Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) – Photos

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)! Wondering how to live greener? You’ve come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task … or “amp up” something we’re already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power … the power to Change The World!If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we’ve taken on

2015 SkS Weekly Digest #3

SkS Highlights Dana’s Global warming made 2014 a record hot year – in animated graphics received the highest number of comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Comments Policy Update The SkS Comments Policy was amended with the addition of the following sentence. Moderation complaints are always off topic and will be deleted. El Niño Watch There has been a lot of buzz over the last few months of an El Nino taking shape across the globe. These often bring wet conditions to the southern and western U.S. and warmer conditions to the state of Minnesota. But recent observations are showing that our El Nino may not even

Call to climate scientists: submit your quote for 97 Hours of Consensus 2015

On 7 September 2014, we launched 97 Hours of Consensus. Every hour for 97 consecutive hours, we published a cartoon of a climate scientist with a quote about climate change. We also published a very cool interactive webpage. Our purpose: to raise awareness of the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming. The series was an amazing success. We reached millions of people through social and mainstream media, including President Obama tweeting about 97 hours to 43 million followers: On 7 September 2015, we’re repeating 97 Hours of Consensus with another 97 climate scientists. But with a different approach. This time, we’re asking climate scientists to submit their quotes to us. So this is my call to action to the climate science community

Guest Post – Recycling Cell Phones – GreenBuyback – Be Green | Get Green

According to the Electronics Take Back Coalition, consumers purchased 1.8 billion cell phones in 2013. 125 million of those phones are iPhones alone. It is anticipated that the US will increase purchases of cell phones to a projected 1.96 billion in 2015. These are tremendous numbers and are consistently trending upwards. There is a major concern for the amount of potential e-waste this could create if consumers are throwing these phones away after they upgrade to a new phone. What happens if cell phones end up in a landfill?Cell phones and accessories contain heavy metals such

Reduce Footprints is back with some changesfor 2015

Welcome back to Reduce Footprints! I hope you enjoyed the holidays and are eager to embrace a new year!While on hiatus, I thought about how to make Reduce Footprints a better blog. Here’s what we’ll be doing this year:WHAT’S NEWOwning Property & Building a HouseIn April of 2014, “Art” and I bought some property and began building a home. This year I’d like to share some of

First Solar Now Officially in the Silicon PV Production Business

First Solar’s TetraSun silicon solar photovoltaic production line is officially in service. The line, located at First Solar’s Kulim, Malaysia manufacturing facility, has capacity for 100 megawatts of annual module production. This was initially reported in Daily Express, the “independent national newspaper of East Malaysia.” First Solar's spokesperson confirmed the news and noted that “a portion of the initial TetraSun production is allotted to customers in Japan; our global business development team will look for additional opportunities where appropriate,” adding, “We are starting with limited production on this initial

A Reminder to Investors Dumping Solar Stocks: PV and Oil Rarely Mix

One of the most important stories of the last year was the collapse in global oil prices that began in June 2014 and continues in 2015. It has created a lot of confusion among investors eyeing the impact on renewables, particularly solar PV. Falling oil prices will have an extremely limited impact on wholesale or retail electricity prices, which are the core

Here’s How the US Solar-Storage Market Reaches $1B in 3 Years

GTM Research projects a $1 billion U.S. market for battery-backed solar PV systems by 2018. But that growth won’t come evenly — and which of the 40-plus contenders in solar storage will succeed remains an open question. GTM Research’s new report, The Future of Solar-Plus-Storage in the U.S., lays out some key success factors for companies seeking to capture a share of this new market, which is set to grow fiftyfold to 318 cumulative megawatts installed by 2018. In dollar terms

Global warming made 2014 a record hot year – in animated graphics

NASA and NOAA have just reported that global surface temperatures in 2014 were the hottest on record. That also means 2014 was the likely hottest the Earth has been in millennia, and perhaps as much as 100,000 years. But what’s really remarkable is that 2014 set this record without the aid of an El Niño event. El Niño events create conditions in which sea surface and hence

Solar Is Adding Jobs 20 Times Faster Than the Broader Economy, but ‘All Bets Are Off’ in 2017

According to survey data from The Solar Foundation, there are 173,807 solar workers in the U.S., up from 142,689 in the previous year, making the solar industry one of the bright spots in the U.S. job market. Between November 2013 and November 2014, solar employment increased by nearly 22 percent, almost twenty times faster than employment in the overall economy, according to the jobs census. Over the last five years, solar industry employment has grown by 86 percent, amounting to about 80,000 new jobs. This doesn't come as much of a surprise. According to data from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, it’s estimated that more than 7,200 megawatts

Uncertainty, sensitivity and policy: Kevin Cowtan’s AGU presentation

The surface thermometer record forms a key part of our knowledge of the climate system. However it is easy to overlook the complexities involved in creating an accurate global temperature record from historical thermometer readings. If the limitations of the thermometer record are not understood, we can easily draw the wrong conclusions. I reevaluated a well known climate

Report: Solar Is Cheaper Than the Grid in 42 of the 50 Largest US Cities

Millions of people live in cities where going solar would cost them less than their current utility rates — and most of them don’t even know it. According to a new report by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, backed by the SunShot Initiative, a fully financed solar PV system costs less than the energy purchased from a residential customer’s local utility in 42 of the 50 largest cities in the United States. Among

Can Moore’s Law Be Applied to Power Electronics for Solar and Storage?

