Solar Energy News for Thursday, April 8

Posted by Daniel Kulpinski

Apr 8, 2010 2:02:00 AM

Solar Energy Plane Passes First Test

The Solar Impulse aircraft, a pioneering Swiss bid to fly around the world on solar energy, successfully completed its first test flight in western Switzerland on Wednesday. It flew for 87 minutes propelled by four, 10-horsepower electric motors, which get their energy from 12,000 solar cells. Pioneering around-the-world balloonist Bertrand Piccard founded the project. The team plans to undertake the world tour in five stages by 2013.

* is a proud sponsor of the Solar Impulse - cell 10558

MassMutual Adding Solar Power to Its Headquarters

Life insurance giant MassMutual will install 500 solar panels on the roof of its Springfield, Mass., headquarters beginning this month. According to the Boston Globe, the project will include both solar photovoltaic panels and solar thermal panels, and is expected to generate roughly 130,000 kilowatt hours a year, or enough to power between 17 and 26 average Massachusetts homes. By installing solar panels, MassMutual will save about $100,000 per year in energy costs.

JA Solar, Solarfun Power Are Solar Winners

Shares of JA Solar shot higher Wednesday after the Chinese company said it exceeded production forecasts during the first quarter. Five solar companies had returns of 6 percent or greater yesterday, including JA Solar, Solarfun Power, Canadian Solar, ReneSola, China Sunergy and Suntech Power, according to JA Solar's upwards revision on shipments bolstered the old Street thesis that the low-cost Chinese providers would be the biggest beneficiaries of lower feed-in tariffs in Europe. opined that high-cost Chinese player Suntech's big day could reflect a general optimism on short-term solar demand that was gaining an edge over the recent deterioration in solar shares.

U.S. Military Seeks to Use More Biofuels, Solar Power in Hawaii

The Boston Herald reports the Navy wants to increase up to sevenfold the state’s solar power output as part of a military-wide effort in Hawaii to reduce its dependency on foreign fossil fuels. About 160 people from 61 companies attended a forum this week at Marine Corps Base Hawaii to discuss the effort. Concurrently, a biofuels gathering at the base focused on growing renewable energy crops for Navy fuel drew 250 people and about 100 companies. Hawaii is the most oil-dependent state in the nation, getting 90 percent of its fuel from overseas nations.

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