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Articles by Reporter Emily Pontecorvo

Emily Pontecorvo is a reporter at Grist

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Dear Umbra, 

Why isn’t rooftop solar more highly touted as a climate change solution? I know it’s small scale, but it’s something that an individual person can actually DO. I love my solar panels, and I would like to see them on every flat surface that gets sunlight — schools, stores, churches, storage units, etc. Is it politics, economics, supply issues? It just seems so obvious to me!

— Solar Usage Needs Nurturing, Y’heard?

Dear SUNNY,

It might feel like solar panels have been around long enough that they should be plastering the built environment. After all, Jimmy Carter first put panels on the White House roof more than 40 years ago. But your vision of solar utopia may be a little ahead of the times. “Solar has only really been this economic for about five years,” Jenny Chase, the head of solar analysis at the energy research firm BloombergNEF, told me. Major home renovations don’t happen overnight.

Chase said that since 2004, when rooftop solar first started to take off in Germany, the cost of a solar module on the world market has declined from $4 per watt down to just $0.24 today. And considering... Read more

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