Tag archives for solar

You’ve probably seen or heard something about solar roadways, or as one promotional video puts it, “solar freakin’ roadways!” The bold idea to turn roads into solar generation infrastructure has captured the imagination of millions in recent weeks. The concept is an example of the fascinating advancements in solar energy technology that are nudging our…

The Obama administration’s proposed new rules on power plant carbon emissions have been cause for celebration among U.S. climate-change activists, many of whom believe the policy sets the stage for a surge in clean energy and energy efficiency investment. (See related story: “Four Key Takeaways from EPA’s New Rules for Power Plants.”) Greentech Media’s Stephen…

Zero percent: That’s the U.S. clean energy investment growth rate over the past five years, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. It might be a distressing sign in the face of the climate-change challenge, but backers of the Obama administration’s new emissions proposals believe the regulations could spur a turnaround—and there are signs that China,…

Working in various areas of Southern Africa, we have met incredible people. One of them is Lloyd Maanyina, the star of our short film, Amazing Grace, which recently won an award at the D.C. Environmental Film Festival. Lloyd is a Zambian man living in the village of Livingstone. He used to be a charcoal burner…

Late Monday night, the Parks Commission in the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut voted to approve the placement of a solar-panel array atop an old, disused landfill. The project, which will consist of approximately 9,000 solar panels and a small fuel-cell facility, is expected to bring the city $7 million over 20 years in lease payments from UIL…

Thanks to a record year in 2013, the solar industry installed more photovoltaic power over a period of 18 months than it did in the preceding 30 years. It’s a startling fact, and it captures the flavor of a report published on Wednesday by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research that details…

Last year President Obama launched Power Africa, an initiative to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than two-thirds of the population is without electricity.  In a parallel move, the House Foreign Affairs Committee leadership introduced the Electrify Africa Act to encourage access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.  Since then, there has been…

Maybe the electric utilities are right, for a change. Maybe net-metering—the ability to run your kilowatt-hour meter backwards, with solar panels on your roof or a windmill in your backyard–is not the best policy for America, or for Americans. (See related, “As Solar Power Grows, Dispute Flares Over U.S. Utility Bills.”) But the utilities’ populist…

Conventional wisdom says that if you put solar panels on your roof in the Northern Hemisphere, you should point them within 30 degrees of true south to generate the most energy in the course of a year. But a new study by Pecan Street Research Institute, an Austin, Texas-based research and development organization, suggests that…

Our recent story on a net-zero town hall in Upstate New York prompted a question about what impact snow might have on the solar panels that are installed, at a slight angle, on the building’s flat roof. This is a darn good question – and it turns out the scientists at Michigan Technological University’s Keweenaw Research Center…

­­In northern New Mexico the sun shines nearly every day of the year. If solar energy is going to be viable anywhere, it will be here—and a small electric cooperative in historic Taos is taking advantage of it. In addition to supporting new solar projects in its service area, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative is offering…

By John Perlin Many people believe that solar energy is a twentieth century phenomenon, untried and untested. But I discovered through writing my new book Let It Shine: The 6000-Year Story of Solar Energy that houses have been designed since Neolithic times to scoop up sunlight in winter; that over the last three thousand years people have used solar concentrators…

In this installment of Digital Diversity, Gwen Kidera – Project Associate at S3IDF (Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund) – explains how their non-profit organisation provides underserved communities with Integrated Energy Centre carts (IECs) equipped with reliable solar powered lamps and mobile charging stations. Access to light and mobile technology improves the quality of life…

  Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s now famous comment, “Never let a serious crisis to go to waste,” could not have been more true of Hurricane Sandy, which was a harbinger of the costly destructive power of climate change.  Sandy made clear that willful ignorance of climate science and inaction is simply…

For several years running, French engineering students from two neighboring Loire Valley schools, Polytech Nantes and La Joliverie, have shared engineering and effort to build rocket-shaped vehicles that captured top prizes at Shell Eco-marathon Europe fuel efficiency race. But the students began to feel there was something lacking in their cars’ perennially award-winning profile. “It…

Zack Lapetina of Purdue University explains how the Purdue Solar Racing team uses high-efficiency photovoltaic panels, and then adds intensifiers to increase the amount of sunlight the cars capture for energy in Shell Eco-marathon Americas student design competition. You can also read their blog about their journey here: Lighter and Sleeker for This Year’s Race.…

Solar energy continues to grow in the United States, but its relative unpredictability remains a hurdle in deploying it on the grid. Now a research team is working to create detailed 36-hour forecasts of incoming energy from the sun. The three-year effort, led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), is funded by a…

  In my recent post, “The Limited Vision of the Pro-Nuclear Energy Argument,” one of the commenters wrote: “it is a fact that only carbon-based energy and nuclear have a high enough energy density to meet our world’s demands. None of the renewables come close.” I responded, “It is far from ‘fact’ that only carbon-based…

Italy’s attempt to drive growth in its renewables sector has given rise to a new line of business for the Mafia, and the government is trying to crack down, according to a fascinating report in The Washington Post. Italy, along with many other countries in Europe, has been ramping up the development of renewable energy…

As China selects its new leadership this week, jobs, energy, and international relations will be very much on the minds of the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party.  Over the past decade China has transformed its economy into the leading manufacturing power in the clean energy sector.  This is a tremendous achievement, and one that…

Oregon Eco-Winery Goes Beyond LEED

In 2002, more than a dozen structures and countless trees were scorched in the course of the Biscuit Fire, which took down roughly 500,000 acres in southern Oregon. Now a Dayton-area winery with a history of green innovation — Stoller Family Estate — has put a number of those trees to use in its new tasting room, along with…

Some of the people who could shape the energy future have a maddening aversion to playing favorites. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the U.S. presidential race, where President Barack Obama endorses “all of the above” energy strategy, the same approach, word-for-word, touted by the opposition Republican party. The GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney,…

When the reigning Super Bowl champions kick off the first game of the season Wednesday against the Dallas Cowboys, they’ll do it under a new solar ring around the top of MetLife Stadium, lit up in New York Giants blue. The NFL’s biggest stadium, which is also home to the New York Jets, is debuting…

Buildings designed by Frank Gehry tend to function both as city landmarks and tourist attractions, and they certainly don’t come cheap. His works, which have been cited as among the most important works of contemporary architecture by World Architecture Survey, include include the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, constructed at a cost of $100 million, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, which came in…

Looking for signs that renewable energy is gaining real traction? We present IKEA. Back in the day, every single solar installation from the purveyor of cheap and cheerful home furnishings was news. Now, IKEA solarizing a store is as common as, well, a birch veneer bookshelf. That’s got to be a sign of progress. Already this month, the…