One of the latest hot trends among the toys for the uber-rich are yachts powered entirely by solar energy.
In fact, there are over 5,000 such yachts roaming the oceans and providing their owners with a way to ease their conscience.
Many of the largest builders of luxury yachts are getting in on the trend building solar-assisted boats and even boats that are able to run entirely on solar power.
The advances in solar panel technology provide ship designers with a number of choices about the placement of the solar panels, even creating flexible panels that can wrap the ship’s upper hull.
The migration from diesel engines to electric boats has been happening for years, but the drawback of these electric boats was the weight of the batteries that they needed to carry for longer trips.
Adding solar recharging to these batteries allows the designers to make the battery banks smaller and thus the boats much lighter.
While the cost to purchase these yachts is currently higher than traditional diesel yachts, the payback occurs very quickly because the maintenance costs are much lower and there is no cost for fuel.
But for those who can afford these ships, the extra costs are not likely to be a deciding factor since the smallest design can push $2 million with the largest over $20 million or more.
Silent Yachts offers several examples of solar-powered catamaran yachts that boast unlimited range and zero fuel costs.
“They don’t have any moving parts,” said Silent Yachts CEO Stephan Kress. “The electric motors, they are maintenance free. The only things that you would need to maintain on the boat are heat exchangers and the backup generator, which is very limited.”