UK Sailmakers France and SolarCloth Systems have been awarded a 2016 Pittman Innovation Award for their Power Sails®, a method of putting solar panels on sails. UK Sailmakers France laminates thin-film, flexible solar panels into their Titanium sails so that sailors get much more electrical generation than a few hard solar panels hanging off the stern pulpit.
In publishing the award, Sail Magazine’s editors wrote, “The key here is a set of lightweight, non-load-bearing ultra-thin solar panels—typically 65 microns thick—which are laminated, glued, stitched or even zipped to a boat’s mainsail. Proof of concept was aboard an Open 50 in the 3,500-mile Route de Rhum transatlantic race in November 2014. After that came its use aboard the Arcona 380Z (Z for Zero emissions) a production boat with a UK Sweden Tape-Drive mainsail including 75ft² of photovoltaic film on each side.”
Sail’s editors were able see the Power Sails in action at the Newport and Annapolis shows on J Boats’ J/88e (shown above), which had enough solar panels in her mainsail sail to generate 400 watts per hour, which is enough to fill her battery bank to keep her OceanVolt electric engine running.
See the article about Conrad Colman’s zero emission’s entry in the Vendee Globe race where he will be using a Solar Sails mainsail to power his IMOCA 60 in a 28,000-mile race around the globe.