Posts Tagged ‘solar powered’

22 July

Aquila, Solar Powered Internet Service Providing Aircraft


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links & note magenta)

Wow, truly, we are at the final frontier! Facebook has just announced the first successful test flight of a high-altitude solar plane to bring internet access to remote parts of the world (where 1.6 billion people reside) currently without mobile broadband network. Back in March of 2015, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook had been testing drones in the skies over UK. The Aquila drone has the wingspan of an airliner, weighs about a third as much as a car, and consumes only 5,000 watts (equivalent to 3 hairdryers or a powerful microwave ) when cruising. It was developed in Bridgwater, Somerset, by Ascenta, a designer of solar powered drones that Facebook bought in March of 2014. Facebook plans on having Aquila as a fleet of solar powered aircraft that will provide internet to people in sub-Saharan Africa and other remote regions currently without online access. Once they are fully operational, these high altitude planes will stay airborne for up to 90 days at a time and beam broadband coverage to a 60-mile wide area on the ground, availing internet to people in under-connected regions.

After months of flying scale models, the Facebook Connectivity Lab finally completed first full-scale test flight and provided much data on Aquila’s performance on autopilot, batteries, motors, radio, displays, ground station, aerodynamic handling, structural viability, and crew training. The low altitude test flight lasted for 96 minutes (more than three times the originally planned mission length).

Some of the future challenges will need to be faced are:

  1. During the winter, solar panels need to collect sufficient energy during short days to keep the batteries charged over long nights (up to 14 hours at a time).
  2. Higher energy efficiency and lower mass battery systems continue to be needed
  3. Aquila continues to be optimized
  4. Overall need to reduce the cost in order to insure that the project would be viable.

Jay Parikh, Facebook’s head of engineering and infrastructure, said in a blog: “We’re encouraged by this first successful flight, but we have a lot of work ahead of us … In our next tests, we will fly Aquila faster, higher and longer, eventually taking it above 60,000 feet.”


~have a bright and sunny day~

Any comments, suggestions, concerns regarding this post will be welcomed at

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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14 August

Open Source of Hyperloop, Composite of Shotgun-Air Hockey Table-Concorde Concept


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Please show your support for Renewable Energy by visiting-signing-sharing Renewable-FIT For Sunshine State!


Wow, have you heard about the exciting idea Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla Motors & SpaceX) has been floating recently (in the initial “Alpha” design released on Aug. 12, 2013)? It’s a solar-powered, high speed, inter-city elevated transit system, Hyperloop, that could take passengers and cars from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30-35 minutes?! Elon Musk has the vision of Hyperloop transporting people (and cars) via aluminum pods/capsules enclosed inside of steel tubes. This is what he envisioned as the ‘fifth mode’ of transportation: an alternative to boats, aircraft, automobiles, and trains.

Hyperloop pod carriage's major components (designed by Elon Musk)

Musk described the design looking like a shotgun with the tubes running side by side for most of the journey and closing the loop at either end. The tube is partially evacuated to reduce friction. The capsule or pod carriage rides on a cushion of air forced through multiple openings at the capsule’s bottom, further reducing friction. The capsules would be propelled by linear induction motors placed at intervals along the route.

Hyperloop tube (look at the solar panel on top of the tube!)









These tubes would be mounted on columns 50 to 100 yards apart and the pods or capsules inside would travel up to 760 mph.

Musk thinks the Hyperloop can avoid many of the land issues because the tube will be elevated and paralleling I-5 corridor (the direct freeway between L.A. and San Francisco) for most of its length. Farmers would access their land between the columns instead of having swaths of their land blocked by train tracks. The “Alpha” proposal estimates  the Hyperloop could be built for $6 billion with pods/capsules for passenger only version or $7.5 billion for larger pods holding both people and cars. It is designed to link cities less than 1,000 miles apart (if above 1,000 miles, the cost would be prohibitive) with high inter-city traffic, such as LA to San Francisco, NY to D.C., NY to Boston. Let’s take a look at this fifth mode of transportation, in the video below:

Some of the positive features of Hyperloop:

  • speed: four times as fast as California’s proposed train
  • lower cost: at one tenth the cost of CA’s proposed train and lower cost than a plane ride
  • safety:  safe distance between the pods would be about 5 miles, fitting 70 pods between LA and San Francisco, leaving every 30 seconds…as getting a ride on Space Mountain at Disneyland
  • comfort: less lateral acceleration than a subway ride, without turbulence or sudden movements of an airplane, therefore supersmooth
  • more convenient
  • immune to weather
  • sustainably self-powering (solar powered)
  • resistant to earthquake
  • not disruptive to those along the route

Please refer to Elon Musk’s Blog on Hyperloop.

