Late last night the Solar Impulse successfully completed the world’s first solar-powered intercontinental flight! After taking off from Spain, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg piloted their Solar Impulse airplane over 515 miles to their destination in Rabat, Morocco. “This flight marks a new stage in the history of the project because we have reached another continent. Furthermore, after almost 20 hours of flight, we landed with a full set of batteries. This is extraordinary as it represents an increase in confidence in new technologies,” said André Borschberg as the Solar Impulse landed on the runway.
Under the High Patronage of King Mohammed VI and upon invitation of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen), the Solar Impulse airplane took off from Madrid-Barajas airport in Spain, which followed the previously scheduled flight plan over the Gibraltar Strait and the Mediterranean. The aircraft flew in the direction of the city of Seville towards the Strait of Gibraltar, flying over the Mediterranean Sea at an altitude of 27,000 feet and finally arriving in the Moroccan Capital. “Aside from technical and political reasons behind the decision to fly to Morocco, simply the flight over the Gibraltar straight was a magical moment and represents one of the highlight of my carrier of aeronaut.” Said joyfully Bertrand Piccard as he set his feet on the runway.
Following the successful flight, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy will host the Solar Impulse team over a week to raise awareness about solar energy’s potential. If weather permits the team will then head over to Ouarzazate City where the first solar complex is being developed. “We are delighted to host this world premiere in Morocco and are very pleased with the presence of the overall Solar Impulse impressive team. We are also very thankful to each partner that could make this possible” said Masen’s President, Mr. Mustapha Bakkoury.
The thermo-solar plant has a capacity of 160 megawatts and is part of Morocco’s energy plan whose goal is to build, by 2020, five solar parks with the capacity of 2,000 megawatts, reducing CO2 emission of 3.7 million tons. The Solar Impulse team also supports this pioneering project which is in line with its own message and its philosophy of renewable energies.