Oshkosh Part 2: Innovation Hangar at Oshkosh AirVenture is a dry and busy place on Wednesday
Posted 27 July 2011 12:00 AM by Amy Keiter, Community Relations Manager
Torrential rains on the AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, Wisc., are making the Innovation Hangar at the show a very popular spot. The hangar is filled with spectators all clad in plastic rain slickers of every hue, trying to stay out of the pounding downpour.
Elektra One, the solar electric-powered airplane that SolarWorld is supporting here at the show, is attracting lots of interest and inquiries from Hawaii, New Mexico, and California already this morning.
A retired dairy farmer named Ron Mueller (pictured on right), 69, of Mishicot, Wisc., about an hour east of Oshkosh, came to our booth this morning and proudly announced that he’s a very satisfied SolarWorld customer. He has 9.2 kW of ground mounted solar panels along his grass airstrip, where he flies his home-built Zenith 701. He started his experience with solar in 2009 using – let’s call them “brand x” -- panels, and then he installed 20 SolarWorld Sunmodule 245 watt solar panels in 2010 and added another 20 earlier this month.
“The panels put money in my pocket,” Mueller declared. Mueller is delighted with his calculations that show the panels will pay off in about eight years. “My son is in the financial business and he tells me I’d have to find an investment paying 12 to 14% to make the same gain.”
Mueller expects to end up with a net-zero energy bill this month for the first time, now that he has the last 20 solar panels installed. The array powers his geothermal heat system for the house. Does he have plans for adding any more panels? “No. I’m sick of projects,” he told me.
As for Elektra One, late yesterday afternoon the FAA guys gave her (and her German test pilot) a thorough inspection and pronounced them both fit for flight. But we’ve just learned that the weather has definitely cancelled the planned flight of Elektra One for today. Everyone here in the Innovation Hangar is hopeful that the forecast for tomorrow improves so that she can stretch her wings.
FAA pre-flight inspection of the Elektra One solar plane sponsored by SolarWorld