Solar In The News
Keeping an ear to the ground on the sun in the sky.
Speed of Light
By Rebecca Nimerfroh | November 22, 2019
Originally run in N Magazine
"For more than a decade, Zach Dusseau and Tobias Glidden searched for a compelling way to teach people about the true power of solar energy. After moving to Nantucket in 2007, Dusseau went door to door trying to convince businesses to convert to LED light bulbs. “I’d just walk in with light bulb samples and run Excel spreadsheets showing how much money and energy they would save,” he explains. “Then I started slowly building up the solar business from there.” Glidden joined Dusseau’s ACK Smart solar company in 2011, helping install solar panels around the island, but the two friends were still looking for a way for solar to gain some real traction on Nantucket. Enter Wheels of Delight."
Forget silicon. This material could be a game-changer for solar power
By Adrian Lydon | October 14, 2020
Solar energy is poised for what could be its biggest transformation in over half a century.
A group of materials called perovskites are being used to create the next generation of solar panels, which could eventually be twice as efficient as current models, and flexible enough to wrap around entire buildings.
The first solar cell capable of powering everyday electrical equipment was made in the 1950s at Bell Labs in New Jersey. Back then the silicon-based panels were hugely expensive and converted just 6% of sunlight into electricity.
Since then, costs have come down dramatically and today's silicon solar cells can turn up to 22% of sunlight into power. But they're nearly maxed out in terms of efficiency. Now, perovskites offer the potential for dramatic increases in power output, and they could ultimately replace silicon altogether.
Madison celebrates largest solar installation in city history
By Juliana Tornabene | October 15, 2020
Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway celebrated the city meeting its goal Thursday with the largest solar installation in its history.
Rhodes-Conway spoke at 9 a.m. Thursday about the project and what it means for the GreenPower Program, an Engineering Division program where trainees with little electrical sills are taught to install solar energy, in the future.
“Today we achieve our first goal, that we set for ourselves as a City related to solar energy,” Rhodes-Conway said. “In 2014, we adopted a budget to achieve the Madison Megawatt, which aimed to install one megawatt of solar energy on city facilities by 2020, and today we reach that goal.”
The city now has 2.5% of all buildings electric by solar power, or 26 buildings. The mayor explained that solar production causes roughly 950 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, which is equal to the emissions of an average passenger vehicle driving 2.3 million miles.
CHANEL Partners with Sunrun to Bring Solar Energy to Low-Income Families in California
September 23, 2020
"CHANEL announced today it has committed $35 million toward solar energy projects for low-income multifamily households with Sunrun Inc. (Nasdaq: RUN), the leading residential solar, battery storage, and energy services company in the United States. The partnership will expand access to solar for nearly 30,000 low-income residents across California, offering families on average up to $40 to $50 a month in energy cost savings. CHANEL’s investment will also support more than 20,000 hours of job training in the first year, offering valuable vocational skills and certifications to hundreds of people in disadvantaged communities. Through the partnership, CHANEL and Sunrun will install approximately 30 megawatts of solar energy systems on affordable multifamily properties throughout California."
One Small Step: Why Cities Are Switching to Solar Energy
September 21, 2020
"How do we bring more solar power to cities? On this episode of One Small Step, we visit Stuytown Solar, a project that doubled Manhattan's solar capacity by installing 9,761 solar panels on top of 22 acres of apartment buildings. 'It's not always dollars. Sometimes it's about doing the right thing, and sometimes about thinking forward,' says Beam Living CEO Kelly Vohs. 'We've gotta put smart people in office that understand that we've got to make smart investments for our future generations,' says Volt Energy Founder Gilbert Campbell."
Santa Barbara School District to Move Ahead on Big Solar Energy Project
By Joshua Malina | September 21, 2020
"The alternative energy project would save the district money over the long run, reduce its carbon footprint, allow the district independence and the ability to operate critical facilities during power outages, keep communications and data active, protect refrigerated food storage, and enable community emergency shelters without diesel generators.
Crews will install solar panels on rooftops in parking lots. The solar panels will generate power for later use, and lower electricity rates by shifting energy use off the grid.
'We have a long way to go to catch up, and this visionary project will both save the district money while catapulting us forward as a national leader in school microgrids,' said board president Laura Capps. 'When it comes to combating climate change, our students are light years ahead, knowing the threatened planet they are inheriting and the bold action that’s needed now.'
Capps said the complete lack of solar energy usage and minimal sustainability measures in the district were one of the reasons she decided to run for school board in 2016."
