Singapore’s Spectacular Solar Supertrees open this month at the Gardens by the Bay

Solar Supertree in Singapore
These amazing towers, which reach up to 164 feet 50 meters in height, bring together the best of solar technology and vertical gardening. The Bay South Garden will showcase 18 Supertrees, which will also function as air ventilation ducts for nearby conservatories and collect rain water during Singapore’s frequent storms.

via Singapore’s Spectacular Solar Supertrees Open this Month at the Gardens by the Bay! | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

Recipe For Safer Drinking Water? Add Sun, Salt And Lime

Recipe For Safer Drinking Water? Add Sun, Salt And Lime : The Salt : NPR

By Gretchen Cuda Kroen (NPR) Pouring water into clear plastic bottles and placing them in the sun can kill disease causing organisms in about six hours. It’s a simple and cheap method that’s been around forever, and it helps. (Who says sun tea isn’t safe?)

But there’s a hitch – the water has to be clear enough for the sun’s rays to penetrate – and much of the world’s water supply is murky from the clay soils in riverbeds and lake bottoms that mix with the water. Enter the scientists.

“Basically, you need to be able to read a newspaper through it. That means it’s clear enough for the UV radiation to penetrate and kill the pathogens. If you can’t see through it, it just won’t work,” explains Joshua Pierce, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Michigan Tech.

Pierce and his colleagues discovered that by adding a little table salt to this murky water, they could get the particles of clay to stick together and settle to the bottom, making the water clear enough to purify using the solar disinfection method. They also found that the addition of salt works best for certain kinds of clay soils, namely bentonite, and not so well with others. But when they added a little bentonite along with salt to water that contained other types of clay soils, it worked just as well.

via Recipe For Safer Drinking Water? Add Sun, Salt And Lime : The Salt : NPR.

Atop A Landfill, U.S. Marine Corps Installs 1.4 Megawatt Solar System

By Lora Kolodny (GreenTech) The United States Marine Corps completed its largest solar installation to date — a 1.4 megawatt ground-mounted system — that will generate electricity for Base Camp Pendleton outside of San Diego, Calif. The system was installed atop an inactive landfill.

via Atop A Landfill, U.S. Marine Corps Installs 1.4 Megawatt Solar System.

A solar land auction in Arizona

Vermaland, a land holding company in Phoenix, will hold an auction on June 6 to sell off 1,938 acres that it says could accommodate 388 megawatts of electricity, according to the company. That would be enough to power 100,000 homes, says Vermaland.

Arizona has been trying to promote solar in its borders with credits and incentives for manufacturers and consumers. Arizona Public Service has a mandate to provide 4.5 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2014. The state offers a $3 per watt credit, nearly twice as high as California’s. Baseline power in the state, however, is comparatively cheap so some of the advantage is eroded. Nonetheless, some power providers want to produce power in Arizona to sell to California.

One of the state’s chief assets, of course, is the sun and empty land. Sempra Generation, an independent power provider, has said it will build more than 300 megawatts of PV parks on 4,000 acres it owns near Phoenix. Land was part of the motivation behind First Solar’s purchase of Optisolar. First Solar is discarding Optisolar’s technology but keeping the deals and land rights.

Read the rest A Solar Land Auction in Arizona : Greentech Media.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: It’s time for a solar revolution

Today, 92 percent of all Americans want our country to develop solar energy resources, and 77 percent believe the federal government should make solar power development a national priority.That is why I was joined by 10 of my colleagues Senators Whitehouse, Cardin, Gillibrand, Merkley, Lautenberg, Leahy, Boxer, Menendez, Specter, and Harkin in introducing the Ten Million Solar Roofs Act.

The bill is all of 9 pages and is pretty straightforward. It calls for 10 million new solar rooftop systems and 200,000 new solar water heating systems over the next 10 years. When fully implemented, this legislation would lead to 30,000 megawatts of new photovoltaic energy, triple our total current U.S. solar energy capacity. It will increase by almost 20 times our current energy output from photovoltaic panels.

The legislation will rapidly increase production of solar panels, driving down the price of photovoltaic systems. It also would mean the creation of over a million new jobs. The passage of this bill would dramatically reorient our energy priorities and would be a major step forward toward a clean energy future for the United States.

Read the rest: Sen. Bernie Sanders: It’s Time For a Solar Revolution.

Solar powered irrigation systems improve diet and income in rural sub Saharan

Solar-powered drip irrigation systems significantly enhance household incomes and nutritional intake of villagers in arid sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new Stanford University study to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study found that solar-powered pumps installed in remote villages in the West African nation of Benin provide a cost- effective way of delivering much-needed irrigation water, particularly during the long dry season. The results are scheduled to be published the week of Jan. 4 in the online edition of PNAS.

via Solar powered irrigation systems improve diet and income in rural sub Saharan.

