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USA: SunPower ® Joins Solar Impulse Project as Official Supplier

On December 7, SunPower announced that the company is providing solar cells to the Solar Impulse project. The Solar Impulse team has produced a prototype (HB-SIA) solar airplane that, for the first time in aviation history, succeeded in flying for 26 consecutive hours powered only by solar energy. A second solar airplane (HB-SIB) is currently under construction with plans to circumnavigate the globe in 2014. Both planes are powered by SunPower’s high-efficiency solar cells.

SunPower’s Maxeon™ solar cell technology was selected because of its industry-leading efficiency and thickness of its solar cell, an average of only 135 microns, which is important for the power to weight ratio of the aircraft. After the success of the first solar plane, a second airplane is under construction using approximately 22,000 high efficiency SunPower solar cells. The cells will be incorporated into the plane’s wings and horizontal stabilizer, with each cell producing an efficiency of approximately 22.7 percent. The solar cells will power the electrical engines, storing the excess solar energy for the night flying in lithium batteries.

Powering Unique Solar Projects Since 1993

SunPower has a legacy of powering unique solar projects. In 1993, SunPower’s high-efficiency solar cells drove the Honda car to win the World Solar Challenge from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia, a full day ahead of the second place finisher. The company also worked with NASA to develop the unmanned Helios solar plane that flew to a record altitude of 96,863 feet, also powered by SunPower high-efficiency solar cells. Most recently, SunPower partnered with Planet Solar to power the world’s largest solar catamaran that is currently on an around-the-world tour, arriving at most destinations ahead of schedule, weather permitting. Since 2005, SunPower has supported university students with high-efficiency SunPower solar systems for their solar home entries in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. And in 2009, the company also supported students with their entries in the first Solar Decathlon Europe.

Find out more about the Solar Impulse Project and how SunPower’s involvement is helping to spread the message about the benefits of renewable energy.

Source Sun Power

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