Solar power and electric propulsion could be an ideal combination for providing near-silent, luxury transportation at exclusive beach resorts. Dutch company Soel Yachts launched in 2017 the first of its 12 solar electric-catamarans at the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa in French Polynesia, taking up to 12 guests on lagoon and sunset cruises.
The resort, currently undergoing a transformation to introduce new luxurious and modern standards, has now decided to offer sustainability on all levels by switching its entire fleet to solar electric boats.
“With the current movement of more sustainable thinking and the environmental impact on the whole world, fossil fuel-free transport has become indispensable. In the past two years of successful operations with the SoelCat 12, we have seen that our reputation among the guests has increased significantly due to the growing sustainability movement. Preserving coral reefs and improving the quality of the air matters a lot, especially when on holiday,” explained Romain Vidal, general manager of the FHP Hotel Group which owns the resort.
The resort will move to utilize larger vessels, in the form of the newly developed Soel Shuttle 14 type, which offers space for up to 24 passengers and their luggage. A VIP version of the shuttle, for exceptional private tours, is also on the drawing board.
With an installed battery capacity of 106kWh and 80kW of motor power from Naval DC, the Soel Shuttle 14 is set up for speeds up to 14kts. The hull designs of the solar electric boats are optimized for maximum efficiency and the need to provide reliable running hours.