Field patrols will soon have almost weightless solar blankets as well. These will be able to capture a once unthinkable 35pc of the sun's light as energy with thin membranes, a spin-off from technology used in satellites.
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Solar projects in the desert, geothermal power in the mountains and wind energy off the East Coast were cited as examples of progress from top U.S. officials and industry leaders during a green energy conference on Tuesday in Las Vegas.
SEIA and a coalition of renewable and environmental supporters are running an ad in the Las Vegas Review Journal, thanking Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and pledging to work with the Administration to promote the use of environmentally-responsible clean energy on public lands. View the ad.
California, whose green ambitions helped the solar and wind industries take root, is taking an essential next step by proposing a sharp rise in energy storage to better integrate renewable power with the rest of the grid.
Power from sun and wind fluctuates dramatically, so capturing it for later use makes the supply more predictable.
"We can't just rely on sunlight," Governor Jerry Brown told the Intersolar conference in San Francisco last month. "We've got to bottle the sunlight."
The Business Review
The cost of going solar has dropped in New York by 44 percent over the past five years, a trend that's playing out across the country.
Solar energy has become one of the fastest growing industries in the nation, according to a report by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
It was up to 14 percent cheaper to install residential and commercial solar systems last year than it was in 2011, according to the report. Prices have dropped an average of up to 7 percent per year since 1998.
In the cleantech sector, pretty much everyone knows the acronym RPS, for Renewable Portfolio Standards. Since the first RPS policy in the U.S., implemented in Iowa in the late 1990s, 30 states have passed similar policies to promote the installation of renewable energy projects and expedite penetration (overcoming the ambivalence or outright opposition of utilities) of renewable energy in electric power supply.
"For most of these states, they're looking at it for economic development and job creation," Ghassemi said, underscoring the reasons why solutions such as cost incentives and utility quotas haven't helped states like New Mexico catch up to California and New Jersey, an unlikely solar leader.
The big question for any homeowner considering installing solar power is a simple one: How quickly will the system pay for itself?
The short answer: It depends on where you live.
Residents here probably won't notice that their water and sewage treatment systems will soon be powered by fields of solar panels but a project to convert the plants is nearing completion.
New solar panels will be installed at the University of Florida by the end of November, reducing the university’s energy costs and serving as a teaching tool for professors and students.