Project Goldfisch

We all live in a solar submarine

Virtual submarine

By Keith Barry

If playing with electricity underwater doesn't seem crazy enough, a Swiss company is suggesting an even more mind-boggling combination: the world's first solar submarine. We wonder if they've designed windows that open.

Energy giant BKW-FMB is looking for investors ready to pony up almost $9 million to start work on Project Goldfisch, which consists of a floating Goldport "power island" of photovoltaic panels that will channel electricity to the submersibles running below.

Since the price tag on your average nuclear-powered Virginia-class sub starts at around $2.5 billion, we suspect BKW will spend its investment on a newer copy of Photoshop. The laughable renderings the company provided were obviously worked out on an Amiga. 

As for the sub itself, someone at BKW has an incredible sense of humor and a penchant for late 70's Bond films or the company is anticipating a rise in the number of villains needing awesome hideouts. Either way, we're ready to jump in the submersible Lotus Esprit and pop a Carly Simon cassette in the tape deck. 

The company says the sub would draw power from a floating solar array of five generators, each with 430-square feet of panels. A GPS tracking system would tell the sub where to surface when it needs to recharge, which makes us wonder — would a dead Goldfisch float belly-up ? Once charged, BKW says, the sub could dive to depths approaching 1,000 feet and reach a top speed of 5 knots (not quite 6 mph).