Sunflare , the first company to successfully mass-produce thin, durable CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) solar panels.

The Sunflare panels on the Ramblin’ Rose operate individually with their own bypass diode, so if one is shaded (by the sail for example), the rest still work.

Richmond also separated the solar panels into three separate zones, so if one side of the boat is shaded, the other two are still harnessing the sun’s power back into the boat’s batteries.

He also showed me how durable these advanced solar panels were, as I was able to walk around on top of them without worrying about breaking any glass or ruining them.

The panels help charge the electric yacht’s battery packs while out sailing and indicate to the captain when they are doing so.

solar electric yacht

Electric propulsion and battery packs

To help power this vessel in and out of the marina and on the sea, Sunwater Marine’s president researched electric propulsion systems around the world, and decided that OCEANVOLT was the best option.

The solar-electric yacht now features two OCEANVOLT 15 kW ServoProp sail drives , utilizing unique propeller blades that can change pitch to optimize efficiency and even regenerate power.

The software controlled variable system adjusts the pitch of each of the propeller blades automatically, so that the power generation and output are always optimal. This is much more efficient than traditional fixed propellers.

solar yacht

The electric propulsion is powered by a 48 volt system, meaning it’s safe to touch without electrical shock (an ideal situation for maritime fun).

Each electric motor on the yacht is powered by a bank of 12 Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries on each side, 24 total. The batteries provide 21 kWh of power on each side of the vessel, 42 kWh in total.

Richmond explained that he positioned each battery pack eight inches off the bottom of the boat, too, so if any water were to come in, the batteries would still be OK. Furthermore, the captain showed me backup storage of eight additional batteries should anything go awry at sea.

The status of each and every battery is monitored 24/7 by a supervisory battery management system (BMS) that will shut the battery bank down, should any individual battery begin to malfunction. Fire is not something you want on a boat, despite being surrounded by water.

Additionally, the system was implemented to safely operate minimal electric functions under any conditions, so if the electric yacht were to tip over, there would still be power to send a distress signal.

solar yacht

Thoughts on the future of electric propulsion

After manning the helm of the the Ramblin’ Rose , there is a lot to be excited about for the future of electric propulsion at sea , especially on a gorgeous yacht.

The ride itself was eerily smooth and quiet compared to diesel motors, with zero vibration throughout the boat. If you didn’t look back and see the wake of the electric motors, you might not even notice the yacht was being propelled.

There is a lot of potential in electric propulsion, especially as it pertains to propellers than can remotely change their angle like the OCEANVOLT ServoProps. This makes reversing the electric yacht in particular, much easier for captains compared to fixed props built to push forward.

The ability to set sail and regenerate power from the propellers is also a huge perk and pairs nicely with the advanced solar panels. Plus, you always have shore power as a backup when you’re in a pinch.

From what I’ve seen, the biggest hurdle looking ahead will be battery capacity, and providing enough stored energy to power the electric propulsion systems on the yacht.

The solar panels do help a lot, but it’s a relatively slow process. Smaller, lighter battery options will be crucial for longer distances at higher speeds at sea someday. In the meantime however, we still have sun and wind to pick up the slack.

Currently, the range and top speed are still limited by this lack of surplus energy below deck. We didn’t take the Ramblin’ Rose above 7.5 knots (~8.6 mph) because we didn’t want to burn through all our battery life (that was also in respect to the charter setting sail after us that day).

The solar-electric yacht still has diesel motors onboard for emergencies, but Sunwater Marine’s founder agreed with me that we’d like to see a day when those motors are not needed at all. Unfortunately, the technology is not quite there yet.

Luckily, people like Richmond and Sunwater Marine are using their knowledge and resources (and personal funds) to figure this stuff out for the masses, while spreading the word about electric propulsion. It has become a genuinely viable option at sea, even if it is only in support of other forms of propulsion like sailing for now.

If you’re ever visiting the San Diego area, I highly recommend reaching out to Sunwater Marine and chartering the Ramblin’ Rose , or one of the other solar-electric yachts Captain Richmond is working on.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports. Please send any tips or suggestions, or dog photos to him at [email protected]

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Sunreef 35M Eco

Sunreef ’s lineup just got even bigger and greener.

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Sunreef 35M Eco

Spanning 115 feet, the newest composite multihull is fitted with Sunreef’s custom-engineered batteries and state-of-the-art electric engines. Solar panels will also be embedded into the hull sides, superstructure, and bimini, allowing the cat to generate power from the sun. The yard has previously added this patented “ solar skin ” to several models, such as the newly unveiled Explorer Eco 40 , the Eco 100 , the Zero Cat , and the 80 Power Eco .

Sunreef didn’t share any details regarding speed or range for the new 35M Eco, but the aforementioned 80-foot cat is powered by 360 kW electric motors that can push it to 10 knots. The newcomer theoretically has an “infinite range,” given it can continuously get power from the sun so long as it’s shining. The clean, emissions-free energy would also power the hotel load at anchor.

Sunreef 35M Eco

The 35M Eco is not only sustainable but also spacious and stylish. With a beam of 48 feet, the yacht offers expansive living areas onboard. Positioned in the bow of the main deck, the owner’s stateroom provides stunning panoramic views and private access to an outdoor terrace. The luxurious guest accommodation, meanwhile, is located in the hulls and is fully customizable.

The 35M Eco offers an abundance of alfresco lounging areas, too. The vast walkaround aft deck, which Sunreef calls the “ocean lounge,” gives seafarers easy access to the sea and a hidden garage stocked with water toys. In addition, the sprawling flybridge features a plunge pool and bar.

