Following over 19 months of navigation, the catamaran yacht MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is the first vessel to have successfully completed its tour around the world, using exclusively solar energy. Reaching the finish line at 2.12 pm in the Hercule harbour in Monaco after a journey of 60’006 km, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is the world’s largest solar ship ever built. Passing all the oceans as well as continents, the eco-adventurers finally met their loved ones and the onshore crew again under the applause of a large number of visitors coming to see them.
Following a course close to the equator, which led through the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar yacht has made many stopovers during her voyage, such as Tangier, Miami, Cancun, the Galápagos, the French Polynesia, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bombay or Abu Dhabi and Doha. 28 countries in total ! These stopovers were unique opportunities to meet the local populations and to promote the use of solar energy ! The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is the first boat to have completed a world tour entirely powered by solar energy. Departed from Monaco on the 27th of September 2010, the ship has sailed under Swiss flag during 585 days without a single drop of fuel. Thus, PlanetSolar has shown the potential and reliability of solar energy.
Initiator and expedition leader of PlanetSolar, the Swiss Raphaël Domjan was very moved and has declared right after disembarking: “We are extremely happy to have achieved this first world tour with solar energy ! We have shown that we have the technologies as well as the knowledge to become sustainable and safeguard our blue planet! This exploit would not have been possible without the support of our partners, and in particular without the support of the German pioneer of solar energy, and co-founder of PlanetSolar Immo Stroeher, who was personally and financially committed to the success of this unique adventure.”
“The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is much more than a ship. It has become an ambassador of solar energy” says Immo Stroeher, main investor of the project. “The arrival in Monaco is only the start ! We now have to take advantage of the fame of PlanetSolar in order to promote the use of solar energy.”
Didier Burkhalter, Swiss Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs was also present to share the joy of seeing this world tour successfuly completed. The Swiss government is an official partner of the project. “The whole country is represented through this innovative project. The technology, the project PlanetSolar and the pioneer spirit of Raphaël Domjan and his crew is a reflection of Switzerland and its efforts in favour of the environment”.
Gareth Deaves, adjudicator for Guinness World Records™ will present PlanetSolar during the welcome ceremony, with the certificates for the ‘longest journey by solar powered boat’ and the ‘first circumnavigation by solar powered boat’. During its journey, MS Tûranor PlanetSolar also achieved the Guinness World Records™ for ‘fastest crossing of the South China sea by solar power ‘and the ‘fastest crossing of the Atlantic by solar power’.
A colourful weekend of celebrations in Monaco
Celebrations will continue in the port with a “SolarLightShow” and the concert of the Swiss band “Sonalp”. These events will be powered by the batteries of the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar yacht. The success of this technological and ecological adventure gathers many partners and supporters together. They will all be there to celebrate the success of PlanetSolar on the weekend of 4 to 6 May in the Hercule Harbour in Monaco.
His Serene Higness Prince Albert II of Monaco is expected on board on Saturday, 5 May to congratulate the crew : “Welcoming back the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar after having seen her leave more than a year and a half ago is a great joy. I am happy to celebrate the success of this extraordinary adventure that proves that the resources necessary for a more environment-friendly mobility exist and can be used today. PlanetSolar, Raphaël Domjan and his team have made a big step in favour of solar energy and the Principality of Monaco is proud to be associated with this success”.
The solar ship will remain docked in the Monegasque harbour until Monday, 7 May. Then it will sail to Marseille where it will be one of the guests at the European Solar Days from 9 to 12 May.
New objectives for PlanetSolar
« The successful completion of the world tour is also a new start into a new era for the operating company PlanetSolar SA. » said Immo Stroeher. « We want to use our reputation, our contacts, our experience and our know-how in the management and implementation of solar projects in order to deliver concrete and practical solutions. As pioneers, we will support investors, individuals or companies in the realisation of their projects.»
“The successful completion of the world tour is also a departure into a new era for the operating company PlanetSolar SA.”, said Immo Stroeher, majority shareholder of PlanetSolar SA and pioneer of the German solar energy industry. “We want to use our reputation, our contacts, our experience and our know-how in the management of solar projects for the implementation of projects in the area of solar energy, and concrete, practicable problem solutions. As a builder of bridges, we will support investors, individuals and companies to implement their solar projects that are closely related to practice in a faster way – doers for doers, so to speak.”
“In a first step, we will introduce the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar to a new use. We are considering renting out the boat for scientific or commercial uses or even selling it. We are open for ideas and in talks with interested parties – from the use as a ‘green’ luxury yacht to scientific usages and the utilization as the world’s largest mobile solar power battery, everything is possible».
The Do and Think Tank PlanetSolar is intended to be financially self-supporting in the sense of a social entrepreneurship. Talks with potential partners will be taken up in the coming weeks.