SunPower powering solar airplane
SunPower solar cells will power the Solar Impulse solar airplane.
SunPower Corp. said Wednesday its solar cells are being used on a prototype airplane that has been flown for 26 consecutive hours, 10 minutes and 19 seconds — powered only by solar energy.
San Jose-based SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) makes high-efficiency solar cells, panels and systems. It is participating in the Solar Impulse project, whose team out of Lausanne, Switzerland-based Solar Impulse SA aims to fly night and day without fuel, powered only by solar energy. The project has been spearheaded by Solar Impulse initiator and Chairman Bertrand Piccard and Solar Impulse co-founder and CEO Andre Borschberg.
A second airplane, also to be powered by SunPower cells, is being constructed to circumnavigate the globe in 2014. The cells are incorporated into the plane's wings and horizontal stabilizer, powering its electrical engines. The excess energy is stored in lithium batteries so the airplane can fly at night.
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