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This Superyacht Is Covered in Solar Panels, Promises Completely Green Sailing

How much would you personally sacrifice in terms of personal comfort to know that your impact on the environment is greatly reduced? In the case of superyacht owners, one new, daring design hopes the answer is “a lot.”
Solar Express concept proposes a superyacht with fewer amenities but more eco-credentials 6 photos
Solar Express concept proposes a superyacht with fewer amenities but more eco-credentialsSolar Express concept proposes a superyacht with fewer amenities but more eco-credentialsSolar Express concept proposes a superyacht with fewer amenities but more eco-credentialsSolar Express concept proposes a superyacht with fewer amenities but more eco-credentialsSolar Express concept proposes a superyacht with fewer amenities but more eco-credentials
Design studio M51 has unveiled a new 130-meter (426.5-foot) superyacht concept called Solar Express, which lives up to the name by featuring vast exterior surfaces covered in solar panels. The hybrid-electric superyacht is, despite its massive size, completely green and would offer only guilt-free journeys to the owner and guests.

There is a “but” to this enticing proposition, designer Anthony Glasson explains to Boat International: even with the massive size of the ship and a more than a generous interior volume of 5,260 GT, certain sacrifices had to be made in terms of luxury amenities in favor of the solar panels. So don’t expect stuff like helipads, gyms, or wellness centers here.

Solar Express, named so after the steam trains of yore, features a “narwhal tusk”-inspired spike at the bow and is covered in over 1,500 square meters (16,145 square feet) of solar panels. A hybrid propulsion system made up of two Azipods and electric generators keep it moving while the energy from the sun is stored in large battery packs below deck and used to run hotel functions.

To make the Solar Express entirely self-sufficient in terms of reliance on fossil fuels, Glasson reduced the luxury amenities to an acceptable minimum as a means to compromise. He then imagined a lightweight hull of aluminum and only lightweight materials for the constructions to offset the weight of the battery packs.

Guest accommodation is limited solely to the upper deck, where two VIP cabins are located, with views to the aft deck and the ocean. For a superyacht this big, a four-guest capacity is unheard of even in concepts.

“This concept is for the owner who does not mind forgoing some typical large superyacht features such as helipads or sundecks to make way for solar paneling,” Glasson explains.

What these four guests do get, besides the knowledge that they can sail off to wherever with minimal impact and reduced costs, is a sizable beach club, a 10-meter (32.8-foot)-long swimming pool and a jacuzzi, and some lounge areas on the main deck, including a spot for al fresco dining. By superyacht standards, this is quite poor, but considering this superyacht would be green, it’s still a decent proposition.

“Solar Express is an attempt at a greener future for large superyachts,” Glasson adds. It might not be a perfect one, but it packs a serious punch in terms of eco-credentials and styling. As of the moment of press there are no plans to build the Solar Express.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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