Taking Flight, Powered by the Sun

By Rob Sargent
Senior Director, Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy

We know we can have healthier communities right now and a livable future for kids growing up today. But to get there, we must transform the way we produce and consume energy. That’s got to start with a commitment to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

Every day, we see another example of tremendous progress on renewable energy. Wind and solar, as well as electric cars, are becoming mainstream “go-to” options, reinforcing that the move to 100% renewable energy is underway. At the same time, most experts will acknowledge that one of our next biggest challenges will be powering aircrafts with renewable energy.  

Truth be told, we’ll need some breakthroughs before commercial airliners are powered by renewable energy. But, the Solar Impulse team is moving us in the right direction and inspiring us to think bigger and bolder. Soon, Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will become the first to circumnavigate the globe in a totally solar-powered aircraft.

“If an airplane like Solar Impulse 2 can fly day and night without fuel, the world can be much cleaner” --Bertrand Piccard, pilot of Solar Impulse

Powered by 17,000 solar panels, Solar Impulse took off from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, last March. And on Sunday, it completed the 9th leg of its journey, touching down in California after crossing the entire Pacific. This last leg, which took off from Hawaii and encompassed 2,200 miles, was a solo mission for Piccard.

Want to know the coolest part? Solar Impulse can fly day and night without limit.

The whole purpose of this journey is to “demonstrate that clean technologies can achieve impossible goals.” In other words, the prospect of 100% renewable plane travel isn’t total fantasy. It might not happen tomorrow, but it’s happening right before our eyes.

We commend the Solar Impulse team for capturing the hearts and minds of those of us who believe that a better future is within our reach. Be sure to keep up to date on their journey on Facebook and Twitter.

Stay tuned for updates on their journey and other news in the world of 100% clean, renewable energy!