Solar Power

Solar Powered Yachts

Philippe Guénat, the founder and owner of PMG Shipyard, started considering solar power for yachts in 2008. At that time, the concept was still relatively unknown, but there were obvious advantages to be obtained, such as less fuel consumption, less noise, less pollution, less dependence on marinas etc. The solar powered yachts built by PMG Shipyard can be divided into two main categories: Solar assisted yachts that use diesel engines or sail for propulsion and solar panels for domestic consumption, like refrigerators, lighting, dishwasher, washing machine etc., and fully solar powered yachts that us solar power both for propulsion and domestic appliances.

Solar assisted yachts typically have 2-8 solar panels charging a moderately sized battery bank, large enough for overnight consumption of electricity, normally making the use of the Diesel generator unnecessary while at anchor. The first solar assisted yacht from PMG Shipyard, the Heliotrope 65, was launched in 2012, and was used extensively for cruising around Southeast Asia. Although the yacht was a first, the concept proved to work well, and made a solid foundation for further solar assisted and solar powered yachts from PMG. 

A few years later, PMG Shipyard built a series of 5 fully solar powered yachts in cooperation with Silent Yachts, a European company. Those yachts are all fully solar powered, including electric propulsion. With the roof structures fully covered with solar panels and a large battery bank, these yachts are designed to be fully independent of fossil fuels, and although they do have a diesel generator for backup, they can cruise using solar power alone for an extended period of time.

An important side to the development of solar powered yachts is the scientific progress in this area. Since the development of the Heliotrope 65 was started in 2008, the efficiency of solar panels has increased by an order of magnitude, and energy density of batteries has likewise improved a lot. This means that it’s possible to design yachts that either need fewer solar panels, or maximise the panels to utilise the generated electricity for more purposes than what was previously possible.

Through a large network of researchers and manufacturers around the globe, PMG Shipyard has access to the latest, best and most efficient solar energy components, so that we can offers powerful, long lasting solutions that will serve owners of yachts built at PMG Shipyard for many years, like with the Cora 48, a 48 foot solar assisted power catamaran available in family and charter configurations.