Air conditioning, Jacuzzi, a professional kitchen and all the amenities of a luxury hotel: this Fountaine Pajot 67 sailing catamaran, designed for luxury charter, has a huge energy consumption when operating. To nevertheless offer guests comfortable vacations while keeping a low environmental footprint, the yacht has been equipped with a tailor-made solar system that charges a large lithium service battery.
Digital scanning with the aid of a drone and modern 3D CAD systems not only allow adaptation to complex contours, they also permit the owner and his team to experience the optical appearance of the system prior to assembly. In close cooperation with the crew, areas on the salon superstructure and bimini were selected. The aim was to be able to generate 15-20kWh per day using solar energy, so that in combination with the 60kWh battery bank it would be possible to operate the yacht without a generator.
As a result, a system with approximately 4,400Wp was created. For optimal shade tolerance, the system was designed with 76 bypass diodes integrated into the laminate, with string layouts optimized for the expected shade from rig and bimini. 23 GenaSun Step-Up MPPT controllers ensure optimal charging of the 48V Li-NMC battery bank. Their special electronics convert the panel voltage upwards with great efficiency, so that energy can still be generated even when the panels are partially covered.
For efficient on-site installation, the 23 controllers – plus one as a spare – were pre-assembled on plates including bus bars, fuses and wiring. Laser engraving ensures that each controller can be easily assigned to its respective panels even after installation, without having to look up circuit diagrams or numbers.
Verification – 1:1 paper templates
Digital 3D models are very helpful for planning, but cannot replace an onboard check. For this reason, we offer to send our customers printed 1:1 paper templates for complex shapes, which can be used to perform a final check of contours and cable positions on board. These allow adjustments to be made to the millimeter and often reveal details that were forgotten in the design stage and would otherwise only have become apparent during installation of the system.
For the Fountaine Pajot 67, the part of the installation that was to be placed on deck was checked by our team on site. At the same time, the bimini was measured, as no dimensions were available until then.
This revealed some details that had to be adjusted: Deck superstructures that were not included in the CAD model as well as contours which differed slightly from the model of the ship. In addition, the templates allow the owner to get an impression of the appearance of the layout on his own ship: In comparison with the final images, it can be seen that the templates already depict this very well.
After the final corrections, the final system with 4,356Wp was approved by the owner and produced in Italy.
A two-man team from Sailectron carried out the installation of the system in Greece within just six days. For this purpose, 1,500m of cable were laid invisibly throughout the vessel and the pre-assembled charge controllers were connected to the on-board power supply. 23 solar panels were glued to the salon superstructure and caulked. In cooperation with a local sailmaker, eight solar panels were also integrated into the bimini using Velcro flaps.
Such a quick installation is possible mainly due to the pre-mounted adhesive on the back of the panels: After drilling the holes for the cables, the module can be glued on within a few minutes; all that is needed is peeling off a protective film. The adhesive not only ensures an optimum bond with the surface, its foam backing also allows thermal expansion of the panels and reliably seals the wiring that is invisibly routed inside underneath the panel.
The solar panels on top of the bimini are mounted using Velcro flaps made of the identical Sunbrella fabric, which seal the material all around so that even strong winds cannot loosen the material. On this yacht the panels are additionally stiffened with thin foam plates, waterproof connection boxes on the bottom side provide an invisible electrical connection.
The system on the bimini can be completely dismounted by the crew within half an hour if the fabric of the bimini has to be removed. The flaps can then simply be folded together, so the Velcro continues to be protected from dirt and sunlight.
A textured surface was chosen for the walk-on panels, this provides good grip with boat shoes even in wet conditions. On the bimini, a matte surface with black laminate is used, which not only matches the color of the bimini well: The matte surface is also particularly mechanically resistant, plus it virtually cleans itself during rain, so the crew doesn’t have to spend time cleaning it.
The finished system not only fits perfectly into the design of the Fountaine Pajot Alegria, but also makes optimal use of all available surfaces without restricting the crew while sailing the catamaran. With 4,356Wp it delivers approx. 17-25kWh each day, which in combination with the 60kWh lithium battery is sufficient to operate all electrical consumers on board – including several hours of air conditioning. Inverters with a continuous power of 16kW can even run induction stove and electrical oven without any problems.
The array on the bimini alone with its 1,086Wp would already be powerful enough to supply a large part of the consumers on board.
Under sail and at anchor, a completely CO2-neutral vacation is possible without having to sacrifice luxury. Since neither a generator nor an engine are required for the energy supply, the stay on board can be enjoyed without noise and vibrations while the crew serves drinks chilled with solar energy.
Due to its low weight – the solar panels weigh just below 50kg, the entire system including controllers and cables less than 100kg – the sailing characteristics and the center of gravity of the yacht are not affected, and no reinforcement of the structure is necessary.
This Fountaine Pajot 67 can be chartered with a crew of three (skipper, cook, deckhand) in Greece – we will be happy to put you in touch!
Batteries: MG Energy
Charge controllers: GenaSun
Inverters and energy management: Victron Energy
Shipyard: Fountaine Pajot
Panel series: SP / SR
Battery voltage: 48V
Battery type: Li-NMC