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

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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