SolarButterfly Introduction

Interview with Louis Palmer

How did you have this idea of a solar powered butterfly?

When I was a child, 40 years ago, our teacher already told us about global warming and its consequences. I always thought that our society and our leaders will do something about it. Today I am not only disappointed, but also concerned. So I decided to do something.

How do you want to contribute to stop global warming?

Cllimate change is a problem that concerns all of us. Everyone of us has a choice of either being part of the problem, or part of the solution. The whole world is full of solutions.  It’s crazy that we have money for all kinds of things on this planet, but the solutions to stop global warming simply don’t prevail. We want to give  attention to positive examples and raise awareness for all kind of solutions. They need a breakthrough. 

Why a butterfly?

If we want to create attention for a certain project, we need the press. For that, we must create events around them. We are planning to visit more than 1000 projects in 4 years on 6 continents, and create events with the local people, schools, political leaders and the press. If we want to make it interesting, we need something that draws attention, something unique. Best would be a striking vehicle. So I decided to build a huge butterfly which is at the same time a role model for sustainable living. And of course, its wings will be covered with very efficient solar cells, so that it can drive with 100% solar energy. 

What's the analogy with the butterfly?

A butterfly starts his life as a caterpillar. Quite ugly. That’s us, our society: We are eating up everything on the ground like petrol, coal and gas. But the caterpillar can do the unthinkable, it can transform itself into something beautiful that becomes independent from the ground. What the caterpillar can do, we human beings can do, too!

Have you ever done something similar?

Yes of course! In 2007-2008 I did the first world circumnavigation with a solar powered vehicle, the so called “Solartaxi”, There I learned: If you take a striking vehicle and if you have a positive message, then you will get lots of attention for your mission. With the solartaxi we reached the attention of 770 million people worldwide. 

Can anyone join on this tour?

Yes! We are looking for people who want to join us on our tour around Switzerland, around Europe or around the different continents. If someone has at least 4 weeks of time to join, just let us know and click here

Will you join the tour, too?

Only in Switzerland and certain parts in Europe. I see my part in the organisation of the tour and the events, I will run our headquarter in Lucerne, Switzerland. I rather leave the journey to motivated people who are looking for an experience of a lifetime. There are plenty of people out there who are courageous, skilled and highly motivated. 

Which route are you planning to take?

After our start in Berne on the 23d of May 2022,  we are going to travel around Switzerland and visit all 26 cantons during 3 weeks. In case anything happens, we are not far from our workshop. Then we will travel around Europe, visiting almost every capital city, until end of October. Next winter, we will stay in Switzerland, preparing the toour across North and South America. For me it’s important that we cover a minimum amount of kilometers by boat. Also we are going to organize an electric vehicle on every continent, so that we only ship the SolarButterfly from one continent to another. 

What about the winter? Do you have enough energy?

We will always travel in the spring, summer or autumn months. This is easy… when there is winter in the North, there is summer in the South.