Many yachts boast eco chops because they have a handful of solar panels that power the microwave or navigation lights. The Solarwave 64, launched last summer, has the potential to run on sunshine alone. The vessel’s 42 solar panels generate 15 kW that are stored in batteries weighing about 1,300 pounds. They connect to electric motors.
“In October, we cruised 60 miles at 6 knots on just solar,” says Stefan Merker, co-founder of the Zurich-based company. “At the same time, we charged the dinghy’s electric outboard, produced hundreds of liters of water, cooked meals and heated the boat — all with little sunshine.”
The builders decided on a cruising-catamaran design for weight savings and minimal wetted surface, plus more roof area for the solar panels. Solarwave also offers the boat in a “power” version with twin diesels rated up to 600 hp.
“The onboard diesels serve as a power redundancy, and for faster speeds at night or under severe weather conditions,” Merker says. “But we haven’t used our generator for weeks. There was no need.”