But is Musk revealing his dream too soon?  Apparently Elon Musk is too busy building Tesla and SpaceX to be able to get to Hyperloop. So, the design of Hyperloop will become available to the world,  Open Source! The model will open up universal access, offering the opportunity for world collaboration and redistribution of the design and improvements to the design.

I cannot wait to see the realization of this design, compositing the shotgun-air hockey table-concorde into this fifth mode of transportation. The future is full of realizations of the impossible! Here We Come!

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments will be welcomed below or via (please note if you do not want your email to be shared)


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28 July

Interesting Uses Of Solar Energy


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Let’s switch our gear slightly in this post by turning our attentions toward some interesting uses of solar energy, gathered below during my recent trips:

  1. Solar Panels on Utility Poles in Orlando, FL

    Solar Panels on Utility Poles in Orlando, FL (credit: Orlando Utility Commission)

  2. Solar Powered Parking Light

    Solar Powered Parking Light (credit: Aubry L. Buzek)









3. Solar Powered Flying Butterfly, video below:

Gathered & posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments or suggestions will be welcomed below or via


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13 September

Lumos’ PowerPort Solar Carport-With Both Function and Aesthetics


Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(please click on red links below)

The treasure I’ve discovered at Solar Power International (SPI) 2012 today is from a fairly new company based in Colorado call Lumos.  It may actually be used as a carport or patio, and in some cases, even as a walkway.  With its treated cedar and pine, the whole structure presents itself with a level of warmth and comfort rarely associated with the metal-framed structure.

Below is an interview with Lumos’ latest Solarscapes product line, the PowerPort Solar Carport, a freestanding carport (which may also be used as a patio or walkway) that integrates bifacial solar panels manufactured by Sanyo into its structure. It is designed to be delivered virtually anywhere and takes only one day (12 hours) to install. The 3.42 kW structure provides not only shade and shelter, but generates enough electricity to offset a modest household’s electrical needs or the recharging of two electric vehicle.

“The PowerPort Solar Carport is an easy, attractive and functional way to maximize an investment in a solar energy system for a home or business,” comments President of Lumos, Scott Franklin. (Source: Lumos Solar)

Lumos Solar: 303-449-2394

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,

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29 August

Solar Decathlon (11)-SCI-Arc/Caltech’s CHIP (Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype) of 2011


Dear Readers,

If you are in favor of renewable,  clean, or solar energy, please sign this petition for FIT/CLEAN Program, accessible at Thank you very much. We are at a critical juncture in human history when individual effort and participation in the transition into renewable energy age is desperately needed!  Your signature will be very meaningful in helping all earthlings!  For a summary of why we need to switch to power the earth with Wind-Water-Sunlight quickly, reasons are explained by Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson at There are more than sixteen episodes of discussions on FIT (Feed-In-Tariff/CLEAN Program) available at Please feel free to read/listen to them (type in feed-in-tariff in the search box at right).

Now, let’s return to our report of Solar Decathlon of 2011.  The SCI-Arc Caltech’s CHIP (Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype) house is a net zero, solar powered home designed for LA area, that started with a platonic cube of 600 sq ft, but stretched/lengthened that gave it a N-S orientation. Then the nose of the South end descends to increase the roof’s sun exposure while in the North end of the building  lifts to create a car port beneath the building (as though the North side reaches for the sky while the South side descends toward the ground).  A unique feature of CHIP is its outsulation, such that its exterior insulation creates a continuous shell of insulation so to minimize thermal bridging through structural members and additional low cost coated skin, vinyl, wrapped around the building, providing a rainscreen that unifies the building into one form. Extending from South, East, and West faces of the building are ADA accessible ramps and terraces.  Upon entering the house, one meets the kitchen with optimal work space and appliances carefully chosen for their performance and energy use monitored by a smart meter (to optimize its energy efficiency and cost).  Another interesting feature of the CHIP house is its division of rooms based on level changes rather than compartmentalizing rooms by isolating spaces.  Furniture are made from recycled nontoxic material.   Solar array on the roof is the full generator for this project.  Now, let’s take a good look at this unique design that may change our future generations’ view of what a home should look like.—>

written and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,



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