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Solar Power


U.S. government downgrades projections for coal. Again.

Cross-posted from Climate Progress.

In 2010, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected that coal would drop to 44 percent of America’s electrical generation by 2035. Actual generation dropped to that level in 2011.

This week, the agency again adjusted its long-term figures for coal in the U.S., projecting that generation will fall to 39 percent by 2035. But groups on the front lines of fighting coal plants say those figures are still far too conservative.


Critical List: Obama boosts clean energy; Bingaman energy standard coming soon

"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.


Army’s newest drone will be ‘green’

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.


Critical List: Military could produce 7 GW of solar; British survey hedgehogs

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?


Solar grid parity 101 — and why you should care

This post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's New Rules Project. Solar grid parity is considered the tipping point for solar power, when installing solar power will cost less than buying electricity from the grid. It’s also a tipping point for the electricity system, when millions of Americans can choose energy production and self-reliance over dependence on their electric utility. But this simple concept conceals a great deal of complexity. And given the stakes of solar grid parity, it’s worth exploring the details. The cost of solar For starters, what’s the right …


Here are the potential Solyndras of 2012

Hey makers of right-wing talking points! Pay attention to these solar companies. They might fail this year, and as we all know, when a solar company fails you can repurpose its hide into a political hobby-horse and ride it forever. Here are this year's candidates for companies most likely to be mispronounced by one of the interchangeable hosts on Fox News, courtesy Matt Feinstein of Lux Research: Nanosolar Solopower Abound Solar Solarworld Oerlikon Suntech Power That list doesn't even include the two solar companies that already announced cuts in the new year, reports Katie Fehrenbacher at GigaOm: A week ago …


Sunflowers show how to capture solar energy more efficiently

In design, biomimicry -- the idea that nature does design best -- is all the rage. So it must have been a head-slapping "duh" moment when solar-power designers sought inspiration from sunflowers -- a plant that has "sun" in its name, for goodness' sake! It turns out that sunflowers are really good at using the sun (NO WAY), and mimicking their structure can allow designers to seriously reduce the size of concentrating solar power farms. Concentrating solar power facilities use mirrors to focus solar energy at a single point, usually a high tower. But CSP fields of mirrors take up …


Dubai complements world’s tallest building with ginormous solar farm

The largest solar farm in the Middle East will be financed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai. He was also a big promoter of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa (the one Tom Cruise is climbing on in the video), so the man clearly has a taste for large projects. If you know what I mean. This latest effort will, in one fell swoop, take Dubai from an effectively solar-free nation to one that gets around five percent of its projected 2030 energy use from the sun. It will be the largest solar power project …


Gainesville, Fla., becomes a world leader in solar power

This post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's New Rules Project. You don't have to be big to go big on solar power. That's the lesson from the Gainesville Regional Utilities, the electric utility whose feed-in tariff solar policy has brought over 7 megawatts (MW) of solar to the city's 125,000 residents. The raw number isn't much, but it puts Gainesville among the world leaders in solar installed per capita, beating out Japan, France, and China (and besting California, which has 32 kilowatts (kW) per 1000 residents). The basic premise behind the …


Critical List: Patagonia becomes a Benefit Corporation; oil industry threatens Obama

Patagonia has become a Benefit Corporation, which means it can prioritize goals other than profit. The oil industry is sending a message to Obama: Approve the Keystone XL pipeline, or face the political music in 2012. It is possible to avoid earthquakes when disposing of fracking wastewater. It's just really, really expensive. The U.S. isn't the only country leery of the E.U.'s carbon trading airline scheme: China's protesting, too. The U.S. and Europe are threatening to embargo Iranian oil. Iran's threatening to cut off the Straight of Hormuz, an important oil shipping route. The upshot of this situation, if it …