Rachel Cormack is a digital editor at Robb Report. She cut her teeth writing for HuffPost, Concrete Playground, and several other online publications in Australia, before moving to New York at the…

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Solar Learning Center > Solar Panels for Home > Solar Panel Installation Process > Solar Panels For Boats and Yachts Solar Learning Center > Solar Panels for Home > Solar Panel Installation Process > Solar Panels For Boats and Yachts -->

Solar Panels For Boats and Yachts

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By Michael Olenick | Jul 26, 2022

The purchase of a boat or a yacht is a coveted purchase for many people. While it certainly adds a new dynamic to one’s life, it’s not the most straightforward investment since maintenance is a huge component of owning a sea vessel. Other than the physical maintenance of your boat, fuel management and maintenance is often a logistical nightmare for many boat owners. Some of these problems include keeping batteries topped off; doing it quietly, as not to bother the surrounding communities; and refueling costs. An easy solution to these problems: solar panels.

Sizing a Solar System for Your Boat or Yacht

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  • Refrigerator(s)
  • Radar & sonar units

When adding up your energy consumption, always round up and add about 10-15% extra Watt-hours to your total, as certain appliances tend to use up more energy during spring and summer months. Once you reach the conclusion that you are ready for a further discussion, you can always reach out to a solar panel expert to get solar quotes, help with your energy calculations, and aid in determining the right number of panels you would need to offset your yacht or boat’s energy usage. Obviously, the number of panels you would need depends on energy usage and vessel size, but solar is a much better option than common fossil fuels when powering your boat.

The Benefits of Adding Solar Panels To a Boat or Yacht

When it comes to adding solar panels to your boat, the benefits are endless. Here are just a few for you to consider:

  • Silence: Noisy refueling at docks and extremely loud on-board generators are a thing of the past. Cruise the seas in with zero mechanical noises, and enjoy the natural ocean sounds.
  • Minimal Maintenance: The only maintenance solar panels require is a simple rinse off every couple of months, as salt can build up when the seawater evaporates.

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  • Travel Lightly: With your new panels, you won’t have to lug heavy containers of fuel with you on your trips. More room for wine or martini mix.
  • Unlimited Energy: Aside from the occasional cloud in the sky, you will have full access to the sun on the open seas.

Besides the affordability and convenience, solar panels could inevitably save your life. You will never have to worry about running out of fuel when you are out on the water. This will help you avoid any potential emergencies or disasters.

Solar Panel Placement

This is where most caution needs to be taken. When choosing where you are going to place your solar panels on your yacht or boat, you need to take two big things into consideration: shading and security.

When it comes to shading, you want to make sure you place your panels in an area that receives the most sunlight. Having your boom shade some of the panels, or any lines can reduce your energy production. The wiring of solar panels can also be delicate. That is why you need to place your solar system in the most secure spot possible – rough seas or choppy waters could lead to a wire shaking loose.

If you’re longing to make a maintenance upgrade to your nautical vessel, a solar system should be seriously considered. Not only will it reduce noise, weight, and fueling costs, but it will differentiate your boat from all the other vessels at your next port.

Whether you have questions about panel placement, efficiency, or just if your boat is right for solar, please click here to speak to an expert!

Solar Panel Installation Process

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    Here are a few pictures of the Aquanima 40 series solar yacht: Azura Marine claims that the vessel can continuously cruise thanks to its large 10 kW solar power system and 60 kWh battery pack.

  18. Sunpower 44 VIP

    SPECIFICATIONS. Make Sunpower Yachts. Length 44'. Length Overall 44'. Beam 23' 6. Max Draft 2' 5. Displacement 24,250 lbs. (Light) Water Capacity 2 x 54.9 Gallon Tanks. The Sunpower 44 VIP features the very best in solar-electric cruising capabilities with comfortable accommodations below deck and massive space for outdoor enjoyment.

  19. Electric Solar Powered Yacht And Catamarans

    100 % ELECTRIC CATAMARANS. GILLES REIGNER YACHTS. We produce 100% electric yachts using the most natural sources of energy: the sun and the wind. Powered by solar panels & wind turbines, our yachts give a complete autonomous range, a robust build, and an array of innovations for an optimum yachting experience.. Gilles Reigner Yachts, a pioneering force in maritime excellence, defines the ...

  20. Solarimpact Yacht

    solarimpact e-swath yacht | solar catamaran | solaryacht | solar electric | solaryacht | e-mobility | solar | e- catamaran

  21. SunPower Marine Flexible Solar Panels

    Look for the SunPower logo. Sun Powered Yachts is an authorized dealer of SunPower flexible solar panels 50W, 110W & 170W. High efficiency, marine flexible solar panels for your boat or yacht. Best warranty, highest rated & most durable. Disconnect from the dock and start sailing with the sun.

  22. I drove a rare solar-electric yacht to test clean-sea propulsion, here

    The solar-electric yacht now features two OCEANVOLT 15 kW ServoProp sail drives, utilizing unique propeller blades that can change pitch to optimize efficiency and even regenerate power.

  23. Sunreef's New 115-Foot Sailing Catamaran Can Cruise Sans Emissions

    The new Sunreef 35M Eco is outfitted with custom batteries, electric engines, and solar panels, enabling a silent, emissions-free cruising experience. Sunreef's New 115-Foot Sailing Catamaran Can ...

  24. Solar Panels For Boats and Yachts

    Sizing a Solar System for Your Boat or Yacht. First, you need to determine how much power your boat is currently consuming. The most effective way to do this is to add up all the energy you are using in Watt-hours. This includes. Refrigerator (s) Freezer (s) Lights. Radar & sonar units.

  25. California drives US battery storage growth in power systems

    As CAISO's solar capacity has outpaced the growth in battery capacity, CAISO power prices still undergo regular periods of weakness during sunny periods. ... World category Yacht crew expected to ...