The world’s largest solar-powered ship has been out of commission for a while, but she’s back in business for her first 2013 Port of Call in Morocco. After leaving La Ciotat in France on 8 April, 2013, Planet Solar bobbed on the high seas for nine days.
It was a challenging trip, according to Captain Gérard d’Aboville, who is among the crew that helped the ship complete the world’s first solar powered circumnavigation of the globe last year. Built by Knierim Yachtbau in Kiel, Germany, the LOMOcean Design vessel features 516 square meters of solar panels that generate 100 percent of the boat’s energy.
The solar-powered boat crossed the Mediterranean and the Strait of Gibraltar to reach Morocco on April 16, 2013, where it will remain for a fast four days. Scores of locals waiting at the Bouregreg Marina for the giant boat, which is 31 meters long and 15 meters wide.
“We faced many challenges during this stage, as it’s the first time since its maintenance service that the boat was able to sail the high seas longer than 24 hours, under difficult conditions at times,” Captian d’Aboville said in a recent statement.
“This is what particularly led us to realise how well the boat handled! Reaching this stage and arriving at Rabat is the first success for the 2013 campaign.”
A €15 million experiment designed to showcase the possibilities of solar energy, Planet Solar has the potential to generate 93.5 kilowatts of energy. It weighs 89 tons and boasts solar cell efficiency rates of 18.8 percent.
No dingy, this remarkable catamaran can hold as many as 60 passengers at one time.
“The arrival of PlanetSolar in Rabat was awaited with much interest and excitement,” noted Swiss Ambassador to Morocco, Bertrand Louis. He continued:
Thanks to these “adventurers,” Switzerland can stand shoulder to shoulder with its partners in the international scientific community. So, its scientific diplomacy is an integral part of its foreign policy, an instrument of dialogue on global challenges such as water, climate change or energy. With Morocco and its extraordinarily visionary solar plan, this is about drawing together the capacity to meet the immense challenge of producing renewable energy.
As part of its overall goal to spread awareness of solar energy and the wide-ranging consequences of climate change, Planet Solar will act as a classroom for students while anchored in Rabat.
It leaves for Las Palmas today, April 20th, and on April 25th it will embark on an attempt to break its own Guinness World Record with a 26 day, solar-powered transatlantic journey. You can keep track of that journey over on PlanetSolar, if you like.