The Solar Impulse 2 aircraft landed at Kalaeloa Airport on Oahu on Friday, July 2. The flight carried it from Japan to Hawaii–the longest leg of a round-the-world journey undertaken entirely on solar power.
André Borschberg piloted the Swiss plane for 117 hours and 52 minutes over a distance of more than 7,200 kilometers. It was an epic achievement in terms of human endurance.
The flight also exemplifies the efficacy of renewable energy, especially given need for mechanized civilization to adapt to a world in which fossil fuel-powered industrialization is altering the climate in dangerous ways. The aircraft’s wings carry 17,248 solar cells, which enabled it to fly from Japan to Hawaii without using a drop of fossil fuels. That’s why it’s no surprise that Hawaii’s State Energy Office is using the Solar Impulse 2’s historic flight to publicize our state’s renewable energy goals. Signed into law in June by Governor David Ige, they require that the state draw 100 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2045.
“It is fitting that Solar Impulse 2 made its first U.S. stop in Hawaii, which is becoming one of the world’s leading test beds for clean energy development,” said Mark Glick, Hawaii State Energy Office administrator in a July 3 news release from his office. “We understand the value of the research and development that went into Solar Impulse 2 as we work to attract investment and create a clean energy sector that we believe has tremendous economic potential for Hawaii.”
Glick also pointed out that the whole mission of the Solar Impulse 2 fits in perfectly with Hawaii’s own record on drawing energy from the sun.
“Solar Impulse 2 utilizes pieces of technology that are a significant part of Hawaii’s energy portfolio,” Glick said in the July 3 news release from the State Energy Office. “The solar cells that cover the wings of the Solar Impulse 2 are a familiar sight here in Hawaii, which leads the nation in installed PV capacity per person.”
The Solar Impulse flights are part of a greater Future is Clean campaign that hopes to steer world government governments towards energy policies more suited to realities brought on by climate change. For more information, visit Futureisclean.org.
Photo courtesy Revillard/Solar Impulse