Silent 55 – Solar Powered Catamaran

The Silent 55 solar powered catamaran has been announced and will debut at the 2019 Cannes Yachting Festival. The 2019 model is twice as powerful as the 2018 model with the Austrian manufacturer advising that one has already been build and 3 more are on order.

Silent 55 – Solar Powered Catamaran

“Our best-selling 16.7m innovative solar electric catamaran has been upgraded and become even better than it used to be,” says Michael Köhler, Silent-Yachts founder and CEO. “We did these updates and changes because we always try to improve and to install the best and latest technology available to satisfy our clients. We have built one new Silent 55 already and we’ve got three more orders for this model, which shows that we’re heading in the right direction.”

The Silent 55 includes 30 high-efficiency solar panels rated for approximately 10 kilowatt-peak. The catamaran uses MPPT (maximum power point tracking ) solar charge regulators and lithium batteries, allowing it to cruise through all the way through the evening (i.e. when the sun’s not shining) as well. 

A 15-kVA inverter provides the required power for household appliances. The electrical system also powers an aft swim platform and a 1,500-watt electric windlass. There is also a generator on board in case you run out of solar power. 

According to Robb Report the base price of the Silent 55 is €1.4m. Interested? Go check it out at the Cannes Yachting Festival or click here to learn more about the solar catamaran on the Silent Yachts website. And take me for a spin, please! 

Silent 55 Specifications

Length overall 16,70 m (54.8‘)
Beam overall 8,46 (27.7‘)
Draft 1,20 m (3.9‘)
Light displacement 19 tons
Water 500 – 1.000 L
Waste-Water 2 x 500 L
Fuel 500 – 1.600 L
Solar Panels 10 kWp
E-Motors 2 x 30 kW / 2 x 250 kW
Generator 22 kW / 100 kW
Battery Capacity 120 kWh
Cruising Speed 6 – 8 kt / 12 – 15 kt
Top Speed approx. 12 kt / 20 kt
CE Certification CE-A
Range Trans-Ocean


Silent 55 the Solar Powered Catamaran (source: via Silent-Yachts)
Silent 55 the Solar Powered Catamaran (source: via Silent-Yachts)

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Vale Stuart Wenham, Australian solar engineer

Some sad news on Saturday as a leading pioneer of solar technology in Australia, Professor Stuart Wenham, died of malignant melanoma. Professor Wenham’s myriad advancements in the field of solar cell and panel technology helped us advance efficiency and decrease cost by a significant amount and he leaves behind an impressive legacy in the field of solar research in not only Australia, but the world. 

Stuart Wenham’s Legacy

Professor Stuart Wenham of UNSW
Professor Stuart Wenham of UNSW (source:

Professor Wenham invented advanced “hydrogenation hydrogen passivation” technology – a process which used lasers to modify hydrogen atoms in the silicon wafers used in conventional solar panels. This pioneering solar technology increased solar panel efficiency and also cut their production cost. 

Professor Wenham was the director of the Centre of Excellence for Advanced Photovoltaics and Photonics at the University of NSW. In 2013 he won the British Institution of Engineering and Technology‘s A.F. Harvey Engineering Prize and technology pioneered by Professor Wenham is used by  Samsung, BP Solar, and two of the world’s largest producers of silicon, Golden Concord and Xi’an LONGi Silicon Materials.

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted photovoltaics researcher Martin Green, who Wenham worked with and studied under during his earlier years, as saying he was a “wonderful and very positive person”. 

“He was also a brilliant and creative researcher, able to see patterns in results that eluded most of us, and new ways of capitalising on these,” Professor Green said.

“He made huge contributions to the recent emergence of solar as the cheapest option for bulk electricity supply.”

We recently reported on a $7.83m grant ARENA awarded Professor Wenham’s team at UNSW to continue their groundbreaking research on solar technology, which we’re sure they’ll put to great use to continue his legacy and keep increasing efficiency and decreasing production cost.

There will be a memorial held for Professor Wenham on January 8 at the Sir John Clancy Auditorium at UNSW. 



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