Solar panels on the roofs of houses have become a familiar sight in recent years, but utility-scale solar – installations of 10 megawatts and greater – are really booming these days. Throughout the United States, more than 10.5 gigawatts of utility-scale solar were added to the electric grid in 2016 – enough to power more than 2 million homes – and at least 8 gigawatts more are scheduled to come online this year.
Islands around the world have a difficult time developing the infrastructure for electricity generation. Many are simply too small or too poor for conventional power plants. The most common electricity source on islands is diesel generators which are not environmentally friendly and result in some of the most expensive electricity in the world.
There are many good reasons why we should be making the transition from fossil fuel energy sources but the one that is likely to be the most persuasive is strictly economic. It has long been said that the renewable energy future will truly arrive when installing new solar panels is cheaper than a comparable investment in coal, natural gas, or other options.
We recently talked about the increasing efforts by colleges and universities to embrace sustainability with the use of renewable energy sources. Those efforts are increasing in many places.
Colleges and universities across the country are increasingly deploying solar arrays and other types of renewable energy. Many have set goals to become carbon neutral.
When we think about the visual impact of energy plants, we usually envision ugly smokestacks belching out toxic fumes. Of course, many people also consider wind turbines to be eyesores and even solar panels are often viewed unfavorably from an aesthetic point of view.
In late September, the world’s largest solar power plant went online in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a 648 MW array of solar panels that is spread across 2,500 acres in the town of Kamuthi and will supply enough energy to power 300,000 homes.
The traditional model of the electricity grid is one where centralized large power plants send power through transmission lines to substations and then on to homes and businesses. As localized renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, and efficiency systems proliferate throughout the system, a new concept is emerging: that of the virtual power plant.
Part of Hillary Clinton’s proposed energy plan is a pledge that half a billion additional solar panels will be installed by the end of her first term if she is elected President this year. This number sounds wildly ambitious. It is even realistic?
Cochin International Airport in southern India is the seventh busiest airport in the country. Its managers were fed up with the facility’s large electric bills and decided to take matters in their own hands.
The first solar roadway in the US will be installed this year at the Historic Route 66 welcome center in Conway, Missouri. The installation will use hexagonal solar panels developed by Idaho-based start-up company Solar Roadways. The initial trial installation will use the panels to cover a sidewalk in the Route 66 center rest area and will only cover a few hundred square feet. The modular building blocks are hexagonal panels of a little less than 5 square feet in area that each generate 48 watts of electrical power.
Five years ago, the Obama Administration announced that the Corporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFE standard for the year 2025 would be 54.5 miles-per-gallon. They estimated that improving the average fuel economy of cars and light-duty trucks to this level would save car owners $1.7 trillion at the pump and eliminate more than 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
The price for installing solar panels continues to get lower and lower as volumes increase and technology improves. There are also more ways than ever to get solar installed with leases and other creative financial arrangements.
France’s roadways are known both for their historic cobblestone streets and infamous traffic jams. But French officials recently decided to forgo the traditional brick and pavement in order to capitalize on all the vehicle traffic.