Category Archives for "World News"

What is the Paris Agreement and Why Did Trump Leave It?

Paris-agreement

The Paris Agreement – what is it and why did Trump back out of it?

As we’ve all heard, Trump officially pulled out of the Paris Agreement on June 1st, 2017. Many have lambasted the president for the somewhat sudden move, but what exactly is the agreement and why did the US leave just 8 months after Obama signed it?

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Google is Now 100% Powered by Renewable Energy

google-renewable-energy

Google just announced they reached their target of 100% renewable energy.

It’s official. The fine people who brought slides into their workplace are now 100% powered by renewable energy, making them pioneers in both of these noblest pursuits.

To celebrate their historic achievement, we’re going to answer all the questions you were going to ask about Google’s aggressive drive towards renewable energy as well as all the questions you weren’t going to ask (because you were hoping someone else would).

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Where is Solar Energy used?

Map of the world

This is where Solar Energy is used most in the World

While the sun is a continuous and powerful source of energy, the question is where is solar energy used here on earth? Solar cells and solar panels allow us to harness that energy, offering renewable methods of generating electricity. The opportunities solar power presents has made it the third most important renewable energy source in terms of globally installed capacity, after hydro and wind.

However, some countries have taken advantage of this technology more than others. But where is solar energy used most? This handy guide will reveal which countries use solar power the most and why, so that hopefully we can learn from their actions.

Which countries have the highest installed solar power capacity?

Country

Annual Installed Capacity 

Cumulative Installed Capacity

China

15,15 GW

43,53 GW

Germany

1,45 GW

39,7 GW

Japan

11 GW

34,41 GW

United States

7,3 GW

25,62 GW

Italy

300 MW

18,92 GW

United Kingdom

3,51 GW

8,78 GW

France

879 MW

6,58 GW

Spain

56 MW

5,44 GW

Australia

935 MW

5,07 GW

India

2 GW

5,05 GW

Table 1: Annual and Cumulative Installed PV Power 2015 - "Snapshot of Global Photovoltaic Markets"(PDF) report. International Energy Agency. 22 April 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.

Why is China Number one in the world?

Map of the world focussing on China

When you consider how large the Chinese solar power industry is, it makes sense that China has the highest installed solar power capacity in the world. Solar power is one of the biggest industries in mainland China, and globally China is the world's largest market for both photovoltaics and solar energy. China has been the primary installer of solar photovoltaics, which absorb the sun's light to create electricity, in the world since 2013, with over 400 solar PV companies in China. In 2015 China reached a photovoltaic installed capacity of 43 GW, setting it on track to be the world's largest producer of photovoltaic power. China also dominate the market for solar heating, achieving a total installed capacity of 290 GW by the end of 2014, 70% of the world's total installed solar thermal capacity.

China shows no signs of slowing down in their quest for solar power supremacy, as evidenced by its consistent increase of its annual and short-term targets. China has set itself an ambitious target of installing 150 GW of solar power by 2020. Its solar capacity target for 2017 is 70GW.

Germany in second place

Map of the world focussing on Germany

Like China, Germany's success in the solar power market is helped by setting ambitious but achievable goals. The government have set a target to reach a 35% share of renewable electricity in the country, which Germany is on target to achieve, with the current share being around 31%. Other long term minimum targets include a 50% share by 2030 and 80% by 2050. More and more, Germany is producing more electricity than it requires, driving down spot-market prices and exporting the extra electricity to neighbouring countries.

Germany is not far behind China, whose solar power consists almost entirely of photovoltaics. Germany was the world leader of photovoltaic capacity since 2005, with a total installed capacity that added up to 40,490 megawatts by the end of September 2016. Photovoltaics are responsible for 6% of Germany's energy demands.

You wouldn't think that Germany has the second highest installed solar power capacity, especially when it's nowhere near the sunniest country in the world. But the substantial growth of solar power is largely due to Germany's feed-in tariffs for renewable energy, which were introduced by the German Renewable Energy Sources Act. Since 2006, prices have decreased by more than 50% in five years.

