For several months, millions of Americans, and millions of others from around the world, watched and cheered as this majestic 208-foot-wide, carbon fiber solar plane – with the wingspan of a Boeing 747 and the weight of a Volkswagen – glided gracefully across the sky.
From the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to the Statue of Liberty in New York, Solar Impulse traveled over 3,500 miles and straight into history. Now, the next challenge is to fly around the world in 2015.Solar Impulse is the first airplane ever to fly day and night without fuel or polluting emissions, and it’s also the first solar airplane to fly internationally. With its 12,000 silicon solar cells, Solar Impulse is also equipped with state-of-the-art batteries that store power, allowing it to fly around-the-clock – something which has never been done before.
And by the way, those high-efficiency silicon solar cells were designed, developed and manufactured by one of there member companies, SunPower, which is headquartered in San Jose, California.
Today, solar is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States – providing good paying jobs for nearly 120,000 Americans at more than 5,600 companies, many of them small businesses spread all across the country. In fact, solar job growth has doubled in the past three years alone. There is now more than 8,500 MW of cumulative solar electric capacity in the United States – enough to power more than 1.3 million American homes.
Recently, SEIA released its first quarter market report, and the results were pretty extraordinary:
- From January through March of this year, solar accounted for 48 percent of all new electric capacity installed in the U.S.
- The residential solar market grew by 53 percent over the same quarter in 2012.
- The solar utility market more than doubled, year-over-year, as 24 large solar projects were completed.
- And presently more than 30 utility-scale, clean energy projects are under construction, putting thousands of American electricians, steelworkers and laborers to work.
source: Solar Energy Industries Association