LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The first solar-powered plane successfully concluded its trip flying coast to coast across the United States. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon applauded those involved in this trip, declaring that this historic trip is an inspiration for sustainability.
“The Solar Impulse flight across the United States proves that with ingenuity, we can harness [solar energy]for impressive results,” said Mr. Ban at an event marking the end of the planes journey. The founders and co-pilots of the Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borshberg, also attended the event.
The plane, whose wings span the length of a jumbo jet, yet weighs the amount of a small car, began its journey in San Francisco in early May. The plane made several stops along the way before finally reaching New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in early July. The plane is powered by 11,000 solar cells and is able to reach 30,000 feet. However, it is a very slow moving plane, only reaching 45 mph.
Mr. Ban was hopeful of what this innovative use of solar energy could do for combating climate change. He is planning to launch his “Sustainable Energy for All Initiative”, in which he promised to promote universal access to energy. His initiative will aim to reach three global targets by 2030: universal access to modern energy services, the doubling of energy efficiency, and the doubling of the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy mix.
“Solar energy can play an important part in realizing these goals,” Mr. Ban said.” Let us take inspiration from your example and harness the power of multilateralism to address climate challenge and achieve sustainable development.”
Mr. Piccard also spoke at the event, where he reiterated the Secretary-General’s prediction for the part solar energy will play in our world’s future. He spotlighted the innovative and clean technologies that went into the Solar Impulse such as carbon fiber structure, electrical engines and solar panels.
“We will fly around the world in 2015…and this can be a beautiful demonstration of how far we can push the application of renewable energy,” Mr. Piccard said. “So many people are prisoners of old ways of thinking; afraid of the unknown. What we need is pioneering spirit [so]doubts and question marks stimulate the desire to bring new solutions and applications.”
– Catherine Ulrich
Source: United Nations News, USA Today,, FOX News
Photo: Discover Magazine