The Impact of the Solar Impulse flight Published Date: 03 Aug 2016

Solar Impulse flight

Last week the world watched as the Solar Impulse 2 landed in Abu Dhabi, marking the completion of the first ever round-the-world flight by a solar-powered airplane.

Setting a number of new records, the flight was a monumental achievement for the UAE.  It showed the commitment of the UAE government to the use of diversified energy sources (in addition to solar, the UAE has oil, gas and nuclear power plants) and its support of green energy. 

The UAE is an important member of The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the 6th largest oil-exporting country in the world.  The success of the Solar Impulse flight signifies a disruptive innovation that also makes the UAE a leader in the solar energy sphere. 

The government recognises the importance of strategic planning and the need to be ready for the years after oil.  The UAE has invested heavily in the research and development of green energy initiatives and, along with other pioneering achievements such as Masdar City, the world’s first eco city and the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority’s new headquarters becoming the largest government building in the world to receive a Platinum Rating for green buildings, the Solar Impulse flight is testament to its commitment to sustainable energy.  The completion of this project will no doubt result in increased research and development into alternative energy sources, which in turn will mean further technological advancements for the UAE.

As the energy industry watched the flight of the Solar Impulse with interest, so too did the aviation industry.  A future of flights operating by the power of the sun is now a very real vision and one which would change the aviation industry in its entirety.  As the world’s energy requirements and uses change, so too will the energy market and all the industries dependent on it.  This in turn will mean changes for the legal market in order to keep up with developments – new legislation will need to be drafted and regulatory changes made.

The Solar Impulse flight is much more than just the first ever round-the-world flight by a solar-powered airplane.  It signifies change – for the UAE, for the future and for our planet.


By Ali Al Hashimi