Solar Energy Can be Contagious

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You know that phrase, “One good thing leads to another?” Well, it couldn’t ring more true than in the solar industry. This week, we serve you stories in which good attitudes toward solar have sparked (you guessed it) lots of actual solar installed.

Pittsburgh Can Now Buy 100% Renewables 10% Cheaper Than Standard Utility Rate

Homeowners in Duquesne Light’s Pittsburgh utility service territory have the option to purchase wind and solar energy generated in Pennsylvania at a 10 percent cheaper cost than the utility’s default rate. This clean energy breakthrough comes courtesy of Community Energy’s entry into Duquesne’s competitive electricity market. 100 percent renewable offerings typically come at a higher cost, but the competitive market allows suppliers to price their electricity at current rates.

Kauai blows the lid off the high penetration solar boogey man

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) will soon have a 14 MW solar plant, which will generate enough power to meet around 6% of Kauai’s daily energy demand. Furthermore, the PV system is also expected to reduce KUIC’s oil imports by more than 1 million barrels over its lifetime. With its goal to generate 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2023, KIUC is setting an example for utilities across the nation.

If Your Neighbor Has Solar Panels, You’re More Likely To Go Solar

Someone is considerably more likely to install solar panels on their home if others in their area have already installed them, according to new research from Yale and New York University. The researchers found that residents are much more likely to install solar panels if they are already installed in their zip code, and particularly if they are installed on their street.The study also clearly shows what led to the increase: visibility and word-of-mouth.

Green Roofs Boost Solar Panel Performance

The natural cooling effect of green roofs can boost photovoltaic efficiency significantly, by up to 16 percent than those mounted on a non-living roof, especially during summer’s higher temperatures. According to Jorg Breuning of Green Roof Technology: “Heat is the enemy of energy production.” Excess heat prevents photovoltaic cells from operating at peak efficiency. While solar researchers are developing new advanced solar cell technologies to get around that problem, green roofs have a proven ability to cool down surface temperatures. Heat has a negative impact on voltage, which affects power production on extremely hot days. Through evaporation, the system creates a cooler micro-climate around the PV panels, enabling them to operate more efficiently.

The Saudi Arabia of Solar

Mecca is accepting bids to build 100 megawatts of solar capacity to power the city. Even Saudi Arabia recognizes the need to diversify its power production. In 25 years, they (Saudi Arabia) could become net importers of energy. That makes renewables comparatively cheaper. Diversification is a smart strategy — and solar is the smart way to go about it. Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said the nation has the potential to produce enough solar power to meet four times current world electricity demand. Furthermore, a new high-tech company for the solar energy sector is going to be created in Saudi Arabia. Saint-Gobain shall provide technical assistance and engineering expertise to build and operate a CIGS thin film PV module manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia. This project is part of a larger program which includes the construction of solar power plants in the Kingdom. The solar electricity generated using sunlight could lead to a reduction in the consumption of crude oil. It has set itself the target to install 41 GWp of solar power by 2032 – of which 16 GWp should be contributed by PV power generation.

Clean energy generates NC jobs and billions in statewide revenue

Full-time jobs in North Carolina’s clean-energy sector grew 3 percent in the past year. North Carolina’s clean energy sector has 15,200 full-time equivalent positions and generates $3.7 billion in revenue, marking the fifth consecutive year of growth, according to the 2012 N.C. Sustainable Energy Association Clean Industries Census. Nearly seven of 10 companies the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association surveyed focus on energy efficiency, accounting for 7,218 full-time jobs. Forty-five percent, representing 1,985 jobs, work in solar. Many firms work in several different areas, and most employ a handful of workers.

Solar great for water-scarce regions

A new analysis, ”The Hidden Costs of Electricity: Comparing the Hidden Costs of Power Generation Fuels,” comes from the Civil Society Institute. The report finds that wind and solar photovoltaic power require little water in the electricity generation process. Concentrating solar power requires water for cooling purposes, but new technologies are placing greater emphasis on dry cooling. Solar power plants with dry cooling use only around 80 gallons per MWh – about a tenth of the low-end estimate for nuclear power and one-sixth of the low end estimate for coal-fired power generation.

Solar has limitless possibilities

Check out this cool infographic to visually see all the different we could break that down.

Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.