And in third place - Japan

Map of the world focussing on Japan

As the fourth largest energy consumer in the world, solar power is very important to Japan. The 2011 disaster at Fukushima has also nudged policy towards renewable energy. Since the late 1990’s, Japan's solar power capabilities have been increasing. It has long been a major photovoltaics (PV) manufacturer and is in the top five countries with the most domestic PV systems installed, with 4,914 MW installed by the end of 2011, with most of it grid connected.

With financial incentives such as feed-in tariff schemes, Germany can be seen as the country where solar energy is used the most. Emulating Germany’s actions and goals, the rest of the world can also benefit in their own development of solar power capacities.

CREDITS:

Solar power by country. (2016, November 22). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:11, November 22, 2016.

Solar power in China. (2016, November 22). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:31, November 22, 2016. 

What Can We Learn From Samso, the 100% Renewable Island?

samso-island-lighthouse

Samso is a small island located on the east side of the Danish peninsula.

Home to 3,800 inhabitants, Samso became world famous in 2008 for becoming the first island run on 100% renewable energy. The project initially began in 1997, when Samso won a government competition to produce 100% of their electricity from renewable sources.

Since Samso became 100% renewable, cities, countries and islands across the world have made pledges to also go 100% renewable, including Hawaii, San Diego, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. In fact, several small cities and islands are already 100% renewable, including Aspen, Colorado, and Tokelau, a small island in the South Pacific claimed by New Zealand.Continue reading

India’s Solar Canals: Two Birds with One Stone

solar-canal-india

Finding a clever solution to two serious issues, local governments in India have been installing solar panels over water canals to provide much-needed electricity and at the same time prevent the evaporation of valuable water.

The idea started in the southern state of Gujarat, home to almost 12,000 miles of uncovered canals. Looking for an innovative way to prevent evaporation in these canals, they decided to install solar panels on steel support structures across the canals, providing shade for the water running underneath.

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Solar Panels For Sale: A Third-World Perspective

If you live in a developed country, installing solar panels on your rooftop involves selecting a solar power company from a growing list of providers and setting up an appointment.

But this is far from the case for third-world countries.

Even if you’re only researching the theoretical principles of solar energy, it’s hard not to come across an ad shouting Solar Panels for Sale! when scouring the Internet, along with statistics and facts on how much solar energy can save you in the long run.

For instance, pulling up directories that list solar companies in each U.S. state is as easy as saying 1-2-3. Americans are offered tax reduction incentives, on top of getting closer to their goal of saving money and slashing their electricity bills.

To boot, even the environmentally conscious individual can feel good about purchasing and installing solar panels, knowing he is contributing, even minimally, to the reduction of carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere.

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Why Climate Denier WattsUpWithThat Went Solar

climate denier

How – and more importantly why – some blogger has decided to go solar might not be of great interest, after all, lots of people have gone solar now. But this is not just any blogger.

Anthony Watt’s blog WattsUpWithThat is one of the most influential sources for climate denial hysteria out there.

The WattsUpWithThat argument against climate change tends to be of the “oh, the hypocrisy” variety of climate change denial. You know the kind of thing: “Fat Al Gore flies in airplanes; so climate change is a hoax.”

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Bionic Leaf 2.0 Turns Sunlight Into Liquid Fuel

bionic leaf

Bionic leaf that produces liquid fuel from carbon dioxide: Harvard scientists have surpassed the efficiency of photosynthesis 

Today, solar energy allows us to harness electricity from photovoltaic cells in a process that yields hydrogen and stores it in fuel cells. But scientists have so far failed to use this method to produce practical fuel that can be used for power. But it now appears that this may no longer be the case.

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Top 3 Innovative Uses of Solar Power for a Better Future

Image credit: Courtesy of Mike Nicolaassen

The use of solar energy has gone beyond powering people’s homes and businesses:

we’ve entered an era where solar power is used in multiple ways, including travel, edgy fashion and forward thinking architectural design.

A little over 60 years ago, photovoltaic technology was born in the United States with the development of the silicon photovoltaic (PV) cell at Bell Labs. This solar cell was capable of running everyday electrical equipment with a 4% solar efficiency. Today solar panels can reach up to a 22.5% efficiency and new, innovative engineering methods will undoubtedly be producing higher numbers in the future.

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