Founded at the Cooperative State University in Heidenheim, solarsails is a student project which develops an innovative concept for providing electrical energy on sailing yachts. We combine the latest solar technology with the requirements of sailors. That’s how we design an innovative product: solarsails.

Self-sufficient energy supply
With solarsails, seafarers gain independence from fossil fuel. It produces enough energy to ensure the self-sufficient supply of on-board electronics.

Water Protection
Using diesel engines for electricity production aboard is one of the major contributors to water pollution. Solar power is an ecological alternative.

Noiseless transit
solarsails reduces the dependence on diesel for sailors and makes it possible to avoid the annoying and disruptive noises of combustion engines.


Canvas-sails are only made of a single-layer-buildup. In contrast, membrane sails consist of multiple layers which can accomplish more functions. Sheer transparencies protect a fiber-reinforced layer, which absorbs forces and provides stability for the sail. The innovative character of solarsails is to integrate flexible solar cells into this structure. As a result, sunlight on the idle sail area is transformed into electrical energy. This way, consumers on board can be supplied with renewable energy without having the need to use combustion engines for this purpose.

The field test of a laboratory prototype with limited functions was realized in August 2014 on the Bavarian lake ‘Chiemsee’. The test proves that the integrated photovoltaic panels reach about 20% more yield than cells, which are installed on deck. This is mainly based on effects derived from reflections on the water surface. One important key factor that indicates a successful product combination is the similar lifetime of membrane sails and flexible photovoltaic panels.


A project team of 14 students in the field of the industrial engineering at the Cooperative State University in Heidenheim.
The project is professional supported by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus-Dieter Rupp.

Team members

Julian Glaab

Project Manager

Sven Thomsen

Vice Project Manager

Waldemar Schleining

Team Manager Technology and Construction

Tatiana Klitzing

Technical Assistent

Tobias Bodammer

IT Engineer and Technical Assistent

Felipe Vazquez


Johannes Riedel

Team Manager Stakeholder & Public Relations

Verena Stubenvoll


Maren Paluskiewicz

Public Relations

Peter Richter

Team Manager Quality Management

Stephanie Huber

Quality Management

Caroline Wolter

Quality Management

Anna Geiger


Verena Roßkopf


Andrea Vega

International Market Research

Laura Gonzalez

International Market Research

Niklas Frühwirt



Flying high with our partners

Via construction of a fully-functional prototype we will validate our concept and discover other scientific facts. For this we need your support. It is worth it.