Market Overview:

Solar Powered UAV industry Size is expected to reach USD 2.142 Billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 11.8% during 2020-2030.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones are autonomous aircraft that are remotely controlled from the ground or through onboard computers. Standard UAVs are accessible in numerous sizes. Whereas the large-sized ones, which are utilized for tactical missions, are powered by internal combustion engines, smaller ones are chiefly battery-powered by electric motors. However, since the last decade, the arrival of latest technologies has led to the advent of battery-powered UAVs by photovoltaic cells, hydrogen fuel cells, and hybrid-electric propulsion engines. Solar-powered UAV platforms use photovoltaic panels to soak up energy from the sun and convert it into electricity to thrust their engines.

Among their two applications, military & defence accounts for the larger market share, attributable to the employment of solar-powered UAVs in search and rescue operations, pollution observance, security, disaster management, attack missions, and communications applications. The civil & commercial segment is expected to grow at a faster rate, attributable to the use in skilled aerial photography and surveillance, agriculture, information assortment, recreation and hobby, motion photos filmmaking, journalism, law enforcement, scientific research, conservation, anti-poaching activity, mineral, oil and gas production and exploration, disaster relief, archaeology, traveller transport, and payload transport.

With the rapid advancements in technology, many new types of drones are being developed, such as electric drones. These drones also provide effective military surveillance. Along with technological advancements, these drones are becoming smaller, lighter, more efficient, and cheaper.

The use of Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell system in the solar-powered UAV enables it with an uninterrupted flight capability, for over six months. The Helios prototype was one amongst the earliest solar-powered UAVs (developed by AeroVironment in 1999) that used PEM-based fuel system, with funding from the NASA. Similarly, in 2015, it was reported that Facebook completed the prototyping of Aquila, a solar-powered UAV, which can fly over 11 miles above ground level and provide internet connectivity to regions that lack satellite-based networks.

Although, there have been demonstration flights using solar energy, the concept of solar-powered UAV would require high R&D investments and a large number of solar panels or cells to fly for longer durations. Therefore, it is expected that the market would attract high investments during the forecast period.


Key players:

Thales Group (France), AeroVironment Inc (US), Silent Falcon UAS Technologies (US), Facebook Inc (US), Sunlight Photonics Inc (US), Airbus SE (France), Sunbirds SAS (France), BAE Systems Plc (US), Bye Aerospace Inc (US), The Boeing Co (US), Barnard Microsystems Ltd (UK), Ocean Aero (US)

Market segmentation:

The report also provides a forecast, focusing on the market opportunities for the next five years for each region. The scope of the study segments the global Solar Powered UAVs market by its application, type, and region.

By Application, Civil & Commercial, Military & Defense, By Type, Fixed Wing UAV, Multiple Rotor UAV, By Regions, America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Rest of the World


Regional Analysis:


This study provides an overview of the global Solar Powered UAV industry, tracking three market segments across four geographic regions. The report studies key players, providing a five-year annual trend analysis that highlights market size, volume and share for North America, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC) and Rest of the World (ROW).


Based on region, the global solar-powered UAV market gets fragmented into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. In the U.S., solar-powered UAVs are in majorly used for military functions. Besides, major nations in North America, such as Canada, Mexico, and Brazil, are increasing their solar-powered UAV investments. The U.S. has been dominating this market, owing to the high investments by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), along with the Department of Defense (DoD).

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