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Can we fix it? Powering the engine of the solar revolution

Climate Week, brought to you by Kiwibank

Can we fix it? Powering the engine of the solar revolution

Solar power is changing - not just how we generate power from the Sun, but where we are setting up solar panels. And thanks to innovations like rechargeable solar batteries and falling prices for generating power, a solar revolution may be upon us.

You've probably heard about the Solar Impulse, a lightweight solar-powered plane that's about to fly across the US from west to east. It's covered in 12,000 solar cells and is only sturdy enough to withstand very mild weather and averages just 70 km/h. So while it won't be making any round-the-world flights, that isn't what it was made for – rather, its purpose is to demonstrate what is possible, and that includes a day-and-night flight without fuel, a milestone achieved in 2010.

Shed 10, the century-old historic cargo shed on Queen’s Wharf that's being refurbished for use as an events space and as Auckland's primary cruise ship terminal, is now home to the largest solar panel system of its kind in the country.

Panasonic NZ and SolarCity partnered up over a year ago to collaborate on projects throughout the South Pacific region, and have won a tender to power a new desalination plant on the Pacific island of Nauru.

The energy crisis in Tokelau is over. This week the island was freed of its dependency on fossil fuels as Mount Maunganui company PowerSmart completed a world-first solar renewable energy project, officially making Tokelau 100 percent solar powered.