SunPower Cells to Power Round-the-World Solar Boat

PlanetSolar, a Switzerland-based company building the world’s largest solar-powered boat, has chosen to use photovoltaic cells made by SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWRA, SPWRB).

The solar catamaran is currently being designed and built by a team of international engineers. It is expected to be completed in February 2010 and will be the first solar boat to embark on a round-the-world tour.

Approximately 38,000 of SunPower’s PV cells will be incorporated into the skin of the catamaran and each cell offers a minimum efficiency of approximately 22%.

It is expected to be the fastest solar boat to cross the Atlantic Ocean and the first to cross both the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Stopovers include Hamburg, London and Paris in Europe, New York and San Francisco in the U.S., and Singapore and Abu Dhabi, to name a few. The solar boat will be available for public display during each of its stops, offering an educational opportunity to all visitors.

"We are excited to partner with SunPower, as we build the world’s largest solar boat," said Raphael Domjan, CEO of PlanetSolar SA. "We chose SunPower’s solar cell technology because of its high-efficiency and proven results."

The 30-meter long catamaran will be covered with 470 square meters of photovoltaic solar panels. The first solar-powered round-the-world voyage–scheduled for April 2011–will run from East to West, along an equatorial route.

Visit the website below to see conceptual drawings and construction photographs.

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