Pasadena’s ESolar lands 2,000-megawatt deal in China

By Todd Woody

(LA Times) ESolar Inc. of Pasadena signed an agreement Friday to build a series of solar thermal power plants in China with a total capacity of 2,000 megawatts, in one of the largest renewable energy deals of its kind.

Coming four months after an Arizona company, First Solar, secured a contract to build an equally large photovoltaic power plant in China, the ESolar deal signals China's emergence as a major market for renewable energy.

“They’re moving very fast, much faster than the state and U.S. governments are moving,” said Bill Gross, ESolar’s chairman and the founder of Idealab.

Read the rest: Pasadena’s ESolar lands 2,000-megawatt deal in China – latimes.com.

Elusive Goal of Greening U.S. Energy

The Great Green Hope for lifting America’s economy is not looking so robust.

President Obama, both during his campaign and in his first year in office, has promoted the promise of new jobs in cutting-edge, nonpolluting industries, and such green jobs will be a major issue at his jobs “summit” meeting Thursday.

But, increasingly, skeptics who point to the need for more jobs are wondering why he is not doing more to create green jobs faster.

Growth in clean energy industries and in green jobs has been considerably slower and bumpier than anticipated, industry experts say.

But rather than giving up on its green jobs mantra, the White House will rededicate itself to promoting green industries at the jobs meeting, which will bring together business and labor leaders, politicians and economists.

The initial promise of green jobs was based on governments around the world declaring the fight against global warming to be a priority. The theory was that jobs in environmentally minded companies would grow rapidly as a result. But instead, some green-industry companies have been shedding jobs in the United States, and in some cases moving them to China.

Last week, the Gamesa wind turbine plant in western Pennsylvania announced it was laying off nearly half its 280 workers. Last month, General Electric said it would close a solar panel factory in Delaware, while Evergreen Solar, which received $58 million in state aid to build a 900-employee plant northwest of Boston, said it would move some assembly to China, costing 250 jobs.

To read complete article by Steven Greenhouse go to NYTimes.com

California home owners’ association forced to allow solar panels

Mike Bartz, back to camera, and his brother Bradley install solar panels to power a pump for a hot tub in Palos Verdes Estates. (Jay L. Clendenin /os Angeles Times / November 20, 2009)

Mike Bartz, back to camera, and his brother Bradley install solar panels to power a pump for a hot tub in Palos Verdes Estates. (Jay L. Clendenin Los Angeles Times / November 20, 2009)

Ready to chuck his electric bills, Camarillo resident Marc Weinberg last year asked his homeowners association for permission to put solar panels on his roof.

When the Spanish Hills Homeowners Assn. said no, Weinberg sued the group. Under the state’s Solar Rights Act, he argued, a homeowners association can’t unreasonably block solar installations.

Weinberg won, and the Spanish Hills Homeowners Assn. was ordered to not only permit the solar panels but to cover the tens of thousands of dollars that Weinberg had spent on legal fees. Since last fall, when he installed a double row of matte black panels, three other homes in the hilltop neighborhood of luxury estates have added panels.

Whether motivated by pocketbook or environmentalism, similar battles between homeowners groups and property owners are cropping up across the state as the installation of solar systems becomes more affordable and utility costs rise.

via Solar panels causing some storms — latimes.com.

Next Gen Notables: The Single-Family Power Plant

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Metropolis’s 2009 Next Generation competition received scores of entries, from which this year’s jury chose one winner and eight runners-up to be recognized in the May issue of the magazine. But there were far more than just nine good ideas in the bunch. The judges also selected 12 “notables”—entries that, for various reasons, fell short of the final selection, but that the jurors felt still deserved recognition. To that end, we will be posting one notable Next Generation proposal every Thursday for the next three months. In doing so, we hope to foster discussion that will help the teams refine their ideas, connect with like-minded readers, and perhaps even implement their projects in the real world.

This week: Emilio Ramirez’s proposal, Feeding the Addiction: The Emergence of the Single Family Power Plant, which envisions a low-cost, renewable energy production and delivery system that could turn homes and businesses into self-sustaining energy producers. How would it work?

According to Ramirez, a private energy company would design, fabricate, and install the mini power plants, which would concentrate solar heat on a collector plate to boil a fluid and create steam. That steam then turns a turbine engine that rotates an alternator for an estimated daily output of 84 kilowatt hours.
To read article by Mason Curry go to metropolismag.com