Designed by judel/vrolijk & co, this superyacht with a lifting keel and double rudder is capable of crossing oceans quickly and comfortably. Built by Baltic Yachts in Finland, she was equipped with reliable and proven systems. The largest solar system ever installed on a sailing yacht supplies some of the electrical systems on board with green energy.
System design was done in close collaboration with both shipyard and design office. As a first step, the interface to the ship was defined: A 24V LiFePO4 battery bank from Mastervolt was to be charged. Using 3D CAD data of the saloon roof, a system was drawn that made optimal use of the available space. In addition to maximum power, the focus was on a homogeneous alignment of the cells.
In order for the system to blend in perfectly with the design of the yacht despite the white base laminate, curves were to be incorporated into the pattern of the cells. A feature that had never been realised before – therefore, a specific process was developed for this project in order to incorporate optically identical cells, cut into matching contours, into the laminate in addition to functional cells.
A total of 1,742 monocrystalline solar cells are used, embedded in a special metal grid for high mechanical strength. For maximum shade tolerance, the system was optimised for coverage by the main boom and sails: 154 bypass diodes integrated into the laminate bridge shaded areas, 12 independent MPP trackers ensure the optimal operating point of the respective strings.
Verification – 1:1 paper templates
To ensure an optimal fit and avoid misunderstandings, the complete system, consisting of 87 individual modules, was laid out to scale on paper. Not only does this allow the contours and cable positions to be checked, it is also the first time that the visual impression of the installation can be seen in real life.
After minimal corrections – the position of the hatches and several cable positions were adjusted – the system was given the go-ahead for production.
The time when the templates were checked in Finland was also the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and massive travel restrictions. For this reason, it was not possible to send a team to Finland to assist with the installation as originally planned.
However, due to the excellent team of boat builders and electricians at Baltic Yachts, it was still possible to install the system on time. Detailed instructions for the installation of this system were prepared along with numbers assigned to the modules during production for clear allocation of their positions – crucial as hardly any of the 86 solar panels are identical to another.
The system was wired in 12 serial strings – optimised for the expected shade – and connected to Mastervolt SCM-60 MPPT controllers. After completion, the yacht was transported to Jakobstad by truck for launching.
Innovation, fuel economy and silent comfort
With its power of 8,714Wp, the solar system of the Baltic 146 PATH is more than just a design statement: It delivers between 30 and 50kWh per day, which allows the connected systems (navigation electronics, autopilot, lighting, entertainment) to run for over seven hours. Combined with the 44kWh battery bank, this allows 14-18h of silent running time for these systems – time during which a generator would normally have to be running.
This not only saves fuel but also weight: The solar system including all electronics and wiring weighs less than 300kg. A battery bank that can supply the same amount of energy when charged by a diesel generator would weigh 400-600kg, and also require about 10-17l of diesel every day to be charged (calculating with 30% conversion efficiency at the generator), emitting 26-45kg of CO2. Assuming 100 days of operation per year, this would save 1,000-1,700 litres of diesel or 2,6-4,5t of CO2.
The Baltic 146 PATH is thus leading a general trend in the superyacht sector: By using modern technologies and materials, the ecological footprint is reduced both during construction and operation. Especially in the area of energy management and supply, this also increases comfort and reliability on board.
Panel series: SR
Battery voltage: 24V
Battery type: LiFePO4