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The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, this month docked in Canary Wharf following a two-month scientific expedition across the Atlantic to gather data on the effects of climate change on the Gulf Stream. The futuristic vessel is powered by 512 square metres of solar photovoltaic panels and has already become the first boat to circumnavigate the globe using only solar power.
The 512 m2 of photovoltaic panel power 6 blocks of lithium-ion battery, a technology that offers maximal power and energy density, thus enabling a navigation time that is unmatched.
Increasing Solar PV installations and long sunny spells has meant that 2013 has become a bumper year for Solar power generation. It is estimated that Solar power now provides approximately 2% of the UK demand for energy with a capacity of 2.7GW. As Solar panels produce electricity at the peak time of consumption it works out to 6% of our needs between 10am and 5pm.
The Solar Trade Association now believe that, in the recent sunny weather, Solar may have for the first time overtaken wind power in the energy it has provided.
“The UK generated around 16,000MWh on Tuesday compared to 9,900MWh of wind. The total consumption of electricity on this relatively calm day was 766,987MWh,” said Ray Noble of the Solar Trade Association.
The Met office predicts that England and Wales has received over 75% of it’s monthly sunshine for July in it’s first 2 weeks alone.
Germany, which has more capacity than any other country in the world, produced almost 40% of it’s daytime requirements on 7th July.
Energy and Climate Change minister, Greg Barker, has expressed his ambition to generate 20GW of energy using solar panels by the year 2020 (only 7 years away).
It’s estimated that that level of power would require the area of land equivalent to 100 times the size of the London Olympic Park.
In order to accomodate this level of power the government urgently needs to address the issue of potential overloading issues of the National Grid which currently estimates that any more tha 10GW would be “challenging in it’s current form”.
The expansion “ambition” comes as generous subsidies – ultimately added to household energy bills – are being offered to solar developers under the Government’s Renewables Obligation scheme.
English: HB-SIA makes its first “flea hop” on 3 December 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The eagerly anticipated touch down of the Solar Impulse flight from California to New Yorks JFK airport ended last night when Solar Impulse safely touched down at 23.09EST making history.
Solar Impulse is powered by 11,000 solar cells and has now completed it’s trip across America, part of it’s journey to cross the world using only solar energy.
It was meant to pass the Statue of Liberty but after an unexpected tear in it’s left wing it was decided to head straight to JFK airport making an early landing.
“It was a huge success for renewable energy,” Borschberg said while standing in front of Solar Impulse on the runway at JFK. “The only thing that failed was a piece of fabric.”
Although unexpected the tear was never considered a danger to the mission and neither pilot or aircraft was ever considered to be in danger.
Flying at 30,000 feet and travelling at 45mph Solar Impulse is powered by no more power than would be from a motorized scooter.
The aircraft will be dismanted at JFK before being transported by Jumbo Jet to Switzerland.
More photos and information can be seen here http://www.solarimpulse.com/