In Japan, Abandoned Golf Courses Become Solar Farms

Golf courses have a well deserved reputation of being absolutely horrible for the environment. Golf courses are responsible for deforestation and damaging local ecological systems all while consuming an absurd amount of water.

In Japan, where many golf courses have gone out of business, they are converting the massive chunks of land into something useful: solar farms. The open fields are located near where electricity needs to go and thus are in a prime location.

Last week, Kyocera and its partners announced they had started construction on a 23-megawatt solar plant project located on an old golf course in the Kyoto prefecture. Scheduled to go operational in September 2017, it will generate a little over 26,000 megawatt hours per year, or enough electricity to power approximately 8,100 typical local households. The electricity will be sold to a local utility.

http://qz.com/445330/japan-is-building-solar-energy-plants-on-abandoned-golf-courses-and-the-idea-is-spreading/

Read More

Community Solar Garden to Open in BC

Germany, and to a lesser extent other nations, have championed community-owned sustainable energy production. In many ways it gives power to the people. Indeed, one way to encourage mass adoption of sustainable energy is to make policies which favour decentralized and community owned production. This means that big utility companies often oppose such efforts.

In British Columbia the city of Nelson may be the first city in Canada to take on this German-insipred approach. They are looking to open a solar facility which not only provides energy to the people it provides added revenue.

A community solar garden is a centralized solar panel farm that gives homeowners and businesses access to solar energy without having to install and maintain panels on their own roof.

The price of the electricity purchased from the proposed solar project in Nelson would cost residents more, but initial community feedback indicates people would be willing to pay the extra costs, said Proctor.

It’s about more than trying to save money, she said, and added costs eventually will even out.

Nelson Hydro is still working out detailed costs, but says people could end up investing something like $1,000 for a solar panel space for 25 years. They can either pay a lump sum up front or make monthly payments of about $3.47 until the solar panel space is paid off.

Read more.

Read More

MIT Encourages Solar Energy to Power the Future

Solar roof
Solar roof

Now that climate change has reached the point that it is happening regardless if we stop all human produced carbon output we desperately need to change how we generate electricity. MIT has concluded that a mass adaptation of solar energy is the best route to go. They argue that by installing solar panels far nearly everywhere we can generate more than we need to power the planet.

Solar electricity generation is one of “very few low-carbon energy technologies” with the potential to grow to very large scale, the study said. “As a consequence, massive expansion of global solar-generating capacity to multi-terawatt scale is a very likely and essential component of a workable strategy to mitigate climate change risk.”

The research strongly recommends that a large fraction of federal resources available for solar R&D focus on environmentally benign, emerging thin-film technologies that are based on Earth-abundant materials.

Read More

Read More

Community-Owned Green Businesses Seeing Great Growth

Community-Owned sustainable energy companies aren’t new, but they are successful! One of the reasons Germany’s push to a sustainable energy grid has worked is that local community own and operate solar farms, wind farm, and so on. Now that citizen-empowering model is

According to a new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), there was a 31% jump in renewable energy sector investment across Canada in 2014 with $8 billion spent on developing green energy projects. Locally, community co-ops have developed over 75 projects in the Greater Toronto Area, including on rooftops in Toronto, Hamilton, Brampton, Vaughan, Markham and Mississauga, with many more to come.

“These are very exciting times for renewable energy. Costs have dropped significantly, technology has improved, and electricity system managers have made the leap on integrating these new energy sources. The result is a big upswing in jobs and investment in this sector, exactly what our country needs right now with our oil sector stalling out and the threat of climate change growing,” says Judith Lipp, President of the Federation of Community Power Cooperatives (FCPC).

Read more.

Read More

New Solar Cell Technology, Perovskite, Shows Promise

Solar power is getting cheaper every year and that trend seems to never end. Now there’s a new (and maybe even cheaper) technology for solar energy generation. The reason this new approach of using perovskite solar cells is important is that it permits the easy implementation of solar technology into area previously considered impractical.

First created in 2012, perovskite solar cells have shown great promise in recent years as an affordable alternative to other solar technologies, such as photovoltaic cells typically used in solar panels. Now scientists from Wake Forest University and the University of Utah have described the very first example of field-effect modulation in perovskites (i.e. their use in transistors), with potentially far-reaching implications.

Until now, researchers have been unable to fabricate field-effect transistors to measure the charge transport of the materials. Necessary prerequisites for a material that forms an efficient solar cell are strong optical absorption and efficient charge carrier transport. With these first generation transistors, researchers from Wake Forest and Utah were able for the first time to directly measure the ability of hybrid perovskites to transport charge, widening the spectrum of possible applications of these materials.

Read more.

Read More