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The Solar Impulse, a solar-powered airplane made a successful 87-minute test flight last week.  The plane’s wings are covered by 11,628 solar cells that power four electric motors and lithium batteries that store the solar energy.

Don’t plan on booking a flight anytime soon-because the batteries weigh so much, the body of the plane must be very lightweight.  The prototype was big enough for only one pilot, and the big hope is to create a plane that can accommodate two pilots.  As with electric cars, the issue of battery storage capacity is the linchpin for solar-powered aviation to-if you will–take off.

You can’t fly the plane, but you can watch a short BBC video of it taking off.

–Erica Etelson

Posted by Danny Kennedy

Danny Kennedy co-founded Sungevity and now serves as strategic advisor. He is an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues. He is the author of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy - and Planet - from Dirty Energy (2012), a book that has been described as the clean energy manifesto for the next greatest generation.