World’s first solar balloon wows pupils

  • We visit a local primary school with the Bristol Energy solar balloon to teach pupils about the power of the sun.

We took the Bristol Energy solar balloon to Hannah More Primary School for a very sunny lesson in solar energy.

The pilot and the Bristol Energy team showed an excited group of 10 and 11 year olds how the technology behind the solar balloon works - which is actually very simple:

The balloon is made from a light weight fabric, half of which is black, the other silver. The black side of the balloon attracts heat from the sun to make the air inside the balloon much hotter than the ambient temperature.

The silver side then prevents that heat from escaping. It is also fitted with propane burners, just in case the sun disappears mid-flight, which is what makes it a solar-hybrid. It’s the kind of technology that gets people, young and old, excited about renewable energy. And I think we inspired some future scientists too:

Cameron, aged 11, said: “I never knew the sun could make a hot air balloon fly... It’s pretty cool! And really great to see it so close up. I know green energy is much better for our planet too.”

At Bristol Energy, we’re passionate about bringing renewable technology to more of our customers, to create a more sustainable future. With My Green Plus you get 100% green electricity, plus the knowledge that we will reinvest our profits back into local Bristol communities.

Simon Proctor, our origination manager, is responsible for buying green energy from renewable generators across the country. He said: “We have incredibly powerful natural resources that can heat our homes, power our cars, and fly hot air balloons too! It’s now crucial that we support renewable energy, so we can create a sustainable energy future for the next generation.

Dan Schoner, a teacher at Hannah More primary school, said: “It’s not something that the children at this school would ever get to see otherwise – it’s been a real once in a lifetime experience, and a fantastic way to learn about solar energy.”

The Bristol Energy Solar Balloon will be a key feature at this year’s Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. Now in its 39th year, the Fiesta has become one of Europe's largest annual hot air balloon festivals, attracting over half a million locals and visitors alike.

Fancy winning a trip in the solar balloon during this year’s fiesta? Enter our competition today!