Sales of solar panels for Japanese homes are up 30.7 percent in 2011, despite -- or, let's be real, because of -- the economic hit the country took in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
This post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s New Rules Project. What if installing more solar could reduce electricity prices? It’s already happening in Germany, world leader in solar power, and it’s likely to happen in the U.S., too. Right now the idea of solar reducing electricity prices seems silly. After all, when subsidies aren’t factored in, the cost of residential solar will be higher than residential retail electricity prices in all but three states until after 2016. But solar has two key factors in its favor:
If you're not already connected to an electricity grid, renewable energy is a no-brainer, argues Michigan professor of history and ‘scholar of the Muslim world’ Juan Cole.
An MIT scientist has developed a quick and dirty way to harness solar power using “anything green, even grass clippings.” So basically, solar panels made out of yard waste. This technology is way, way, way, way below the efficiency of commercial solar panels: It converts 0.1 percent of solar energy into power. Commercial solar panels clock in around 10 to 15 percent; the most advanced lab models are pushing even higher. But the simplicity of the design makes up for that shortcoming.
Ali Al-Naimi also called global warming one of "humanity's most pressing concerns," and advocated for renewable energy investment. When the Saudis are no longer hyped on oil, you know something's got to change.
Coal generation keeps falling faster than government predictions, which don't even account for other factors affecting its decline. Could the reign of coal finally be over?
“I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy,” President Obama said in his State of the Union. He didn’t talk about fighting climate change, though. The state of the union is: unsurprised. Sen. Jeff Bingaman says he’ll release his proposal for a clean energy standard in the next few weeks. Durban could actually turn out to be the most successful climate conference yet.
The Army is increasingly aware that the only way for its war machine to keep turning is for it to eliminate the long, vulnerable supply chain currently required to get energy to its soldiers. That’s one reason why it just awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to build a flying drone, light enough to be carried by troops or Iranians, that supplements its power with solar energy.
Solar projects at desert military bases could produce 7,000 megawatts of solar energy — a huge amount. EVs have more than enough range to make 95 percent of the trips we take by car. Scotland aims to source 100 percent of its power from renewables by 2020, but to reach that goal, it needs the price of offshore wind power to drop. A hedgehog survey is the most British endeavor ever, right?