PlanetSolar is a 31 meter-long and 15 meter-wide catamaran covered by 500 square meters of photovoltaic solar panels that will power an electric motor. In 2011, the boat will undertake the first world tour powered by solar energy -- demonstrating that renewable energy and technology can be applied today to achieve sustainable transportation.“Using technology and our knowledge to improve our energy efficiency and promote renewable energies is the path toward a lasting world. PlanetSolar wants to show that solutions exist,” said Raphael Domjan, founder and skipper of the project. “PlanetSolar is more than a solar boat,” said Ian Hudson, president -- DuPont Europe, Middle East & Africa. “It is the very concrete demonstration of how science and technology can transform the sun’s potential into clean energy. This project showcases solutions that help raise mainstream awareness of sustainable alternatives in the transportation industry. We are very proud to be part of this project.” The photovoltaic modules used to power the boat are exposed to a harsh marine environment. The full range of materials that make up these solar modules must be highly durable. For example, DuPont™ Tedlar® polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) film, used as a component of the photovoltaic backsheet, is a key material that protects the PlanetSolar modules and ensures reliable power generation during the cruise. DuPont has supplied key materials for photovoltaic modules and high-performance coatings for marine applications to PlanetSolar, the largest solar boat ever built.
The generation and storage of renewable energy is expected to be the fastest growing sector in the energy market for the next 20 years. DuPont global sales in the photovoltaic sector are planned to exceed $1 billion by 2012. DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions is the leading technology supplier to the photovoltaic industry, with more than 25 years of experience in photovoltaic materials development, and a broad and growing portfolio of materials and technology solutions designed to work together to increase the efficiency and lifetime of photovoltaic modules.
PlanetSolar’s 1,300 square meter external surface and the whole interior area including the cockpit have been painted with high-performance DuPont Marine materials coatings. The cockpit was painted with DuPont ™ PercoTop® 449, a topcoat system, while the external structure was painted with DuPont ™ Imron® Marine, which is designed to deliver excellent appearance, durability and eye-catching color. These coatings are specifically developed for marine conditions. Ultra-violet (UV) resistant and extremely durable coatings are essential for the long-lasting performance of the boat.