This week in renewable energy: 8/23/13

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.

Community-building and community-owned solar power

  • Community solar benefits an entire groupsmall city in the Mojave Desert is using solar power to become energy independent. (CBS News)
  • Low-income households in Colorado will soon benefit from budget-saving solar power panels. (Denver Business Journal)
  • Matt Rivera and John Roach of NBC News show how solar power is improving lives for impoverished families and communities, from Native American reservations to rural Africa.
  • A Vermont solar co-op is challenging the state’s rules on net metering and taking on the utility companies. (Forbes)

Global progress

  • Germany is hardly known for being soaked in sunshine, yet it continues to smash solar power records. (Think Progress)
  • India continues to invest heavily in renewable energy– and they’re thinking outside the box more and more. This week, we learned about a plans for a new floating power station. (UPI
  • Farmers in Chile are using solar power to irrigate fields. (Cable ABC)
  • In Africa, solar-powered laptops will change lives and make sure that Africans can harness their brain power even when the grid power goes out. (IT Business)

Launching Tuesday in Accra, Ghana, WeWi Telecommunications Inc.’s laptop is designed to be more rugged and outfitted for Africans’ needs. It comes with a set of solar panels that give the user up to 10 hours of battery life after spending two hours under the sun. The panels can be folded away under the laptop when not in use. A higher-end, water-resistant version of the Sol is also coated in a hydrophobic material which protects the laptop from water damage.

Americans,architecture,buildings,columns,DC,flags,fountains,government,houses,landmarks,nights,sites,USA,White HouseThe Rise of Renewables

  • Solar panels are finally back up on the White House! (Moyers & Company)
  • Utilities are panicking over the rise of solar power and other clean energy. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

After subsidies, solar power is competitive with grid power costs in large parts of those markets. Some areas in the Northeast will reach a similar “grid parity”—where residential solar is equal in cost to power from a utility—within three years; a majority of states could get there in 10 years or less, according to data from a variety of green energy and regulatory sources. A July report by Navigant says that by the end of 2020, solar photovoltaic-produced power will be competitive with retail electricity prices—without subsidies—“in a significant portion of the world.” Green-thinking communities such as San Francisco and Boulder, Colo., are starting to bypass local utility monopolies to buy an increasing portion of power from third-party solar and wind providers. Chicago recently doubled the amount of power it buys from downstate wind farms. –Bloomberg Businessweek

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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