Solar-Powered Yacht? Solar-Powered Yacht.

Sep 17, 2019 07:23 PM ET
Solar-Powered Yacht? Solar-Powered Yacht.
Solar power is already taking over the land, so naturally, now it's coming for the sea. The big ol' boat in the photo above is the Silent 55 ship from Silent Yachts, a luxury solar panel boat company based in Austria. It uses silent electric propulsion to achieve unlimited range without noise, fumes, or any maintenance at all.
It's 54 feet and 10 inches long and can reach a top speed of 20 knots (23 miles per hour), according to Silent Yachts. The catch, of course: It starts at $1,550,000.
Silent Yachts says this ship is an improvement on its last model, released in 2018. The new yacht has a revised drive-train with more battery power, two times more powerful motors, and improved noise reduction.
It contains 30 highly efficient solar panels that reach 10 kilowatts each. The solar energy is thanks to the panels' solar charge regulators, which help to extract the maximum amount of power by operating at an efficient voltage. And because of the lack of maintenance and fumes, the operational costs of the vessel are essentially cut compared to the power yachts that use traditional propulsion systems, the company says.
“What this represents to the yachtsman, among other features, is the ability to cruise for many hours at normal speed and throughout the entire day and evening at reduced speed," Michael Köhler, founder and CEO of Silent Yachts, says in a statement.
Gasoline-free boats are mostly used for recreation, though they could also be used by the military, for tourism boating, or for undersea research.
Eco Marine Power (EMP), a Japanese renewable energy systems company, created a new technology called EnergySails, which use both light and wind to power the long ship. The sails are made of carbon fiber or steel. In theory, these can be added onto any ship ... which is considerably cheaper than buying a silent yacht for $1.5 million.

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