The sun’s rays bathe our planet with vast amounts of energy – approximately 885 million terawatt hours every year. At Airbus, we work to harvest this alternative renewable energy source to power cleaner and high-endurance stratospheric flight.
Taking unmanned aerial vehicles into the stratosphere
Today, Airbus is advancing solar cell technology to enable unmanned aerial vehicles to stay aloft in the stratosphere for extended periods – using only sunlight as energy.
Our work in solar flight is focused on:
- Developing advanced photovoltaic solar panels that are lighter, more flexible and capable of capturing more energy per m2 of surface,
- Converting captured solar energy into electrical energy to power an electric-propulsion system and other onboard equipment,
- Harnessing solar energy into a rechargeable energy storage system, thereby enabling the aircraft to fly at night with unlimited autonomy.
Our flagship programme, Zephyr, is a high-altitude pseudo-satellite that is powered exclusively by solar power.
Discover Zero Emission at Airbus