Coming on the heels of the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) encouraging second-quarter industry report, the Solar Power Mid-Atlantic conference wrapped up this week to much applause. The first-ever Solar Power Mid-Atlantic drew hundreds of solar professionals from New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland to the Atlantic City Convention Center for two days of panels and talks on solar opportunities in the region.
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Calling it a win for both the economy and the environment, Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), today applauded a decision by the University of California to significantly expand its use of solar energy. As part of an ambitious plan to become carbon-neutral by 2025, university officials this week signed an agreement to purchase the electricity generated by 80 megawatts (MW) of solar – approximately 200,000 MW hours annually.
Solar energy company SolarCity Corp. is planning to add a Baltimore-area location by the end of the year. SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) announced the area location as part of an effort to open 20 new operations centers in seven states. The wave includes one other planned Maryland location, in Clarksburg.
Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ), the third-best performing solar panel maker in the past year, and the investment arm of China’s Sichuan province will create a 5 billion yuan ($810 million) fund to build solar projects. Sichuan Development Holding Co., Canadian Solar and third party investors will raise the funding, Guelph, Ontario-based Canadian Solar said today in a statement.
Construction has begun on a $1 billion solar power generating station in the Mojave Desert that officials say will produce enough electricity to power about 80,000 California homes when it is completed in 2016. Executives with Arizona-based First Solar and Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources put the cost of the 250-megawatt project, dubbed Silver State South, at $1 billion during a Wednesday ceremony with federal Bureau of Land Management chief Neil Kornze.
TRENTON, NJ— The New Jersey solar market hit a new milestone this week when it eclipsed the 1 gigawatt (GW) mark for total installed solar electric capacity. This is enough solar electricity to power 139,000 homes.
U.S. Solar Market Grows 76% in 2012; Now an Increasingly-Competitive Energy Source for Millions of Americans Today
Added Record 3.3 Gigawatts of Capacity, Enough New Capacity to Power More Than 500,000 Homes
Congratulations to Gina McCarthy and Ernest Moniz on their respective nominations to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Statement from Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, about Federal Budget Sequestration:
The Patrick Administration today announced a process to further accelerate solar energy deployment in Massachusetts. This news comes as Massachusetts is within a year to 18 months of reaching the 400 megawatts (MW) target of the existing solar carve-out.
Establishing a more aggressive solar carve-out program would bring Massachusetts up to the level of other states in the northeast that are supporting local solar industries. New Jersey has a 4 gigawatt (GW) goal for solar energy deployment, while Maryland has a 1.3 GW goal.
The media has recently been full of stories about electric utilities being nervous and down right reactionary to adding solar (and wind) on the electric grid. On October 15th, The Huffington Post’s story on the Hawaii Electric Company (HECO) reported, “hundreds of Oahu customers have gotten burned in their transition to solar. They have gotten caught in limbo since September 6 when HECO changed the rules for connecting solar systems.”
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 its customers the opportunity to buy solar energy from “plots” in a “garden” of solar power generation.
Farmers in Japan can now generate solar electricity while growing crops on the same farmland. In April, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) approved the installation of PV systems on existing crop-producing farmland. Previously solar generation on farmland, productive or idle, was prohibited under the Agricultural Land Act.
This co-existence or double-generation is known as “Solar Sharing” in Japan. The concept was originally developed by Akira Nagashima in 2004, who was a retired agricultural machinery engineer who later studied biology and learned the “light saturation point.” The rate of photosynthesis increases as the irradiance level is increased; however at one point, any further increase in the amount of light that strikes the plant does not cause any increase to the rate of photosynthesis.
We typically see photovoltaic panels up on roofs, as they're broad, open surfaces that receive a lot of sunlight. You know what else spends a lot of time in the scorching sun, though? Sidewalks. With that in mind, a team at Washington DC's The George Washington University has created what is claimed to be "the first walkable solar-paneled pathway in the world."
Some of the most vulnerable places in the world to live in the face of climate change are islands. Rising sea levels, contaminated ground water, and increasing severity of storms are just some of the many threats to island communities. Many island residents also pay extremely high energy prices, due to limited domestic resources and the need to import fuel long distances. Switching to renewable energy can not only decrease fuel expenditures for many island populations, but can also show the world what can be done in the face of climate change.