Solar Impulse pilots awarded Switzerland's World Solar Prize

The Swiss pilots behind the record-breaking Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) around-the-world flight have been recognized for their efforts by the Swiss Solar Agency, which has awarded the pair the World Solar Prize for attracting "unmatched international attention" to renewable energy.

The award is decided every year at the OLMA agricultural fair in St Gallen, and is one of 14 Swiss Solar Awards handed out annually.

However, the World Solar Prize is a rare gong, last awarded in 2005 to British architect Norman Foster. But having achieved their goal of circumnavigating the globe using only the power of the sun, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg were duly in receipt of the resurrected prize, with organizers citing the project’s unique and pioneering approach towards raising solar’s profile internationally.

"Solar Impulse 2 sparked unique, unmatched international attention for renewable energies, solar energy and clean technology," said the Swiss Solar Agency.

The Si2 journey began in March in 2015 and, despite a couple of setbacks and delays, saw the pair fulfil their dream to circumnavigate the globe without fuel on July 26, when the aircraft touched down in Abu Dhabi.

The pilots’ earlier work on developing such an aircraft earned them the Swiss and European solar awards in 2010, when the Solar Impulse project first began to garner wider attention and acclaim.