The Turanor Solar boat is transporting a message to world leaders this weekend when it pulls into Cancun, Mexico, where the United Nations is hosting its Global Climate Change Conference.
The message: Solar power works.
The Turanor team won’t be the only cheerleaders on scene between Nov. 29 and Dec. 10 promoting the power of the sun. Organizations and industry representatives have already arrived in Cancun.
For the second year in a row, an organized group of representatives from over 40 international solar and other renewable resource organizations will be present at the United Nations Global Climate Change Conference.
The group is calling for a greater focus on renewable energy and a shift away from fossil fuels.
United States-based Solar Energy Industries is expected release a number of reports it has produced this year illustrating solar energy’s viability.
The combined force of the solar energy organizations launched a petition asking world leaders from 190 represented nations to consider solar energy and will send it out after the conference.
The Turanor PlanetSolar, the world’s largest solar-powered boat, is due to arrive in Cancun Sunday. The crew will use the boat as a prop—a demonstration of how solar is viable today without further testing, prodding and improvement.
“We will try to use the boat to carry some VIPs and transport them from one point to another point,” said Patrick Marchesseaur, the boat’s French captain. “We want them to see that this new energy works.”
The Turanor left Monte Carlo a month ago and took just 26 days to arrive at the Miami Beach Marina last weekend.
More than an estimated 1,000 visitors went to the marina to see the boat, Marchesseaur said.
“There are a lot of people who have interest in what we are doing,” he said.
The boat depends completely on power from the sun. The 18-percent-efficiency panels covering the ship’s surface produce almost 95 kilowatts of power, and the engine uses almost 24 kilowatts, according to the boat’s web site. The ship stores unused energy in batteries to help it get through nights and cloudy days.
The Turanor arrived in Miami a day early despite problems at sea. Hurricane Tomas crossed the ship’s path.
“We had to divert for that,” Patrick said. “And then, of course, we had a few cloudy days because of that storm.”
The point of the solar boat’s journey is to show the world that solar energy is a viable alternative to traditional fossil fuels.
The team has advertised from the beginning it’s plan to present and make an argument for the sun at the United Nations Global Climate Change Conference in Cancun. Now that the hour is upon them; the team members say they are ready.
“It is very, very important that these leaders accept this ship as evidence of this new energy’s success.”
Pictured: The Crew of Turanor PlanetSolar gear up for what proves to be the most environmentally conscious rendition of The Village People's "YMCA." Image courtesy of PlanetSolar.