SunPower technology demonstrated by PlanetSolar’s record-breaking round-the-world tour

The performance of the solar modules exceeded our expectations, even in difficult conditions such as dense morning and evening clouds and high temperatures, without any efficiency loss in nearly two years at sea. When you want to push limits, you have to rely on the best technologies. SunPower has proven again to be the best solar technology available on the market for its efficiency, reliability and performance.”

– Raphaël Domjan, Founder of PlanetSolar SA

MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is the first craft of any kind to have circumnavigated the globe powered solely by solar energy, thanks to SunPower Maxeon™ back-contact solar cell.
The solar technology that would top the entire deck of the multi-hull carbon fibre catamaran would have to be as efficient and lightweight as possible. It would have to produce enough energy to power the catamaran whilst holding up to extreme conditions, strong winds and high levels of salinity and moisture. 
Following due diligence with leading solar manufacturers, the PlanetSolar team chose SunPower modules, the same used on rooftop and ground-mounted systems all over the world, for their industry-leading efficiency, reliability and proven performance.
SunPower for the most reliable solar
Moisture and corrosion are the principal failure mechanisms affecting the reliability and performance of PV modules. In fact, more than 45% of PV failures are due to corrosion. Thanks to SunPower’s Maxeon™ back-contact solar cell design, SunPower technology held up under harsh conditions, proving rugged enough to withstand the marine environment for almost two years. The catamaran completed its tour with the modules intact and in perfect condition, with no signs of corrosion and no loss of efficiency whatsoever, even after 19 months at sea.

Project Overview

SunPower product:    SunPower™ Maxeon back-contact cell 
System size:    120 kW
PV surface area:    537 m2

  • Solar energy produced covered all electrical needs of the catamaran
  • No corrosion or loss of efficiency of the solar modules after 19 months at sea
  • No maintenance required at module level, despite extreme weather conditions 
  • Over 60,000 km travelled without a drop of fuel