| deployments and regulation advances
Intersolar North America Booms
From July 14 to 16, some 17,000 trade a;endees (up
30 percent from 2008) crowded the three levels of San
Francisco’s Moscone Center at the second Intersolar
North America business-to-business event. ;e number
of exhibitors rose 111 percent over 2008, from 210 to
444 companies from around the world. Organizers were
delighted with the rapid growth of the event, which was
co-located with the SEMICON West trade show.
;e local American Solar Energy Society (ASES) chapter, Northern California Solar Energy Society (NorCal),
hosted the annual City Solar Awards on July 15; Chapter
President Claudia Wentworth presented the awards. NorCal also released its report, “Bay Area Solar Installation”
(see norcalsolar.org), enumerating grid-tied photovoltaic
(PV) installations for calendar year 2008. It shows that
about one-third of the $1.04 billion invested in California’s solar installations for the year was spent in the nine
counties surrounding San Francisco Bay.
Brad Collins, executive director of ASES, congratulated
the winners and all the cities and communities promoting
grid-tied PV installations. “All of you are winners,” he said.
“With each new installation we create a new advocate for
more PV, for smarter buildings and for greater energy
literacy among our citizens. ;is e;ort and many more
around the country will help lead us to the sustainable
energy economy we all want.”
U.S. Joins International
Renewable Energy Agency
At the end of June, the United States was one of 22
nations to join the International Renewable Energy Agency
(IRENA), at the agency’s second congress in Sharm El Sheikh,
Egypt. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the
move underscores the Obama
administration’s commitment to
progress on climate change issues.
IRENA ( irena.org), headquartered in the United Arab Emirates,
is now an organization of 135
nations. It was founded in January to
promote renewable energy industries
Hélène Pelosse of France was
elected as the ;rst interim director-general of the agency. Pelosse is currently deputy head of sta; in charge
of international a;airs in the private
o;ce of the French Minister for Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development, and Town and Country
Planning. She also managed the French negotiations for the
EU’s Climate and Energy package, focusing in particular on the
Renewable Energy Directive, and was responsible for designing
the Renewable Energy Plan for France.
info at irena.org/
YUNEEC IN TERNATIONAL
Electric Aircraft Take Flight
Beginning with the 1980 ;ight of Paul MacCready’s Gossamer Penguin, experimental solar- powered single-seat motorgliders have made slow but steady progress. In June and July,
all-electric aviation achieved two new landmarks with the ;rst ;ight of a two-seat light plane
designed for production in China and the rollout of an experimental solar-powered Swiss prototype aimed at round-the-world ;ight.
Yuneec ( yuneeccouk.site.securepod.com), near Shanghai, manufactures electric-powered
ultralights and paragliders. Its two-seat E430 motorglider made test ;ights on June 12, piloted by
Sun Xun. It was then shipped to the United States for demonstration ;ights in Los Angeles and
at the annual Experimental Aircra; Association’s AirVenture ;y-in at Oshkosh, Wis. According
to Clive Coote, managing director of Yuneec International in the United Kingdom, performance
on the 67-volt, 40-kilowa; (54-horsepower) motor is typical for a light motorglider: takeo; and
landing at about 40 mph, cruise at about 55 mph and maximum speed at about 95 mph. ;e
72-kilogram (158-pound) lithium-ion ba;ery pack carries 30 amp-hours (ah) of charge, said to
be su;cient for about 100 minutes of cruising. A larger 50-ah ba;ery pack extends the range to
about 150 minutes. Glide ratio on the 14-meter (45-foot) wing is an e;cient 25:1. Target sales
price, if certi;ed in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Light Sport Aircra; category, will be
about $90,000. An online video of the test ;ight is eerily silent ; only the radio calls are audible.
(Watch the video at tinyurl.com/e;ight.)
How practical is the airplane? Sport ;ying aside, the E430 may ;nd a market as a stealthy
surveillance aircra;, able to do a number of low-speed, low-altitude spo;ing, photography and
air-sampling jobs now handled by noisy, expensive helicopters.
At the end of June, Swiss psychiatrist and aerial adventurer Bertrand Piccard and his partner
André Borschberg rolled out a huge solar-powered aircra; theoretically capable of ;ying at night.
Driven by four 7.5-k W (10-horsepower) electric motors, the Solar Impulse is a proof-of-concept
vehicle meant to show that its 12,000 photovoltaic (PV) cells can soak up enough power while
cruising at 44 mph to bring the ba;eries to full charge ; su;cient to cruise on through the night.
Piccard and Borschberg plan test ;ights this autumn and hope to achieve a 36-hour ;ight.
;e power statistics are interesting. ;e 64-meter (208-foot) wingspan, along with the horizontal stabilizer, houses 200 square meters of PV cells. At 12 percent e;ciency, they produce
about 24 k W. Half of that power drives the motors in cruise. ;is means that with more than six
hours of bright sun, the array can put about 72 kilowa;-hours into charging the 400-kg lithium
polymer ba;eries ; just enough to drive the motors for 18 hours of low sun and darkness.
If it works, the team will build a larger version capable of four-day ;ights and will plan a round-the-world trip in about ;ve stages. ; SETH MASIA