Last week in solar and renewables President Obama teamed up with sports leagues and teams to help fight climate change. But that’s just a small smattering of the news in solar. A new report found that solar and wind could be the dominant forms of energy in the world by 2060. However, at least one organization fought back against an anti-rooftop solar report funded in part by the Koch brothers. Then again, solar is flexing its abilities and recently replaced a coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts. This just some of the news you may have missed in solar last week.
First off, Sports! Showing an active fan base the power of solar at a professional sports arena introduces millions to solar power every year. It’s a high visibility showcase. That’s part of the reason why President Obama partnered with sports leagues and teams to tackle climate change. Sports, particularly hockey, are taking an ever more active role in reducing their impact on the climate. After all, if there’s no ice, there’s no hockey!
As if coordinated to coincide with the White House announcement the Sacramento Kings announced that their new arena is the first to reach LEED Platinum at least in part because of the stadium’s 1.2-megawatt rooftop array and the teams’ agreement to purchase 11 megawatts of energy from a nearby solar farm. The new Golden 1 Center, which sees roughly 1.2 million people annually, also is extremely energy efficient and water efficient, allowing to achieve the Green Building Council’s highest LEED standard.
Another great place to use high levels of high-visibility solar power is at a university and many are adopting solar. For instance, when Stanford University's solar expansion is complete it will include solar arrays on 16 buildings across campus and a 67-megawatt solar farm off-campus that will provide 53 percent of its electric needs. Given that the local utility’s energy supply includes a high level of renewable energy, around 25 percent, Stanford will get 65 percent of its power from clean energy sources by the end of the year.
Looking at the bigger picture research continues to show widespread growth in renewable energy with the trends continuing. The World Energy Council’s World Energy Scenarios 2016, for instance, shows that it’s likely that wind and solar will provide the majority of the world’s energy supply by 2060. That report showed that wind and solar power could provide up to 39 percent of the world’s energy supply under one of its scenarios. That’s up from roughly 4 percent of the world’s energy supply today.
Ensuring that will happen will require increased investment in the industries, which is happening. For instance, Mercom Capital’s Q3 2016 Solar Funding and M&A showed that the solar industry raised $3 billion across all its segments in the last quarter. That’s nearly double the $1.7 billion it raised in the second quarter of the year.
While solar power faces detractors its supporters are getting more vocal. Last week the Center for Biological Diversity fought back against one such report. The advocacy organization showed that the Institute for Energy Research’s report, “The High Cost of Rooftop Solar Subsidies,” was misleading in its content. It focussed on rooftop solar subsidies, for instance, but didn’t mention that the subsidies fossil fuels receives are still 10 times higher than for renewables.
One of the great things about solar power, though, is the ability to install it just about anywhere—like at a former coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts. There, a former coal plant in Holyoke became the 5.76 megawatt Mt. Tom Solar farm.Tweet