In 1447, Leonardo Da Vinci predicted the world would one day experience a solar industrialization. While we still rely heavily on gas, fossil fuels, and coal for energy today, solar energy is becoming more prevalent. I just read an interesting article in Discovery Magazine about a solar-powered plane that flew for twenty-six consecutive hours. The plane, covered by 12,000 solar cells, touched down in Switzerland this morning after flying through the night on battery reserves. Betrand Piccard, the aircraft’s owner, now has his sights on flying the solar plane around the Globe. Should the venture prove successful, the plane may revolutionize air travel in coming decades.
The article sparked my interest to learn more about solar energy. Contrary to popular belief, solar energy consists of more than capturing heat from the sun’s rays. Wind, biomass, and hydropower are all forms of solar energy, as the heat from the sun drives global wind, rain, and weather patterns.
Solar energy has tremendous potential. Not only will solar energy decrease civilization’s dependence on unsustainable energy forms, it can overwhelmingly exceed energy demands throughout the globe. Currently, the earth receives more energy from the sun in just one hour than the world uses in a whole year. According to alternate-energy-sources.com, if the Australians captured just 15% of the solar energy on their continent, their energy supply would surpass demand by 2000%.
Though solar energy currently requires substantial financial investments, expect to see more solar panels in the coming years. Shell Oil predicts solar energy will provide 50% of the Earth’s energy by 2040. I’m excited to see how solar energy will transform every-day life in years to come. Who knows, maybe I’ll even fly on a sun-powered airplane one day!