We'd heard that Nippon Oil and Nippon Yusen were working on a million-dollar solar upgrade for a car freighter called the Auriga Leader back in August, and it looks like things have gone as planned -- the cargo ship launched today from Kobe, Japan. The $1.68m project involved the installation of 328 solar panels, which produce 40 kilowatts of power -- a measly 0.3 percent of the engine power required to move the 656-foot, 60,000-ton ship when fully loaded with 6,400 cars, but enough for seven percent of the juice required for lighting and other systems. That's a slow start, but we'll take what we can get, we suppose -- now let's bolt on some of those new record-high efficiency panels and see what happens.

[Thanks, Yossi]

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First partially-solar-powered cargo ship launches in Japan