Japan: Green transport ship sets sail with Solar Frontier CIS panels

Solar Frontier has supplied its CIS solar panels to Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (K Line), one of Japan’s largest shipping companies, in order to power one of its newest environmentally friendly transport ship.

K Line’s new vessel, a car-carrier named Drive Green Highway, integrates advanced energy-efficient technologies and design improvements to reduce its impact on the environment. It is the first of eight similar vessels that will be built under K Line’s Drive Green Project and was launched on Tuesday at a ceremony in Nagasu Port in the southern city of Kumamoto.

Contributing to Drive Green Highway’s energy efficiency is one of the largest solar energy systems on any ship in the world, according to Solar Frontier, which supplied more than 900 of its CIS solar panels for installation on the ship’s top deck. Totaling 150 kW of capacity, the system power’s all of the vessel’s LED lighting. The ship measures 200 meters in length, 37.5 meters wide and carries up to 7,500 passenger vehicles at once.

Solar Frontier said K Line selected its CIS modules because they generate higher electricity yield (kilowatt-hours per kilowatt-peak) than crystalline silicon solar panels in real-world conditions. The company added that the panels offer particular strength in the ocean’s hot and salt-mist environment, making them ideal to power Drive Green Highway as it ships cargo around the world.

"K Line is demonstrating how solar energy can improve the energy efficiency and reduce the ecological impact of the shipping industry," said Solar Frontier CEO Atsuhiko Hirano. “This is one example of the greater role that solar energy has to play in our future, supporting an ever broader range of technologies in a wider range of industries.”