Morocco’s ambitious and expensive plan to draw 40 percent of its energy needs from the limitless power of its blazing sun by 2020 received a publicity boost this week as the first solar powered plane to make an intercontinental flight landed in the North African kingdom.
As Swiss pilot and adventurer Bertrand Piccard stepped out of the fragile craft in front of reporters late Tuesday following his 20-hour flight from Madrid, he immediately paid tribute to Morocco’s solar ambitions, which include one day exporting electricity to Europe.
“We came here out of admiration for Morocco’s pioneering solar energy program,” Piccard said, flashing a brilliant smile and hugging members of his team on the tarmac.
Just moments earlier, the Solar Impulse had swept silently out of the darkness to glide onto the runway. Its four battery-powered turbo-props were already still, showing off the aircraft’s ability to fly even when the sun is gone.
“It was perhaps the most beautiful flight of my life. I have dreamed since I was a child of flying without using fuel,” said Piccard, who hails from a family of adventurers and who already has circumnavigated the world by balloon… Read more