As summer gets into full swing and heats up, so is the solar news. Last week saw some interesting developments in solar power like a fully solar-powered electric vehicle, one of the largest rooftop solar projects in the US came online in Los Angeles and Washington DC’s soccer scored with a new solar and energy efficiency project. Beyond that it came to light that the amount of solar and wind power online in the US is now generating more electricity than nuclear power.
A new study shows that wind and solar power have overtaken nuclear power in the US for the first third of the year, a trend that the Sun Day Campaign and Nuclear Information & Resource Service said is likely to continue as more wind and solar are being brought online than nuclear power. Using data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) the organizations said that in the first four months of 2017 solar and wind power, provided 20.75 percent of the US’ electric while nuclear supplied 20.20 percent. Wind and solar have continued to grow as nuclear has waned. In April 2017, wind and solar provided 22.98 percent of the US energy supply while nuclear fell to 19.19 percent of the US energy supply.
At the same time more research is showing that so-called baseload power is an outdated idea. A new NRDC report said that so-called baseload power generators like coal-fired power plants can’t provide the flexibility that the modern power grid needs. Rather solar, wind and natural gas are providing cost-effective energy that can help reduce energy costs for consumers.
A startup out of the Netherlands, Lightyear, announced a new vehicle—a new, solar-powered electric vehicle. The new car is designed by a team of engineers that won the Cruiser Class of the iconic World Solar Challenge—twice. They said the new vehicle will be full-sized and can run for months without being charged bay an outside source. At more than $100,000 the first vehicles won’t be cheap but could take on Tesla’s dominance in the high-end EV space.
The nation’s second largest rooftop solar project, a 16.4 megawatt project at the Port of Los Angeles is now providing power to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The project is expected to generation $76 million in revenue through the LADWP’s feed-in tariff over a 20-year lease agreement.
The Capitol’s soccer team, DC United, will soon be enjoying solar at Audi Field, its home. The stadium will get an 884 kilowatt solar array and energy efficiency project. The project, funded by Washington, DC’s, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, will cut the stadium’s energy use by 33 percent.
Everyone knows that air pollution is bad for breathing and for climate change but new research from Duke University showed that air pollution can reduce the efficiency of solar panels significantly. In areas of extreme air pollution, like parts of India and China, air pollution can reduce the efficiency of a solar panel by more than 25 percent.Tweet