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Flying Around The World With No Fuel: Solar Impulse 2 Breaking Records

Flying Around The World With No Fuel: Solar Impulse 2 Breaking Records - First Solar, Inc. NASDAQ:FSLR, Tesla Motors, Inc. NASDAQ:TSLA

While companies like First Solar, Inc. FLSR 46.43%, SolarCity Corp SCTY 0.67% and Tesla Motors Inc TSLA 1.81% are working to solve our energy problem at home, at work and on the roads, a group of Swiss engineers are conquering the skies.

On March 9, 2015, Solar Impulse launched a record-setting journey when CEO Andre Borschberg took off from Abu Dhabi in the company’s entirely solar-powered plane, the Solar Impulse 2.

The goal was to fly around the world in five months entirely on solar power. While Solar Impulse 2 is not the first solar-powered plane, it is the first to fly both day and night powered only by energy stored in its batteries.

The Solar Impulse 2 has the wingspan of a commercial jetliner but the weight of a minivan. The plane is covered with 17,000 solar cells that power the plane, and charge the lithium-ion batteries that allow it to continue to flight at night.

Solar Impulse was founded in 2004 by Borschberg and fellow pilot Bertrand Piccard, who made history in 1999 by flying around the world in a balloon. The purpose of the Solar Impulse 2 flight was to raise awareness of the possibilities of alternative energy.

“In our world today, if we want a better quality of life, to create jobs, to make profit for the industry, to sustain growth for our world, we need clean technologies, because this is what the world needs,” Piccard said before the journey began.

The flight didn’t quite go as planned when Solar Impulse 2 was grounded in Hawaii from July 2015 to April 2016 after its batteries overheated. However, the plane successfully landed back in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, proving that the sky is no longer the limit for alternative energy.

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Disclosure: The author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.

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