A Solar Plane Just Circled the Planet
Copyright Handout, Getty Images
The Solar Impulse 2, powered by more than 17,000 solar cells on its wings, just completed its year-long journey around the world when it landed in Abu Dhabi in late July. The Impulse 2 made 16 stops along the way, and traveled more than 25,000 miles. Its average air speed was 46 mph, and its flight across the Pacific Ocean alone took 118 hours.
The U.S. Solar Industry is Poised to Have a Monster Year
In 2015, a record 7.3GW of new photovoltaic capacity was created in the U.S. Well, that record won’t stand for long. According to statistics released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2016 promises to be much, much bigger. If the EIA’s figures are correct, the U.S. solar industry should create 9.3GW this year — crushing last year’s record by 27%.
Source: Washington Post; EIA
New Solar Panels Could Turn Raindrops into Power
Scientists in China are developing an “all-weather” solar cell, capable of producing energy from both sunlight and rain. The scientists, from Ocean University of China and Yunnan Normal University, have developed a highly efficient, dye-sensitized cell, and coated it with an atom-thick layer of graphene. This graphene is capable of converting a rain shower into hundreds or even thousands of microvolts.
Sources: Tech Times; Computerworld.
Putting Up a New Building in San Francisco? Better Put Some Solar Panels on It.
Yep, San Francisco recently became the first major U.S. city to require new buildings to have solar panels installed on their roofs. The requirement, which applies to any new building with 10 stories or fewer, will go into effect in 2017. It’s a major step in San Francisco’s goal of “meeting the city’s electrical demands with 100% renewable energy.”
Solar Jobs Have More Than Doubled in the Last Five Years
Copyright Sean Gallup, Getty Images
In 2010, there were 93,500 solar jobs in the U.S. Fast forward to 2015, and that number had soared to 209,000. In the calendar year of 2015 alone, 35,000 jobs were added — that was a 20% increase from the year before. And this may surprise you: The solar industry now has a larger workforce than that of the oil and gas construction industry.
Source: The Solar Foundation; CNN Money
A Moroccan Solar Plant is Producing Solar Power at Night
Earlier this year, the first phase of a giant solar power plant was switched on in Morocco. The plant, known as the Noor complex, will eventually be the biggest in the world, capable of powering more than a million homes. Unlike standard solar plants, it utilizes concentrating solar power (CSP) rather than photovoltaic panels, and is capable of generating power several hours after the sun goes down.
Sources: The Guardian; CNN
39% of U.S. Power Could Come from Rooftop Panels
According to a recent study, if we all installed solar panels on our roofs, “the U.S. could satisfy nearly 40% of its total electricity demand.” The study was conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and only included rooftops that receive adequate sunlight to power solar panels efficiently. This is nearly double what previous studies had estimated.
Source: Huffington Post
Apple has a New Solar Energy Company
Copyright David Paul Morris, Getty Images
In case you missed it, tech giant Apple just created a new subsidiary called Apple Energy LLC. The new company will sell surplus power generated at its solar farms in California and Nevada. It could begin selling electricity as early as August 2016.
Sources: 9to5Mac; Engadget