This week in renewable energy: 2/9/14

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

Here’s what we we’ve been reading.

Global progress

  • Members of the Association of Ghana Industries are encouraging the government to invest more in renewable energy, pointing out that gas can’t meet the demand for energy. (Ghana Web)
  • The Mena Solar Energy Report 2014 (from MEED Insight and the Middle East Solar Industry Association) confirms that the Middle East and North Africa are poised to add a massive amount of solar power installations. An investment of $50 billion will pay off in 12,000MW and 15,000MW of clean, reliable solar power by 2020. (Smartmeters)
  • India announced plans to build the word’s largest solar power planet. From the Takepart post: “Spread across more than 23,000 acres, the project will have an operating capacity of 4,000-megawatts (roughly the energy-output capacity of four full-size nuclear reactors) and reduce India’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by 4 million tons.”
  • More good news out of India: Farmers will switch to solar-powered water pumps. Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, India stands to save $6 billion by eliminating the need for diesel and power subsidies. Tarun Kapoor, of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy explained, “The potential is huge. Irrigation pumps may be the single largest application for solar in the country.” (Bloomberg)

Bright ideas

  • Joe Recchie's Community Renewable Energy on Ohio's net metering policyCommunity-owned energy is growing in popularity in the US, and so are innovative ways to finance it. Residents in Colorado can explore the option of a shared solar loan. From the Renewable Energy World article: “Traditional solar loans are secured (or collateralized) with a home equity loan against the house on which they’re installed. In other words, they are wrapped up in the value of the home, not secured by the panels themselves.” The article adds, “[S]hared solar represents an excellent proposition for lenders — a large potential customer base that typically has a very high repayment rate.”
  • Sochi is solarized! (MarketWatch/WSJ)
  • Architects and designers are finding ingenious– and beautiful– ways to seamlessly integrate solar technology into their work. George Washington University’s Solar Walk, installed on its Virginia Science and Technology Campus, is just the latest example. (Architect Magazine)

America goes solar

  • Solar power is a bipartisan issue. An Iowa Democrat has introduced legislation that could help make Iowa a solar leader, while in Georgia, a Republican introduced legislation that would allow residents to lease rooftop installations.
  • Communities all over America are exploring solar power options. This time, we read that Amherst, Massachusetts residents are enthusiastic about going solar. (GazetteNet)
  • Businesses know that solar power is as budget-friendly as it is earth-friendly. Companies are using solar to power their buildings, but they’re also using solar in their products. This week, we read about how Apple’s smart watch may incorporate solar power capabilities. (Tech Crunch)

That’s cool

Solar power’s flexibility never stops surprising: Indian ice cream vendors may soon be able to, ironically enough, use the sun to help keep their product frozen. (The Hindu)

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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