Wind and solar energy is steadily replacing coal
"“Countries across the world are now on the same path – building wind turbines and solar panels to replace electricity from coal and gas-fired power plants,” Dave Jones, senior electricity analyst at Ember, said in a statement. Ember’s analysis includes 48 countries that make up 83 percent of the world’s global electricity production."
The $16 billion plan to beam Australia’s Outback sun onto Asia’s power grids
By A. Odysseus Patrick |
August 10, 2020
“The cool new thing is to seriously talk about moving renewable energy around long-term as the carbon-free alternative to the existing fossil fuel trade,” said Peter Cowling, chief executive of Vestas Australia, a wind farm builder. “This is the most plausible solution I have seen to helping Asia decarbonize its energy supply.”
Indiana county adopts new solar energy ordinance requiring pollinator-friendly groundcover
By Kelsey Misbrener | July 27, 2020
“Solar is going to become a vibrant part of rural Indiana,” said Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC). “Such solar farms will not only produce pollution-free energy, but, with the right local policy in place, they will help to preserve soil and water and create habitats that benefit Indiana’s birds, bees, and other wildlife. We know that additional Indiana rural counties are formulating their solar ordinances, and HEC and our partners will be helpful in connecting these counties with resources and experts so that their farmers, businesses, and residents can reap the benefits of not only solar-produced electricity, but the many benefits of land stewardship best practices.”
Solar panels on capped Marshfield landfill expected to save the town millions
By Wheeler Cowperthwaite | July 19, 2020
Originally run in The Patriot Ledger
The solar power station will generate energy credits for the town toward its total electricity use, part of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target Program, also referred to as SMART, he said.
“This is the best use for a capped landfill,” Maresco said. “We went out to market, put together a plan, asked companies to give us their best plan of what can be built.”
The solar panels are buffered already, produce no noise or smell and did not result in a single tree being cut down, he said.
“It’s perfect for the environment,” he said.
Bank of America to Power its North Carolina Headquarters with Solar Energy
By Emily Holbrook | June 30, 2020
Through a renewable energy sleeved-power purchase agreement (PPA), the company is participating in Duke Energy’s Green Source Advantage (GSA) program. The bank is the first company and financial institution to sign a 10-year agreement for electricity and Green-e certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) through this program.
The purchase of a 25 MW solar project’s electricity output and RECs will cover 45% of Bank of America’s electricity load in the state. By participating in Duke Energy’s GSA program, Bank of America is on path to becoming carbon neutral and utilizing 100% renewable electricity across its global operations.
This project will be constructed in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. The project will include the installation of a pollinator habitat surrounding 70,000 solar panels, covering approximately 180 acres, and is expected to be online in 2022.
Solar-powered McDonald's opens at Disney World
By Irene Jiang | Jul 9, 2020
"These unprecedented times have only heightened the importance of innovation that fosters long-term security and sustainability," Marion Gross, McDonald's North America chief supply chain officer, said in the press release. "While health and safety in our restaurants is our top priority, we must also remain focused on creating positive change for our communities and the planet. This restaurant marks an important step in McDonald's journey to reduce our carbon footprint and identify meaningful solutions in the fight against climate change."
Why America’s Schools Are Turning Into Solar Power Stations
By Amanda Schupak | July 28, 2020
“Some say they haven’t gotten into [solar] because it seems too good to be true,” said Asplund, whose district includes five other schools, three of which have their own new solar arrays. “But it really is true. You can save a lot of money ... and you can help the environment.”
Galesburg High School is one of dozens of schools around the state and some 5,500 schools across the country now producing their own solar electricity, making a strong case for turning schools into power stations. On top of the cost savings (which, in the case of public schools, goes back to taxpayers), adopting solar in schools has the benefit of bringing the technology to areas that might not otherwise have much exposure to renewables, and provides the perfect opportunity for teaching the next generation about green energy.
Notre Dame Commits to New I&M Solar Farm
By Wes Mills | August 21, 2020
“We’re pleased to partner with I&M on this project, and look forward to the benefits it will provide,” said Paul Kempf, assistant vice president for utilities and maintenance at Notre Dame.
Kempf says the solar farm will provide the university with enough clean energy credits to equal 10% of Notre Dame’s total electricity demand.
“This is the next big step for us with regard to the use of clean, renewable solar energy to aid or offset campus power production, and a piece of a larger puzzle in terms of our overall approach to sustainability.”