History 15 Years Of Solar Powered Experience


Michael & Heike Köhler are the solar-pioneers behind SILENT-YACHTS.

Upon completing his University studies, Mr. Köhler practiced law for several years prior to following his life-long interest in the marine industry.

As both their hearts were longing for the open blue, they travelled the oceans for over 23 years on conventionally powered sailboats and motorboats. They both spent over 5000 days on board of their yachts and sailed over 75,000 NM around the world. The experiences they gathered during more than two decades at sea lead them to the conclusion that there had to be a more efficient way to supply yachts with energy. After four years of continuous research, this lead to the birth of the SOLARWAVE 46 in 2009.

It was nothing less than the first ocean-going yacht which exclusively used solar energy not only for actual propulsion, but also to provide energy to all household appliances on board. This includes everything ranging from cooktops, stoves and the freezer to the air conditioning, washing-machine and water-maker.

the founder of silent yachts

SOLARWAVE 46 – the world’s premier catamaran powered purely by solar energy.

In 2010, a rigorous four-year sea trial was initiated in which they crossed the entire continent of Europe by river, sailed the dangerous Black Sea, the stormy Aegean as well as the vast Mediterranean Sea. Throughout the journey, the SOLARWAVE 46 did not only accommodate them with convenient amenities such as on-board water production, cooling and heating. It additionally accommodated eight guests on board with all the comfort needed for a total period of 120 weeks.

Furthermore, it was able to power the engines every day under various circumstances such as rain, cloudy sky, sun, snowfall, ice and even storms of force 9. It is important here to note that during this period of four years there were no maintenance or repair works required on the solar panels, the batteries or the electric engine. The generator, which has to be on board for safety reasons, was working for less than 50 hours during those 48 months – primarily to avoid becoming rusty. On the other hand, the electric motors were operating for more than 2000 hours for the same period of time with no maintenance needed.

After all those years of dedicated trials, this was the proof that the solar-electric drivetrain they had developed was the answer to the question they were asking ourselves themselves during the ocean expeditions. It is the most effective, efficient and reliable choice for nautical propulsion and self-sufficient sailing as well as being perfectly suitable for an independent life on board.

As a result they have now given over 150 lectures worldwide regarding the energy supplies and propulsion on yachts. Many of their learnings can be read up in their published book “Energy supply on yachts”.

Based on their unique expertise, they have successfully developed 4 full production solar-electric yacht models, namely the SILENT 55, SILENT 60, SILENT 64 and the SILENT 80. All these models enjoy great popularity nowadays.

In addition, Mr. Köhler has been a featured guest on numerous radio and international television shows discussing the revolutionary technology. He is universally recognized as the world’s leading authority on the application of solar technology in the yachting industry.

Over the past years, SILENT-YACHTS has now received several awards honoring the research and development that was invested into this innovative technology.

Our Awards