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China Solar Funds Boost Global Clean Energy Spending to $175 Billion

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 07:07

About $175 billion was spent globally on renewable energy projects during the first three quarters, up 16 percent from the same period last year, with Chinese solar investment at a record, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report.

Is Distributed Energy Storage the Energiewende’s Missing Link?

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 06:43

For years, critics of the Energiewende, Germany’s clean-energy transition, have carped that the country’s power system cannot be based on intermittent generation sources — namely onshore wind and solar PV — without advanced storage technology to balance supply and demand. In Germany, battery storage has come a long way fast, and a year ago the German government started the first-ever subsidy program to support storage systems for homes, businesses, and public institutions, like schools. Yet the program has been slow to catch on, and observers maintain that its long-term impact on the Energiewende as such will be minimal.

U.S. Energy Department Approves Transmission Line to Deliver Quebec Hydropower to New York

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:05

The U.S. Department of Energy issued a presidential permit approving construction and operation of a 1,000-MW transmission line to carry Quebec hydroelectric power to customers in New York City.

How to Make a “Perfect” Solar Absorber

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 08:29

The key to creating a material that would be ideal for converting solar energy to heat is tuning the material’s spectrum of absorption just right: It should absorb virtually all wavelengths of light that reach Earth’s surface from the sun — but not much of the rest of the spectrum, since that would increase the energy that is reradiated by the material, and thus lost to the conversion process.

A Bounty of Shared Solar

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 06:35

I always enjoy learning obscure terms for collective nouns (a convocation of eagles, a bloat of hippopotamuses) so I wonder if we could coin a good term for a collection of shared solar programs? A ‘bounty’ perhaps? Whatever we call it, the collection of programs continues to grow year after year. If you’ve been following IREC for some time, you ma

German Renewables Output Tops Lignite

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 05:32

Renewables became Germany’s most important power source for the first time this year, according to Agora Energiewende.

Listen Up: Cap and Trade's Impact on Fuel Prices

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 05:14

Over 95 percent of climate scientists have concluded that CO2 is the primary cause of global warming. Solving the problem requires a dramatic reduction in CO2 emissions. Some people are altruistic, but almost all businesses are bottom line oriented and will not reduce their CO2 emissions unless they have an economic incentive to do so. There are two realistic incentives: taxing CO2 emissions or setting up a cap and trade program for CO2. Since increasing taxes is politically unfeasible, the most practical approach is with a cap and trade program.

Renewable Gas from Wastewater Treatment Plant Fueling UK Homes

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 04:00

Extracting energy from “processed poo” to help power homes in the Birmingham area is what Severn Trent Plc, Britain’s second-largest publicly traded water company, is now doing to generate a cost-saving renewable gas.

Here's a Great Solar Guerrilla Marketing Lesson from a Neighborhood Barbershop

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 01:00

I was walking home the other day and I just had to stop when I saw this simple but effective sign: While I didn’t need a haircut, I loved the creativity, and I thought about how this one little sign is a great lesson for some residential solar guerrilla marketing: Creative content: What made me stop was this package deal: I could get a cut, a wash,

8 Interesting Facts About Solar Power

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 07:31

A ridiculous amount of interesting facts and statistics surround the solar industry, and every time I write one of these posts, I fall more deeply in love with solar power.  What a first-class industry to be in – renewable energy, saving money, saving the planet….yeah, those things are important, and I’m always happy to share facts and statistics w

Microgrid Economics: It Takes a Village, a University, and a Ship

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 05:55

As a businessman exploring investments, I need simple answers, however complicated the problem. I wish to know: Are microgrids economical? How much investment is needed and for what? What are the factors that principally affect profitability, within the system and in the environment? If microgrids are not profitable at the present, when will they be? I recognize that understanding microgrids as a system requires complicated mathematics and modeling. I’m sympathetic to and respect those who do that.

Solar PV Installations Quintuple Across K-12 Schools

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 05:38

Recent findings from The Solar Foundation (TSF) show an encouraging surge in the number of K-12 schools installing solar power to save money, reduce carbon emissions, and introduce a new generation of children to the very practical benefits of renewable energy.

FYI, Geothermal Industry: You’re Doing It Wrong

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 05:16

For years the geothermal industry has relentlessly boasted that it is a baseload resource, meaning it provides stable power similar to a coal or natural gas plant, except without all of those pesky carbon emissions. While upfront costs to develop a plant are higher than other renewable sources, geothermal leaders say that this baseload aspect makes it a more attractive resource in the long run since the grid needs more stable power as increasing amounts of intermittent renewables enter the landscape.

New York To Spend $23 Million for Solar Panels on 24 Schools

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 12:26

New York City will spend $23 million to install solar-paneled roofs on 24 public schools, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Why Local Energy Ownership Matters

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 10:53

Solar and wind projects can mean big bucks for communities – but only if they keep them local! Why does ownership of renewable energy matter? Because the number of jobs and economic returns for communities are substantially higher when electricity generation from wind and sun can be captured by local hands. This economic self-interest motivates rap

Japan Installs 11 GW of Renewable Energy in Two Years

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 06:40

Japan has added 11,090 megawatts of clean energy capacity since July 2012, when it began an incentive program to encourage investment in renewables, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The Untapped Potential of Solar Schools in Massachusetts

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 06:34

School districts across America are beginning to see the light, as they realize the potential of solar energy. From providing learning opportunities for students to safeguarding teachers’ jobs, solar is proving to be a valuable addition to any school district. Prepared by The Solar Foundation with data from the Solar Energy Industries Association (

The Next 25: Energy Storage Crossing the Rubicon in Texas

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 06:31

The Energy Storage Association (ESA) is the forum for energy storage stakeholder engagement, and has been an active and tireless proponent for the advancement of the energy storage industry for the last 25 years.  And what a change those years have brought.   From humble beginnings, when eight pioneering U.S. power utilities sent their executives t

German Scientists Break Thin-Film PV Solar Cell Record

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 06:12

Everybody loves a new world record, even more so when that record hints at the possibility of enormous strides in solar power energy generation. According to information coming out of the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW) in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, scientists there have once again snatched up the title as creators of the highest performing thin-film PV cell in the world.

Washington DC Releases Proposed Community Solar Regulations

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 22:46

On October 1st 2013, the D.C. legislature passed the Community Solar Renewables Energy Act (B20-007), making D.C. the tenth state to pass community solar legislation. However, the waiting game was only just beginning as D.C. solar stakeholders awaited instructions from the D.C. Public Service Commission (PSC) on how the program would be implemented