Photovoltaic solar cell and module developer Sunlight Photonics Inc. has introduced what it says is the first commercially available, solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the SUNLINK-5.
The SUNLINK-5 is a small, lightweight UAV for commercial and civil applications in the low- to medium-altitude range – allowing it to perform day-long missions, says the company.
The vehicle, primarily powered – but capable of operating exclusively – by solar, is made of composite materials with integrated solar cells, enabling collection of solar energy. The complete system includes the autopilot, ground control station and associated software.
The SUNLINK-5 is capable of carrying up to 11 pounds of payload and providing around 100 W of electrical power. It can operate in excess of eight hours and at altitudes of up to 10,000 feet.
Sunlight Photonics notes the durability of the vehicle, able to withstand multiple launches and landings, high winds, heavy turbulence, and demanding applications.