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PACE Program Returns to Maryland

PACE Financial Servicing (PFS) along with the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) announced on August 10th that they would be partnering together to construct a statewide commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program.  PACE is a financing tool with national...

More Growth in Solar’s Future: No Surprises

A new study, released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, charts the growth of solar energy over the coming decades and the results show a massive expansion in renewable power. The study expects $3.7 trillion in new solar investment between now and 2040; effectively, a...

A Green Conversation with White House Correspondent Paul Brandus

The SolarTown interns discussed the direction of renewable energy in the existing political climate with award-winning White House Correspondent Paul Brandus. Brandus, the founder of @WestWingReports, has over 200,000 followers on Twitter and is scheduled to release a new book in September entitled Under This Roof: The White House and the Presidency. Once we made our way to Chop’t, ordered our food, and sat down, we had the opportunity to explain each of our summer projects to Brandus and get his input on where renewable energy fits into politics at the White House.

Brandus with SolarTown interns Max Venezia, Naomi Rogoff and David Edelman (not pictured: Madeline Koelbl)First, Brandus reminisced on one conversation he had with a young Senator Barack Obama about his plans to put solar panels on the White House, if elected president. Once that Senator was elected, however, Brandus would ask the president for updates on the White House solar panels and the President would report back: “We’re working on it”. Five years later, the solar panels were finally installed on roof of the president’s residence. “Everything moves slowly here,” said Brandus.

The Japan Experience: The Earthquake that Gave a Jolt to Solar Energy

There was very little good that came out of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. The disaster did, however, cause Japan to rethink its dependency on nuclear power and caused a significant shift in the energy strategy for the country. Japan quickly identified renewable energy as the solution to a sustainable and reliable energy supply. Japan has become a major player in the solar industry with plans this year to install up to 12.7 gigawatts of solar power. Japan is an archipelago, which the National Geographic defines as a “group of islands closely scattered in a body of water”, and is occupied by hundreds of millions of people which does not leave an abundance of space to install solar panels. Recently, however, Japanese electronics manufacturer Kyocera has identified more than one method of efficiently utilizing space in and around the country’s land to install as many solar panels as possible in otherwise dead space. Japan, after being devastated by a natural disaster, is strategically planning its recovery to avoid a repeat of the 2011 Fukushima disaster while also investing in renewable energy that will benefit the environment and produce profits in the foreseeable future. These Kyocera projects demonstrate the potential available to maximize the efficiency of solar energy production with just a little creativity and ingenuity.

State Laws Impose Limits on Community Solar

Most residential roof space is not optimal for solar panels. Only 22-27% of residential buildings in the U.S. are viable for solar panel installation, according to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This has inhibited the access of many communities...

White House Launches Nationwide Community Solar Program

On July 7, 2015 the Obama Administration launched a bold plan to increase solar energy usage within the United States as part of a nationwide initiative to address climate change while promoting clean energy initiatives. According to NPR, the plan primarily focuses on...

Oil Rich Kingdom Turns to Solar to Calm Energy Concerns

Looking to the future as demand for energy increases and oil reserves decrease, Saudi Arabia has made huge strides towards solar energy. Prince Turki bin Saud Bin Mohammad Al Saud is pushing solar from within state-run entities and companies to achieve a greater level...

New Solar Technologies Address the Elephants in the Room

The big question with regard to solar energy is whether it can reliably replace fossil fuels as a major power source in the future, and this question is not easy to answer. Of the many criticisms that can be raised, two major issues are often levied against solar energy: the first is intermittency – the fact that the available sunlight at a given moment is insufficient to generate power; and the second is cost – the price of producing or installing the solar cells can counteract the money saved on using them in the first place. These new developments don’t necessarily solve all of the problems that can be associated with solar energy, they are addressing the larger, more frequent criticism of it; and, in so doing, they are helping to establish that solar energy isn’t a niche thing but a practical and desirable alternative to fossil-fuel energy.

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