We don’t see the electricity that runs through the wires of our home. The lights are on, the stove is cooking away, the television is blaring in the background, but we don’t really think about all the power it takes to run everything. In other words, we lose perspective on how strong solar power can actually be. To right this wrong and establish once and for all what can be achieved, here is a list of some crazy-ass solar power.
The Largest Solar-Powered Boat
Here we have the largest boat that is currently being powered exclusively through solar panels. How many solar cells does it take to power 89 000 kg boat? Approximately 29 000 of those babies were crammed in there, and it can host around 60 people when docked. The cells also power an electric motor with a maximum capacity of 120kW and can take the boat up to 5 knots, which is roughly 9 km/h. The best part is that it doesn’t use a drop of petrol or emits any greenhouse gasses.
The First Solar Airplane to take a Trip Around the World
We did an article about the Solar Impulse 2 recently if you want more in-dept details, but here is a general idea of what to expect. The airplane weighs just over 2 tons. Now, compared to an airliner it’s not very much, but it’s not like people are casually walking around and picking up their cars. It takes significant power to get it off the ground. As for the amount of solar cells that were needed, 17 000 were installed across the wings. As an interesting side-note, the plane could fly during the night as well.
Space Stations and Satellites
NASA and many other institutions have been using solar power for some time now. As you can see in the above picture, a large portion of this international space station is made up of solar panels. In fact, solar power can be used to send ships millions of miles into space. The same principle is used for satellites, and those orbiting the earth are all powered by the sun. But take a look at this strange satellite.
This is called the Odysseus, and it was developed by Aurora. It’s completely solar powered and can stay in the air for up to 5 years. However, the Odysseus is a low flying satellite and will stay within 60 000 and 90 000 feet.
Very Cool Cars
Yes, the first solar-powered cars didn’t look very attractive, but the times are changing. The above beauty is 1 of 4 new cars being developed by a company called Hanergy, or rather, they hope to bring it to the open market some day. They can take you up to 80km in distance if they’ve charged for 5 to 6 hours, although it’s not clear how fast they can go. With batteries installed they can see you driving as far as 350km.
How’s that for crazy-ass solar power?