Hurray for this 54-year-old Swiss psychiatrist and balloonist baby boomer. He flew the first intercontinental flight using a solar-powered aircraft. A few notes:
- The aircraft doesn't use a drop of fuel.
- The motors charges huge lithium polymer batteries all day, which allows the aircraft to continue flying after dark.
- The goal isn't to use solar power for normal airplanes but to demonstrate that new technologies, using just solar energy without fuel, can do astounding things. If we can do it "in the air, of course everybody can do it on the ground.”
- Here are a some videos about this landmark solar-powered flight.
Chicago is getting in on the solar power act, big time. Willis Tower (used to be Sears Tower) is being outfitted with solar panels to generate power from Chicago's fabulous sunshine. Did you know we got at least some sun on 320 days of the year? (This city is like Acapulco compared to the dismally cloudy east side of Cleveland where I lived with miserable lake-effect weather for a few decades.)
Anyway, the solar power generated by the panels will "reduce heat gain, and therefore cooling costs" in the giant structure. What's not to love about that?
Do you ever feel guilty about how much energy you use when you run your air conditioning 24/7 to battle the incredible heat we've been getting lately? I worry that I'm contributing to global warming and to polar bears starving to death in the arctic---not kidding, they really are. I don't know about you, but as a baby boomer female, I am always overheated and can't sleep well unless it's under 70 degrees in my apartment. If I could somehow use solar power to help me cool off, I'd feel a lot better.
As baby boomer homeowners of all economic levels continue to feel the pinch of the incessantly rising cost of living, it's a great time to consider using solar power for everything you can. Here are some ideas from a CBS Chicago story on solar powered options for your home.
Maybe with the wonder of this trans-continental solar-powered flight, more engineers and inventors in Chicago and elsewhere will become believers and start thinking about what other ways we can use solar power. It's a safe and sane way to reduce energy consumption while improving our lives and being kinder to mother earth.
Could you guys maybe start by inventing a solar-powered window air conditioner?