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Alta Devices’ new HALE solar product could help flying phone towers take off

We first covered California-based Alta Devices’ solar cells being used on UAVs in 2013, when they enabled a prototype solar-powered version of AeroVironment’s small Puma AE to stay aloft for over nine hours. Now looking to give high altitude long endurance (HALE) UAVs the ability to stay in the air for much, much longer – even years at a time – the company has just released its Anylight Solar for HALE product.

Built around Alta Devices’ single junction gallium-arsenide solar cells, which boast world-record efficiency of 29.1 percent, combined with specialized packaging to withstand the conditions found at altitudes of 20 km (60,000 ft) for extended periods, Anylight Solar for HALE is intended for airplanes, airships, and/or balloons flying at such altitudes.

HALE solar

The company says the specialized packaging it developed for the product is lightweight and boasts a smooth, aerodynamic surface, while providing protection from the extreme UV radiation, ozone and temperatures found at high altitudes. Weight is obviously an important factor for aircraft that need to stay aloft for extended periods, yet still be able to carry their payload and batteries to keep them operating through the night.

 

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