Solar powered plane to land in India in early March

  • Manu P Toms, Hindustan Times, Bangalore
  • Updated: Feb 24, 2015 22:31 IST

Solar Impulse – the solar powered plane on its maiden round-the-world journey “without using a drop of fuel” will come to India and will stop over in Ahmedabad and Varanasi early March. This project is aimed at demonstrating “what solar power can make possible for the human race,” according to ABB, the Swiss-based global power equipment major which is the technology partner of Solar Impulse project.

“It is an experimental aircraft. Its exact date of arrival depends on factors such as weather,” said Bazmi Husain, managing director, ABB India. Solar aviation experiments date back to 1970s and there have been various attempts ever since. However, Solar Impulse 2, a single-seater plane which is the result of a collaborative effort of corporations such as Solway, Omega, Schindler and ABB, is the first flight around the world solely powered by solar power. The flight is expected to take off from Abudabi on March 1 and finish world tour in five months.

Does the choice of stopovers in India – Ahmedabad and Varanasi – anything to do with Prime MinisterNarendra Modi, himself a great votary of solar power who launched an ambitious plan of 100,000 MW solar capacity by 2022, as one is the capital of his home state and the other is his Lok Sabha constituency? Husain dismissed such suggestions and said the routes were planned much in advance. “First of all, this planning was in the making for well over a year.

Many of these things were not known at that time. Strange as it may seem, it is actually a coincidence. But we are happy about the coincidence,” Husain told HT.

He said India is chosen as part of the itinerary for the significance of solar in the country’s quest for energy independence. “We have a lot of sun. India probably has the biggest opportunity of making solar energy key element of energy strategy,” he said.

ABB, the market leader of solar inverters in the country, crossed cumulative sale of 1 GW with the roll out an order to Tata Power Solar’s project for Kiran Energy.

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