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Solar Power Transportation In the UK 

Solar power has long been heralded as a promising alternative energy source. Its potential has been explored in various applications ranging from residential and commercial electricity generation to powering transportation. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in utilizing solar power to power transport in the United Kingdom, with several initiatives and projects being undertaken in this area. This article will explore the current state of solar power transportation in the UK, the challenges faced, and the potential for the future.

Solar Power As Renewable Energy Source

Solar power is an abundant and renewable energy source capable of generating electricity through photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electrical energy. Solar power transportation uses this energy to power vehicles directly through solar panels or indirectly through energy storage in batteries that can be used for electric cars. In the UK, solar power transportation is still a relatively new concept, but several initiatives and projects are underway to explore its potential.

Solar Impusle 2 preparing to take off on its 3rd flight from Ahmedabad to Varanasi in 2015

One of the most prominent examples of solar power transportation in the UK is the Solar Impulse project, which aims to develop solar-powered aircraft. The project began in 2003 and has already achieved several significant milestones, including the first flight of a solar-powered plane across the United States in 2013. The Solar Impulse team is currently working on the development of a new solar-powered aircraft that will be capable of circumnavigating the globe.

Buses and Cars

Another area where solar power is being explored for transportation is the development of solar-powered cars. Several universities in the UK, including Cambridge and Oxford, have been working on the development of solar-powered vehicles for several years. These vehicles use solar panels mounted on the roof and hood of the car to generate electricity, which is then used to power an electric motor. While these vehicles are still in development, they show great promise to reduce carbon emissions and increase the use of renewable energy in transportation.

Solar bus
An electric bus at Schiphol Airport that gets its power from a solar power plant

In addition to solar-powered aircraft and cars, solar power is also being explored for use in public transportation. The UK government has set a target of phasing out the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, leading to a growing interest in electric buses and trains. Solar power can charge the batteries that power these vehicles, reducing their dependence on the grid and making them more sustainable.

solar power Bluepoint car
The Belgian Bluepoint won the 2019 WOrld Solar Challenge
A solar powered electric car charger

Benefits Of Solar Transportation

Despite the potential benefits of solar power transportation, several challenges must be addressed. One of the main challenges is the limited space available for solar panels. While solar panels can be mounted on the roof of a vehicle or a building, there is a finite amount of space available, limiting the amount of electricity generated. Another challenge is the cost of solar panels, which can be expensive, especially for small-scale applications.

Despite these challenges, there is excellent potential for solar power transportation in the UK. The government has set ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy, and solar power can play an essential role in achieving these goals. Several initiatives and projects are also underway exploring the potential of solar power transportation, and these efforts will likely lead to innovations and breakthroughs in the years to come.

In conclusion, solar power transportation is still a relatively new concept in the UK, but there is growing interested and investment in this area. Solar-powered aircraft, cars, buses, and trains promise to reduce carbon emissions and increase the use of renewable energy in transportation. While challenges need to be addressed, there is excellent potential for solar power transportation to play an essential role in the UK’s transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon economy. As new technologies and innovations are developed, we will likely see a growing number of solar-powered vehicles on the roads and

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