By Nick Gilbert
Solar Impulse, a Swiss solar-powered plane, landed successfully in Morocco after completing the second lap of its 2,500 km intercontinental flight from Switzerland, thereby showcasing the potential of solar power to the world.
President of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy, (MASEN), Mustapha Bakkoury, witnessed the landing of the historic flight and welcomed the pilots Piccard and Andre Borschberg. Bakkoury observed that the Solar Impulse flight is key to raising awareness about the importance of solar energy and the reduction of oil usage. He stated that solar energy will soon be integrated into daily life rather than being secluded to the scientific world, and by 2014 Morocco will be a solar energy producer and Solar Impulse will makes its round-the-world trip.
The solar-powered flight is significant as it brings to prominence the World Bank-financed construction launch of the largest global solar thermal plant at Ouarzazate, South Morocco. The Solar Impulse team will remain in Morrocco to highlight the importance of renewable energy technologies under King Mohammed VI’ patronage and when invited by MASEN, the overseer of Morocco’s solar energy development. The plant will be able to produce 2,000 MW of solar energy to be utilized by Europe and North Africa and create numerous job opportunities.
Piccard and Andre Borschberg, the two Solar Impulse pilots, exclaimed that they were extremely thrilled to fly a 207-ft wing-span plane running on a set of batteries comprising 12,000 solar cells. Borschberg stated that the flight has set new standards and raised the level of confidence in new technologies. Piccard believes that today's challenges can only be met by finding solutions through innovative and pioneering processes, and that Solar Impulse stands out as a symbol of such processes.