Today on Planet 100: Top 5 Solar Powered Oddities (Video)
Photovoltaic panels, which harness the rays of the sun to produce electricity, are common on satellites, green homes, and the concept cars built by engineering students. Increasingly, however, solar power is driving a range of gadgets, vehicles, and structures formerly reliant on traditional energy sources.Recently, tents, footballs, mailboxes, and much more have received the solar treatment.
But these small items can't compare to the wild applications that test the limits of solar power technology. In this episode, Planet 100 counted the top five solar-powered oddities.
5. Solar Powered Popemobile
Pope Benedict XVI is interested in replacing his gas-powered Popemobile with one that gets its energy from the sun.
Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, who runs the Vatican City state, said that trading his bullet-proof Mercedes Benz for a solar powered car would be a demonstration, a sign of the Pope's ecological attention. Now all that's required is for someone to build it.
Read more: The Pope Wants a Solar-Powered Popemobile
4. Solar Powered Plane
After seven years of research and development, the world's first solar powered plane celebrated its inaugural flight earlier this year.
Solar Impulse, a prototype of an airplane designed to fly around the world using only solar power, took flight in the Swiss countryside. Powered by 12,000 solar cells, the plane flew for 87 minutes to an altitude of nearly 4,000 feet.
Solar Powered Airplane Flies for 26 Hours Straight
Zephyr Solar Plane Lands After Over 2 Weeks (!!!) in the Air, Setting New World Record
Sunseeker II Solar Airplane to Fly Over Europe this Spring
Best Video You'll See Today: Solar Plane Crossing the Alps
3. Solar Powered Apartments
Live the high life in a high rise where you can share utility costs with the sun. Solar-powered apartments are at number three in our Top 5 Solar Powered Oddities.
The photovoltaic facade of the Berlin Twin Towers apartment block covers 426 square meters of the 70 meter high southern face to produce around 25.000 kWh of solar-generated electricity a year, feeding back into the grid and reducing the operating costs charged to residents.
2. Solar Powered Tacos
A Swiss inventor harnesses the energy of the sun to bring us the solar powered taco.
While many street food vendors rely on charcoal or natural gas to heat their grills, this taco stand in Mexico is taking a stand on fossil fuels and letting the sun cook the food instead. The result? A taco that's good for planet, but not necessarily for your waistline.
Read more: Solar-Powered Tacos Hit Mexico (Video)
1. Solar Powered Wheelchair
In at number one, a disabled man has embarked on a record breaking journey across the United Arab Emirates in a solar powered wheel chair.
Inventor Haidar Taleb who was diagnosed with polio at age four designed the solar powered wheel chair with funding from Masdar the UAE's leading renewable energy company. Taleb, already a Guinness Record holder, is using the journey to raise awareness of disability and sustainability.