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Style leader in solar panels

As the industry looks to go ‘green’ and harvest renewable energies, solar panels have typically been standalone units that are heavy, fragile and with no easy access.  Until recently the solar cells available on the market were only capable of reducing the amount of battery power utilised but were too inefficient to run systems or charge batteries.

Moonwave, one of the worlds most innovative and sustainable sailing catamarans decided that they wanted solar panels and clearly, wanted a very professional install and a high-end product.   As a catamaran built on high tech, high speed and top comfort, and designed by Nigel Irens, you would expect nothing less. Moonwave recently installed a state of the art Deep Blue Hybrid System provided by Torqeedo and it was logical to complete and fully integrate the system with a proper solar array.

No wonder then that the project team chose to involve Osprey Technical as their electronic and electrical supplier for their solar panels.

In the last few years solar panels have changed significantly with the cells themselves more versatile and lighter to install, plus the performance that they offer is much greater.  With all yachts the aesthetics are essential, making them look attractive and integrate smoothly into the design of the yacht is paramount.

Osprey Technical along with their solar partner Gochermann from Germany manufactured the panels and installed them on-board.  The results can be stunning depending on the latitude and the angle of the sun, the performance is great and the look of them is very subtle and stylish. Osprey and Gochermann state that the cells are 24.1% efficient, meaning for every 1000W of sunlight exposure the cells can generate 241W, some 3-5 times that of regular ‘off the shelf’ panels. On the best of days all 1210 cells can output just short of 4.5KW (180A @ 24V) . The maximum that Moonwave has experienced to date has been 2.8KW which Sebastian Latitte, captain of Moonwave claims is more than substantial.

Superyacht Technology were delighted to speak to Rachel Oliver, Managing Director of Osprey Technical Consulting, who said “Part of the design brief was to cover the coachroof with “good” looking, walkable, light weight and performing solar cells and the installation should be integrated in a way to be able to charge our 24V house batteries and the high voltage i3 battery. We have managed to get a great looking solar coverage – like if they were part of the DNA of the boat since the beginning. No patch-work like you can find on lots of other boats.

The feedback from the crew so far is that the performances achieved from the solar installation are amazing.  They have said that on a sunny day at sea, the solar panels are not only covering all the house loads (navigation instruments, autopilots, pumps, fridges, freezer, cooking etc.) but at the same time also charging up both battery banks (low and high voltage).

The panels themselves are coated with a non-skid cover that makes them walkable and a
non-slippery surface when working on the boom – for example hoisting or dropping the main sail. The non-skid coverage of the solar panels is much more effective than the deck non-skid paint and better than what we have seen on other boats so far.”

All the crew of Moonwave are delighted with the installation and very impressed by the performance of the cells, keeping up with their requirements and filing up the battery banks all day... as long as there is sunshine...