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10 GW of Solar
The U.S. is now one of four countries in the world with more than 10 gigawatts of solar installations. Over the past six years, solar energy has grown at a rate of over 50 percent. In fact, we have installed 1.8 gigawatts of solar power just in the first half of this year! For more details and projections about future solar installations, please read this article.
Solar and the Air Force
Adhering to President Barack Obama’s federal mandate and renewable energy policies, the Department of Defense has pledged to produce 3 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2025. The Air Force plans to generate 1 GW of renewable energy by 2016 and to have 25 percent of electricity consumed generated by renewable energy sources. The Air Force is giving solar power a key role in its goals by planning to have 58 percent of its renewable energy capacity produced by solar power by 2017. To learn more specific information, check out the Air Force Times.
Last week, the annual Sun Grand Prix was held in Austin, Texas. This is a racing competition in which the cars run completely on solar power. This year’s winner was Oregon State University’s “The Phoenix,” which won by racing 193 laps, or 661 miles, during the 3–day race. Check out this amazing article here.
Solar Impulse Update
Earlier this month the Solar Impulse Plane completed its historic transcontinental journey by landing at John F. Kennedy airport on July 6. The plane flew for more than 100 hours across 5,650 kilometers, but this is just the beginning. Next, the pilots are planning to circle the globe by only using solar power. See here how the Solar Impulse and its pilots made history.
New Director of the EPA
Gina McCarthy was finally approved by Congress to head the EPA. She is highly qualified for the position and many environmentalists are happy she was finally approved. She has a tough job ahead of her with the task of implementing President Obama’s climate change plan. To read more about McCarthy and her confirmation by the Senate, please read this article.
Solar Power in Developing Nations
Those of us living in developed nations often forget that there are over 1 billion people worldwide who live in energy poverty. Privileges such as modern medicine and lights on dark streets are not easily available, if available at all, to those living in energy poverty. Awareness of this type of poverty is slowly reaching those who can help. Various celebrities and foundations have helped fund solar projects in a variety of nations, including countries in South Africa and Haiti. Solar is often chosen for clean energy projects in these countries because, of course, the sun shines in all these places. An organization called Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) has been involved in numerous projects around the globe that provide those in developing nations with solar energy. To read more about SELF and their projects, check out this article.
World Cup in Brazil
Brazil has pledged to make the 2014 World Cup the most sustainable in the event’s history. Part of the plans to make this World Cup more sustainable is the deployment of solar panels on seven of the 12 stadiums that will be used for the event. The different solar panel arrays will have specific functions; some will send power right back to the grid while other will provide upwards of 50 percent of the energy needed to power the stadium. The panels will not only benefit Brazil during the World Cup but will continue to benefit the country long after the event is over. To read more about the plans, click here.
Energy Sources and Water
As we all know, Texas is currently in a drought. This drought affects not only residents and businesses with higher water bills, but it also affects farmers who need the water to grow crops for a variety of industries. That is why saving water, whenever possible, is a necessity here in Texas. In this article by Forbes, the author looks at different types of energy and how much water is needed for each source. The author argues that Texas should employ more renewable sources of energy not only to conserve energy but address drought issues as well.
Solar Working Group
The Solar Working Group is composed of five professionals from the solar industry, including Solar San Antonio’s Executive Director Lanny Sinkin, and five others from CPS Energy. The group’s purpose is to develop solar policy that will address various issues. The main focus so far has been to determine how to integrate distributed solar into the CPS Energy portfolio in a way that does not reduce CPS Energy revenues so the utility is able to pay for other installed capacity. Various potential solutions to this challenge have been discussed and are being evaluated. The goal is a policy that maintains the continued robust growth of the local solar industry while ensuring adequate revenue for CPS Energy. Discussion is focused on both the short -term challenge of limited rebate funds and the long-term challenge of forecasted rapid growth of solar penetration in the marketplace.
On Saturday, July 27, 16 teens gathered at Eisenhower Park for a daylong environmental workshop organized by Solar San Antonio staff member Rozina Kanchwala. Students participated in various activities including creating a global connections web, reenacting a press conference of a community in California that rejected the installation of a major gas plant, and writing letters to elected officials. Students also enjoyed a guided hike through Eisenhower Park and benefited from learning about opportunities offered at UTSA and San Antonio College.
Summer Energy Tips:
1. Make sure to check your air filters once a month, especially during the summer. Change any filters that are dirty so your A/C unit doesn’t have to use more energy than needed to keep your home cool during the summer.
2. In order to feel cooler but keep your energy bills lower, use fans to cool down a room. A fan can make a room feel 4 degrees cooler and does not use as much energy as an A/C unit.
3. For homeowners in the CPS Energy service area, there is an opportunity for you to get a smart thermostat from CPS Energy for FREE. This thermostat allows you to program the A/C and heating in your home so that you are not wasting energy during the day when no one is home. It also allows the utility to manage their energy demand load by temporarily turning off the compressor for 10 minutes each half hour during peak times. For more information, please visit: http://www.cpsenergy.com/Residential/Rebates/Peak_Saver/index.asp
4. Make sure to carry and use your reusable water bottle during the summer months when it’s especially important to stay hydrated. If you are hiking or spending time outdoors, plan on taking more water than you usually do. There are many different styles that are sure to match your own style.