Solar Power

The solar powered plane “Solar Impulse” is scheduled to fly the second leg of its journey, from Phoenix to Dallas, in a cross-country trip through the U.S. in the next few days. An impressive feat in itself, the goal of the crew is to complete a global flight, and to promote alternate energy sources. It’s a little disappointing to us at Grün (and my three year-old) though, that they’re no stops scheduled in Charlotte at this time.
It got me thinking though, if a solar powered plane is possible, what else is going on in the solar world that I might have missed? As architects we tend to focus on the PV panels and hot water heaters that we can use in buildings, but did you know that you can already buy phone chargers, solar trash compactors, and solar powered generators? Although not yet commercially available, solar powered car and rail technology is in development, and there is a prototypical solar powered bus in use in Australia. It’s obvious once I think about it, that satellites and some spacecraft have to have some reliance on solar power, since refueling may not be a practical option in space.

Solar power may still be in its infancy, but how great is it that it’s starting to become so commonplace in such a variety of items!
Read more about the “Solar Impulse” here:
http://www.solarimpulse.com/en/