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Aviation solar powered plane Solar Impulse

Published on July 9th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


Solar-Powered Plane Completes 1st 24-Hour Flight

solar powered plane Solar Impulse

We’ve written about the Solar Impulse airplane here on Cleantechnica before. It is a completely solar-powered plane built in Switzerland. Not long after taking its first flight (in December, 2009) the plane has now just set a new record by being the first solar-powered plane to fly for 24 hours straight.

“The plane, piloted by Solar Impulse chief executive and former fighter jet pilot Andre Borschberg, landed at the Payerne airbase in Switzerland at 9am local time, having flown through the night using power stored in the aircraft’s batteries,” Business Green reports.

The plane had 3 hours worth of battery power left when it landed, more than the Solar Impulse team expected.

In addition to being the first solar-powered plane to fly for 24 hours straight, it also broke the altitude record for solar-powered aircraft, flying as high as 8,500 meters (27,887 feet).

The Solar Impulse team’s next goal is to fly around the world in 2013. It is starting work on a new version of the plane for that.

I think this is one huge step for solar technology, in general. It is a sign of how far we’ve come as well as a taste of how much solar enery potential there is.

Although many engineers don’t think solar-powered planes will ever replace standard commercial-scale aircraft, I have my hopes and would love to fly in one such plane one day.

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Photo Credit: Deutsche Bank AG via flickr/CC license

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

  • John Bravo

    I think this is really great concept. Because fuel prices hiking day by day and pollution also affect to ozone layer and due to global warming it is really worth for human lives. But I have a doubt, suppose the sun covered by the clouds then what to do? Is there any other options? I am just worried about it.

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