The largest solar-powered catamaran in the world – 31 metres long – left Monaco on 27th September 2010, after an official presentation by H.S.H Prince Albert II, for a round-the-world trip from East to West along the equatorial route. PlanetSolar crossed the Atlantic to Miami in the United States, and then headed to Cancun in Mexico and Cartagena in Colombia before travelling along the Panama Canal in January 2011. The solar catamaran then had a stopover in French Polynesia, Noumea and Brisbane, Australia, before sailing north of Australia, close to Papua New Guinea. PlanetSolar is expected to arrive in Monaco on Friday 4th May 2012. By then, she will have sailed for 53,000 km (28,618 nautical miles). She will be moored by the Quai Antoine 1er, opposite Monaco Yacht Club, and will remain in the Principality until Sunday 6th May. Various activities and events will take place that weekend.
The objectives : to demonstrate the efficacy of the environmentally friendly new technologies and the potential of renewable and photovoltaic energy to further scientific research and raise the public’s awareness of the importance of renewable sources of energy.
“The 536.65 m² of photovoltaic solar panels allow her to be propelled by solar energy alone. Everything on board is solar powered – the water, lights and telephone – apart from the cooking stove, which runs on gas,” explained the boat’s designer, Raphaël Domjan. The six-man crew who made the Atlantic crossing has since been reduced to four, to demonstrate “that it is not necessary to have a large crew to operate these technologies.”
This initiative is part of the environmental policy that Monaco has been pursuing for many years. Since signing the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 and ratifying it in 2006, the Principality has been increasing its efforts in this field. It is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 8% between 2008 and 2012. In September 2011, it recorded a reduction in its emissions of 15%. The first actions undertaken were a reduction in emissions due to urban heating (around 31%), travel (34%) and recovering energy from incinerating domestic waste (around 30%).
The initiative is supported by a consortium composed of Monaco Tourist and Convention Authority, the Prince Albert II Foundation, the Société des Bains de Mer and Monaco Yacht Club.