The Energy Matters Solar Coaster

The sailboat Energy Matters Solar Coaster shows how a little solar can do a lot in marine applications.

It’s not on the scale of MS Tûranor PlanetSolar (the world’s largest solar powered boat) by any means, but Solar Coaster’s couple of panels and energy storage system still provide enough power to be used for propulsion.

Owned by an Energy Matters installation contractor on the mid north coast of NSW; the 12 metre sloop has two BenQ Solar 327 watt Sunforte solar panels that were supplied by Energy Matters and 15 kilowatt hours of lithium iron phosphate battery storage.

The 3-phase brushless AC motor and controller from EV Power silently propel the craft to and from coastal offshore racing and cruising events. The batteries provide up to 5 hours motoring when not under sail.

“Solar is changing so much, so quickly – and cleanly” says Jeremy Rich; CEO of Energy Matters. “Marine craft owners can benefit from going solar; whether it’s to replace noisy, polluting generators to run lights, communications equipment and other appliances; or as in the case of Energy Matters Solar Coaster, to provide power for propulsion.”

The BenQ Solar Sunforte modules offer an efficiency as high as 20.1%, substantially more than many other solar panel brands. The cells in these modules are made in the same factory as SunPower cells. BenQ Solar is a division of AU Optronics.

EV Power Australia Pty Ltd designs, manufactures and sells Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP or LiFePO4) battery packs and components for a variety of applications. LFP chemistry offers a longer cycle life and improved safety over standard lithium-ion batteries.