In pictures: 11 eye-catching solar tech projects

From the world's largest solar furnace to a still that turns salt water into drinking water, the range of devices that harness the sun's energy is breathtaking. Here are some of our favourites

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Up, up and away The Solar Impulse, a solar-powered plane that can fly both day and night using power stored in its lithium-ion batteries, made its maiden voyage in 2009, traveling 1,150 feet at an altitude of just over 3 feet. It has since completed much farther (and higher) flights, has flown overnight, internationally and even intercontinentally.

The plane harnesses the sun's energy using 11,628 photovoltaic cells. Its 208-foot wingspan is roughly that of a jumbo jet, but it weighs only as much as a car. It has a cruising speed of 44 mph and carries one person at a time.

The Solar Impulse recently completed a journey across the U.S. in stages, and it's set to fly around the world in 2015.

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In pictures: 11 eye-catching solar tech projects

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