The award-winning Sunhope project by Joseph Cory and aerospace engineer Dr. Pini Gurfil is a breakthrough low-cost easily-deployable system that collects solar energy with a minuscule environmental footprint.
Traditional solar systems require vast resources: high initial investments, large land requirements, and a complicated installation process. Sunhope avoids these barriers by constructing "low-cost photovoltaic arrays designed for vertical clearance rather than horizontal sprawl." Such a design has the potential to bring power to deserts, isolated islands, heavily forested landscapes and most importantly disaster and emergency situations thanks to their fast deployment and the fact that they can be delivered via air.
A 10 ft Sunhope balloon costs about $4,000 compared to the $10,000 it would cost for a solar field producing the same amount of energy.