Last Updated: Apr 2012
Estimates vary for wind energy with kites ranging from $500,000 and $1 million a vessel. Prices for high power band (>125 watts) solar modules has dropped from around $27 per Watt Peak in 1982 to around $4/Wp today. Prices higher and lower than this are usually dependent upon the size of the order, according to Solarbuzz Research and Consultancy Services.
Here are some examples of successful at sea trials:
SkySails GmbH & Co. KG: In March SkySails announced its fuel-saving kite propulsion system has been successfully installed onboard Germany's largest fishing vessel, the ROS-171 Maartje Theadora. SkySails' customers are the Bremen-based shipping company Beluga Shipping and the WESSELS shipping company of Haren/Ems, as well as Wilson from Norway, the French 30m+ Yachts and Parlevliet & Van der Plas based in the Netherlands. The company has set itself a goal to equip over 3,000 ships by 2020.
Greenwave: Greenwave has built a full scale wind engine which has been tested at a purpose built facility at Port of Blyth in Northumberland. The results show an average annual saving of 13%. Typically this would represent around 1,000 tons of fuel and over 3,000 tons of CO2 per ship per year.
NYK Line: In 2009 the Auriga Leader vessel was equipped with over 300 solar panels and successfully managed to reduce bunker consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions during its first seven months of operation.
By the end of the fourth voyage, the solar-panel system had been operated for a total of 2,600 hours and generated 32,300 kilowatt-hours of electricity, equivalent to seven months of electricity use by 17 households in Japan.
Other companies including Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), Nippon Yusen Kaisha Line, Alcatraz Cruises and Solar Sailor Holdings Ltd are looking to expand on solar technology in the marine industry.