Antoine Paquin, CEO of Ontario, Canada- and Silicon Valley-based Solantro Semiconductor, believes Moore's law can lower the cost of solar power electronics. (Yes, Moore's law is not a law; it's more of an observation. And the original idea applied to transistor density growth over time. We'll use it as shorthand for the way silicon drives computing power, as well as cost and size reduction.) While laptops and consumer electronics follow Moore's law of performance doubling every eighteen months or so, some have said that the grid hews more closely to Westinghouse's law, with big change happening every 50 to 70 years. Paquin believes that horizontal integration in inverters will yield more

A new sea level curve

The “zoo” of global sea level curves calculated from tide gauge data has grown – tomorrow a new reconstruction of our US colleagues around Carling Hay from Harvard University will appear in Nature. That is a good opportunity for an overview over the available data curves. The differences are really in the details, the “big picture” of sea-level rise does not change. In all curves, the current rates of rise are the highest since records began. The following graph shows the new sea level curve as compared to six known ones. Fig 1 Sea level curves calculated by different research groups with various methods. The curves show the sea level

GTM Research Identifies Regulatory Developments Driving the Utility of the Future

Across the country, utilities are beginning to confront the most dramatic transformation of their business in the past century. They face challenges from customer-owned distributed energy resources (DERs), as well as opportunities in the form of smarter distribution grid technology and analytics, both of which lead to new models for electricity delivery and consumption. Regulators will be solely responsible for designing these models, with an emphasis on fostering innovation and improvement while maintaining reliability and containing costs. For

Worries About Consumers Cutting Utility Ties Are Overblown, Say Moody’s Analysts

Many years ago, utilities awoke to a threat that an industry trade group warned might cause “major disruptions” to electricity supplies. Worries about the threat ran all the way up to the White House and Congress, where politicians predicted an unraveling of the electric system. “I think we're no longer at the point of asking whether or not there will be any power disruptions, but we are now forced to ask how severe the disruptions are going to be,” said Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd. No, these warnings were not about a utility death spiral. They were about Y2K, the overhyped doomsday scenario for glitchy computers that never materialized. A

How EVs Could Impact the Grid in 4 Charts

Plug-in vehicles currently have a negligible effect on the electrical grid, according to the results from six utility smart grid projects funded by the Department of Energy. But that’s likely to change as electric vehicle (EV) adoption continues to grow over the next decade. There are relatively few EVs in the U.

The 3 Best Ways to Optimize a Commercial PV System

Commercial solar designers are increasingly using system optimization as the way to drive performance and decrease system costs. As module and inverter prices drop, soft-cost reduction through design optimization is the next major opportunity to bring down system cost. “Design optimization can improve system performance without increasing cost, which can really swing a project from a ‘no’ to a ‘yes,’” says Michael La Marca,

A Solar System Is Installed in America Every 2.5 Minutes

In 2013, we reported that a solar installation was being completed every four minutes in America. Installation volumes have increased considerably since then. According to new data from GTM Research, the U.S. solar industry completed a project every two and a half minutes in 2014. Those installations were a result of $15 billion in investment. The growth was led by the residential sector, where 200,000 systems were affixed to rooftops around the country. That's up from 50,000 residential systems in 2011 — fourfold growth in the span of three years. “Residential solar is the fastest-growing — and potentially the most transformative — sector of the solar market,” said Shayle Kann, senior VP of GTM Research. President Obama mentioned GTM Research's

Corrosive Seawater, Not Low pH, Implicated As Cause of Oyster Deaths

Key Points: Because of the geologically-rapid emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by human industrial activities, and the subsequent dissolution of this CO2 into the global oceans, ocean pH and carbonate saturation state are currently declining in tandem – a process known as ocean acidification. Over geological timescales, however, ocean pH and carbonate saturation (corrosiveness) tend to become disassociated. This explains why the ancient oceans were highly saturated with carbonates and therefore conducive to calcification (calcium carbonate shell formation) at times of high CO2 in Earth’s past even though ocean pH was lower than it is today. Waldbusser et al (2014) conducted a series of experiments with oyster and

2015 SkS Weekly Digest #2

SkS Highlights Not pHraud but pHoolishness, a guest post by Richard Telford attracted the most comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Another guest post, Climate Deniers Employ Predatory Tactics in Fight Against Facts: Scientist by Deirdre Fulton attracted the second highest number of comments. Be sure to check out our new feature, Media Matters Posts about Environment & Science El Niño Watch Japan’s weather bureau said on Friday the El Nino weather pattern, often linked to both heavy rainfall and drought,

Why California Needs to Think Differently About How It Supports Energy Efficiency

The imperative to change the way California implements energy efficiency is compelling and immediate. California’s energy efficiency programs are not meeting today’s grid-scale and local distribution service challenges, nor are they capable of supporting the state’s climate goals. Even with the state’s massive ratepayer-funded efficiency programs since the 2000-2001 energy crisis, energy use and peak loads have increased, and they are forecast to continue to grow. Peak demand

Climate Deniers Employ Predatory Tactics in Fight Against Facts: Scientist

Climate Deniers Employ Predatory Tactics in Fight Against Facts: Scientist by Deirdre Fulton was originally posted on Common Dreams on Jan 6, 2015. Michael Mann writes that the strategy ‘is similar to what happens when a group of lions on the Serengeti seek out a vulnerable individual zebra at the edge of a herd.’ “The ‘Serengeti strategy’ is often employed wherever there is a