This week in renewable energy: 2/28/14

Every week, Community Renewable Energy shares important clean energy developments– and some that are just plain cool.

Here’s what we’ve been reading.

Global progress

  • Western Ghana is set to add 155 megawatts of solar power (that’s 600,000 solar modules) thanks to a power purchase agreement with the Electricity Company of Ghana. Ghana expects the installation to go online in early 2015. Meanwhile, International Solar Utilities is looking into the possibility of adding 600 megawatts of solar power to Western Ghana. Mother Nature Network reports that Ghana-based Impact Energies, which provides  solar panels to low-income individuals has been purchased by Persistent Energy Partners, showing that international business is paying attention to small-scale solar innovation.
  • Mexico may soon lead Latin America in solar installations. In fact, they plan to replace a fossil-fuel powered plant with the largest solar power construction in Latin America. (Think Progress)
  • In areas of India without reliable access to electricity, solar technology is making life a little easier by powering ATMs and telecom towers. (The Hindu)

Community-owned solar power

  • community solar farm constructed on the Orlando Utility Commission campus sold out its shares in less than one week! (Solar Industry Magazine)
  • Meanwhile, the first-ever shared solar garden in Minneapolis has also sold out all of its shares. (Energy Central)
  • Connecticut may soon introduce community solar legislation. (New Haven Register)
  • Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission is set to dismiss a proposal that would limit the number of shared solar projects that could be installed in the state. (Midwest Energy News)
  • The Solar Gardens Institute has opened up a discussion about open standards for community-owned renewable energy, such as shared solar. Joy Hughes writes, “I’m interested in getting your thoughts for open communication protocols that would empower broader adoption of shared renewable systems.”

Bright ideas

  • How are designers tackling the challenge of integrating solar power into community space? The Atlantic writes, “Imagine walking down the street and stumbling upon a glowing cube that looks like it came straight out of TRON. But what you see is not exactly from the future — it’s e-QBO, a modular invention of a group of Italian designers who have been searching for a better way to harness solar power for public spaces.”
  • The Sahara Forest Project is trying to solve multiple environmental problems at once– “In this case we’re talking about too much salt, too much sun, and not enough soil and water for farming,” writes Clean Technica. The possible solution? “[S]olar power could be used to evaporate seawater for a freshwater source, and seawater could also pull double duty as a coolant for the greenhouses.”

What do you think was the most important renewable energy story this week? Share your insights and thoughts below or by email.

For news about sustainable community and economic development, visit Praxia Partners’ blog.

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