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Official: Solar Plane to Help Energy Use on Ground

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The Solar Impulse project aims to fly an aircraft around the world using only solar energy.  (credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

The Solar Impulse project aims to fly an aircraft around the world using only solar energy. (credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

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CHANTILLY, Va. — The nation’s energy secretary says a solar-powered plane that landed outside Washington early Sunday will one day offer a payoff for people on the ground.

The spindly one-man craft called Solar Impulse has been flying cross-country in short hops as part of a 13-year privately funded European project. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz praised the effort at a news conference Monday at Dulles International airport where the plane landed.

He said the plane’s cutting-edge technology will improve energy use in cars and buildings by leading to better solar cells and batteries, electric motors, lightweight material and general efficiencies.

The plane, which left St. Louis on Friday, will finish its test flight across America later this month when it files to New York.

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