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Solar Nonprofit Shows Patience Brings Results To Lower-Income Residents

One installation at a time, a solar nonprofit that matches socially conscious investors’ cash with lower-income homeowners is spreading the benefits of solar in North Minneapolis. Solstar was formed three years ago by solar entrepreneur Ralph Jacobson following his retirement from IPS Solar, the pioneering Twin Cities’ solar company he founded three decades ago earlier. In his entire career, “I hardly ever had Black customers or Black subcontractors,” Jacobson recalled. Solstar is a collective effort for clean energy leaders in North Minneapolis to address those racial disparities. Jacobson, 71, works his network to persuade wealthy individuals to invest in residential solar installations.

How Solar Ironworkers Zapped Tiers

California’s solar power plants now rival the scale of any in the world. What stands out most is how they were built: under union contracts. Across the U.S., nearly 90 percent of solar workers had no union last year. In California, the situation was different—at least on paper. The vast majority of its solar power plants have been wrenched in place by unionized construction workers. But at first these were union jobs practically in name only, as thousands of unionized solar construction workers toiled on the underside of a two-tier system. Their wages, training, and job security lagged far behind their union siblings. Many questioned if they were members at all.

India Is Fighting Heatwaves With Solar Cycle Tracks

This innovative new solar cycle track in Hyderabad City offers one way in which less polluting and healthier transport might contribute towards a rapid transition, despite the growing physical challenge of living with climate change-driven heat. Extreme heat is already a problem in India and deadly heatwaves are set to grow increasingly severe as global tempertures rise. According to Telegana state authorities, this is the first long-distance solar panel covered cycle track in India. Laid alongside a major highway in Hyderabad city, it has a solar roof with an installed capacity of 16 MW – enough to provide power to thousands of homes.

The Solar World We Might Have Had

We needn’t have had Fukushima at all, now 12 years old and still emitting radiation, still not “cleaned up”, still responsible for forbidden zones where no one can live, play, work, grow crops. We needn’t have had Chornobyl either, or Three Mile Island, or Church Rock. We needn’t have almost lost Detroit. We could have avoided climate change as well. Not just by responding promptly to the early recognition of the damage fossil fuels were doing. But also by heeding one sensible plan that, if it had been acted upon, would have removed the nuclear power elephant from the energy solutions room and possibly also saved us from plunging into the climate catastrophe abyss in which we now find ourselves.

These Artists Are Turning Their London Street Into A Solar Power Station

The climate crisis, the energy crisis in Europe and rising power bills are inspiring many people to rethink where their power comes from and imagine possible alternatives for their energy needs. One artist and filmmaker couple in London are focused on the street where they live. Hilary Powell and Dan Edelstyn live in a narrow brick house on Lynmouth Road in the Northeast London neighborhood of Walthamstow and they’ve begun transforming their street into a solar power station. Their Power Station project intends to help as many of their neighbors switch from relying on fossil fuel power plants to generate their electricity to solar power through a series of local actions. “POWER is a ‘show and do’ project building a solar POWER STATION across the rooftops (streets, schools, community buildings) of North East London via enacting a grassroots Green New Deal – working with art and infrastructure to tackle the interlinked climate/energy/cost of living crises.

Cooperatives Are Key To Climate Action

What successful cooperatives and climate initiatives have in common comes down to how closely aligned they are with the needs and capacities of the people they most directly impact.  Initiatives that take place at the community, town, city, and regional level, even if not coordinated or controlled by an overarching organization, scale up to make large impacts. Co-ops, as democratically run organizations, can design appropriate and achievable steps that are sustainable for their members, even if they would not be attractive for traditional profit-driven investors. A good example is the People Power Solar Cooperative in California, who make co-owning a solar project possible for individuals who don’t have capital or land. In 2019, the co-op constructed a residential-sized solar energy project that sells the power generated to residents in the area and then pays dividends to the member-owners.

New California Project Uses Solar Panels To Restore Native Habitat

An innovative solar project at a decommissioned nuclear power plant in California has found a way to tackle both the climate and biodiversity crises. Non-profit the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) announced Thursday that they would restore native prairie and habitat for pollinators beneath and around 160 megawatts (MW) of solar panels. “The Rancho Seco project is a unique collaboration at the intersection of communities, biodiversity, and climate-friendly energy,” EPRI senior technical executive and conservation biologist Jessica Fox said in a press release. “Successful demonstration could provide the blueprint for future renewable energy projects throughout the country that are restorative not just in their kilowatts, but also for local people and biodiversity.”

Re-Lighting The Night After The City Repossessed Their Streetlights

The City of Highland Park, a predominantly Black city surrounded by Detroit, Michigan, has had most of its residential streets in the dark for the last 10 years. In 2011, the city owed $4 million to utility company DTE Energy. An agreement was made between DTE and city officials to remove roughly 1,200 streetlights to settle the debt. Reports suggest the repossessed lights were sold for scrap. Since then, Highland Park remained in the dark figuratively and literally. Residents had no clue what happened. “And it was just really a sad day actually seeing the poles, the trucks came to take the poles out, and it just left these stumps,” says Shamayin Harris, a lifelong Highland Park resident. “So they’re basically all around our city right now. It just looks like a graveyard of cement stubs where lights used to be on the residential street.

