This week in renewable energy: 7/19/13

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

Here’s what we were reading this week.

Solar power and community-building

  • Solar power is helping residents of the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, an area once devastated by Hurricane Katrina. As residents have rebuilt, they’ve added solar panels, which lower their utility bills and free up money to reinvest in their homes and community. (WWNO)
  • Two million Peruvians living in poverty will receive free solar panels thanks to the recently launched National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program. At Community Renewable Energy, we find this story inspiring, because we believe that everyone deserves access to clean power. And it’s not just about energy efficiency– getting rid of oil lamps improves health and safety. (Grist)

Global progress

  • There’s a new report out from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The bad news? “Many observers and decision-makers have yet to catch up with the improvements in the economics of solar power” and are unaware of how affordable an efficient solar power has become. The good news? More up-to-date and accurate data will naturally lead to increased investment in solar. It helps to have the facts on your side! From the Forbes article discussing the report:

The authors contend that if decision-makers understood the new economics of solar, it would hasten the deployment of PV in existing and new markets. “Despite the substantial drop in PV costs,” they write, “many commentators continue to note that PV-generated power is prohibitively expensive unless heavily supported by subsidies or enhanced prices. Outdated numbers are still widely disseminated to governments, regulators and investors.”

  • Brazil hopes to install solar power in their soccer stadiums in time for next year’s World Cup. (PV Tech) From the article:

    Pituacu Stadium, Brazil

    care of Gehrlicher Solar

The stadiums’ solar arrays will all have different energy roles to play, with the photovoltaic panels on the Mineirão feeding directly back into the grid, while the 2.5MWp rooftop plant at the Mané Garrincha is expected to be used to power half of the stadium’s energy requirements. The Arena Pernambuco in Recife will utilise solar power for facilities including kitchens, changing rooms and toilets at the stadium, with electricity going into the grid when the stadium is not in use.

Green innovation

  • Inspired by the recent cross-country flight of a solar-powered aircraft, Timothy B. Lee shows how efficient solar power technology has become. (Washington Post’s Wonkblog)
  • Speaking of solar-powered transportation: PRI’s The World brought us news of an energy-producing solar-powered car, and “[t]his fourth of July, Gary Minnick celebrated his independence from fossil fuel. While many were watching fireworks, Minnick was culminating his circumnavigation of Long Island on a solar-powered boat.” (Riverhead Local)
  • When it comes to energy efficiency, sometimes a little common sense goes a long way: Los Angeles installed LED lights in their street lamps and has already saved over $5 million on energy bills. (Forbes)
  • Energy storage has been a hot topic the solar power industry lately. Germans with residential rooftop arrays use energy storage to save excess energy for peak demand times. Closer to home, “Over the short term, it may be that systems installed by large commercial and industrial electricity consumers will do more to drive the energy storage market in California than those installed by homeowners.” (Forbes) 

What do you think was the most important solar power 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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