• The boat


PlanetSolar was designed by the naval architect from New Zealand, Craig Loomes, and financed by the German entrepreneur, Immo Ströher. She started her build in 2008 in Kiel, Germany in the Knierim Yachtbau shipyard. PlanetSolar took shape and turned into a giant catamaran, the world’s largest ever built.

With a futuristic appearance the giant solar vessel was nevertheless entirely designed and fitted out with the latest technology. In fact, it was very important to Raphaël Domjan to prove that technologies did exist for achieving solar energy exploits and that they already had immense potential. All the materials, components and instruments used in PlanetSolar are therefore available on the market.

On 25 February 2010 more than 200 guests attended the unveiling of PlanetSolar in Kiel. Shortly afterwards, on 31 March, the largest catamaran in the world felt the lap of the water for the first time in Kiel, to the unconcealed emotion of the team which had made this moment possible. After sea trials she was ferried to the Mediterranean, ready to start her circumnavigation adventure.

Technical aspects

Length31 m
Length (with “flaps”)35 m
Width16 m
Width (with “flaps”)26 m
Unladen weight89 t
Height (above the waterline)6.5 m
Total surface area of the solar panels 536.65 m2
Number of modules825
Number of photovoltaic cell38'000
Cell efficiency22.6%
Total weight of the Li-Ion batteries12 t
Autonomy without sunshine 3 days
Cruising speed 5 knots
Maximum speed9 knots
Maximum engine power120 kW
Crusing speed power20 kW
Peak performance93.5 kW

Developments initiated

As a result of collaboration with the Engineering school (Ecole d’ingénieur ) in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, MeteoFrance and the French company Adrena, the PlanetSolar navigation system was enhanced by software simulating the best solar routing.

These days this software is used by many cargo ships and also by yachtsmen, particularly in the Vendée Globe, because it enables the best route to be simulated by incorporating all the vessel characteristics and the weather parameters.