Wind And Solar 94, Gas 2–Yes!

The changing of the seasons has definitely been disrupted by global heating, but it’s still the case, in general, that in the last month of a season there are a few days that are like the season that’s coming. For example, in the first few weeks of March there’ll be days where temperatures are spring-like, for example, and that’s always a good day. We who get it on the climate crisis got something like this recently when it comes to the essential, urgently-needed shift from fossil fuels (think winter) to renewables (think spring). What happened? In the first quarter of 2018, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), approximately 2% of the new electrical generation capacity (power plants) came from natural gas, while 94% of it came from wind and solar (see page 4 here), This compares to the first quarter of 2017, when approximately 33% came from natural gas, 61% from wind and solar.

Cost Of U.S. Solar Drops 75% In Six Years

By Staff of E360 DIGEST - The Trump administration has announced that a federal goal to slash the cost of utility-scale solar energy to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020 has been met early. The goal, set by the Obama administration in 2011 and known as the SunShot Initiative, represents a 75 percent reduction in the cost of U.S. solar in just six years. It makes solar energy-cost competitive with electricity generated by fossil fuels. The Department of Energy attributed achieving the goal so quickly to the rapidly declining cost of solar hardware, such as photovoltaic panels and mounts. And it said it will next focus its efforts on addressing “solar energy’s critical challenges of grid reliability, resilience, and storage,” according to a press release. The DOE also announced $82 million in new funding for solar research, particularly for research into “concentrating solar” — which uses mirrors to direct sunlight to generate thermal energy — and into improved grid technology. It set a new goal to reduce the cost of solar even further: 3 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2030.

Half Of California’s Energy Met With Solar For First Time

By Danielle Ola for PV Tech - From the hours of 11am to 2pm on 11 March, the total solar share of gross demand exceeded 50%, according to the EIA. Source: Flickr/ lindalino. On 11 March, for the first time ever, over 50% of California’s power needs were met with solar power, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). From the hours of 11am to 2pm, “the total solar share of gross demand probably exceeded 50%,” the EIA said – noting that it was a combination of residential and commercial rooftop generation that constituted 4 million kWh of electricity during peak time. During the same time window, wholesale electric rates dipped below zero, compared to the average price of between US$14-$45MWh in March between 2013 and 2015.

Utility Survey: Trump Will Not Stop the Clean Energy Transition

By Gavin Bade for Utility Dive. Today, President Trump is poised to release a long-anticipated executive order to roll back the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s signature climate initiative. The order is expected to be accompanied by directives to lift a moratorium on federal land coal leases and to cease the use of the social cost of carbon — all part of a broad campaign to dismantle environmental regulations on the power sector that Trump blames for the decline of the coal economy in the United States. But while rescinding the rules could help slow coal power’s decline in the short term, analysts say it is unlikely to reverse its long-term downturn, mostly due to the economics of natural gas and renewables. That attitude is shared not just by market observers, but by electric utilities themselves.

Solar Accounts For 1 In 50 New U.S. Jobs In 2016

By Avery Palmer for The Solar Foundation - WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2016 — The American solar workforce grew at a historic pace in 2016, a year when one out of every fifty new U.S. jobs was in the solar industry, according to the new National Solar Jobs Census 2016, the seventh annual report on solar employment issued by The Solar Foundation. The National Solar Jobs Census 2016 found that solar industry employment growth outpaced the overall U.S. economy by 17 times as it increased by over 51,000 jobs, for a total of 260,077 U.S. solar workers. The solar workforce grew by 25 percent over 2015, the largest annual growth percentage since The Solar Foundation’s first National Solar Jobs Census was released in 2010.

Oregon To Replace Coal With Clean Energy

By Mary Anne Hitt for the Sierra Club. The “Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan", will move Oregon completely off coal by 2030 - including phasing out coal power being imported into the state on the grid - and ensure that most of that power is replaced by clean energy by doubling the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50 percent by 2040. It was passed with bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats, and it’s an historic victory for climate and clean energy leadership. Oregon coal plants make of 25 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Analysis of the legislation’s expected impact has shown that the plan will reduce carbon pollution across the western states by 30 million metric tons - the equivalent of taking 6.4 million cars off the road. It also includes measures to keep electricity prices affordable and ensure reliable electric service.

New Electrical Energy Generated In January Came From Wind & Solar

By Staff of Eco Watch - In the first 2016 issue of its monthly Energy Infrastructure Update report, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) notes that five new “units” of wind (468 megawatts) and six new units of solar (145 megawatts) accounted for 100 percent of new electrical generation brought into service in January. No new capacity for nuclear, coal, gas or oil was reported. Renewables now account for 17.93 percent of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: hydropower (8.56 percent), wind (6.37 percent), biomass (1.43 percent), solar (1.24 percent) and geothermal (0.33 percent). In fact, installed capacity for non-hydro renewables...
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