Bloomberg is reporting that they anticipate a sixfold increase in star capacity thanks to the efficiency of a having a naturally-occuring ball of fire in our solar system. The sun is an abundant resource which shines its rays on us and now we have the industrial means to convert the sun’s rays into a powerful electric resource.
The growth of solar installations over the last decade of furthered their adoption in a positive feedback loop of success. As more places adopt solar the cheaper it becomes and the more incentive there is to make the whole system more efficient.
The “most attractive” markets for solar panels up to 2020 are Brazil, Chile, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, according to Irena. Global capacity could reach 1,760 to 2,500 gigawatts in 2030, compared with 227 gigawatts at the end of 2015, it said.
Smart grids, or power networks capable of handling and distributing electricity from different sources, and new types of storage technologies will encourage further use of solar power, Irena said.
As of 2015, the average cost of electricity from a utility-scale solar photovoltaic system was 13 cents per kilowatt hour. That’s more than coal and gas-fired plants that averaged 5 cents to 10 cents per kilowatt hour, according to Irena. The average cost of building a solar-powered electricity utility could fall to 79 cents per watt in 2025 from $1.80 per watt last year, it said. Coal-fired power generation costs are about $3 per watt while gas plants cost $1 to $1.30 per watt, according to Irena.
In the northern half of the planet summer has started and people are feeling the burn. There’s no need to feel the burn if you practice good sun safety though. Umbrellas are an option to shade your skin as are other fashion accessories. Although sunscreen is perhaps the most convent form of sun protection when out and about.
So which sunscreen to buy? A lot of the big brands use vicious chemicals in their sunscreen formulas which can be bad for you and the environment. Next time you purchase some of that sun protecting goo check out what the Environmental Working Group has done!
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released their 2015 guide to sunscreen, and among the worst brands for sun protection is the number one culprit for toxicity and false advertising, Neutrogena.
“Neutrogena’s advertising hype is further from reality than any other major brand we studied. It claims to be the “#1 dermatologist recommended suncare brand, yet all four products highlighted on Neutrogena’s suncare web page rate 7, in the red – worst – zone in our database,” says EWG.
Not only do many Neutrogena sunscreens contain harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and methylisothiazolinone – we’ll get to those later – but their advertised SPF levels of over 70 have been debunked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. According to the federal department, SPF levels max out at about 50. Europe, Australia and Japan have already banned brands from advertising SPF levels over 50.
Read more (and see the complete list).
I’m one of those people that can’t handle unrelenting heat and so I’m always looking for ways to stay cool. I’m also one of those people who doesn’t like air conditioning (for reasons beyond the obvious power consumption), as a result I love tips on how to make your home cooler in easy ways.
At Treehugger they have a list of 10 ways to alleviate the need for AC. Some require a few years to take effect (like growing a shade tree) while others can happen right away like opening the windows.
The windows on your home are no just holes in the wall that you open or close, they are actually part of a sophisticated ventilation machine. It is another “Oldway”—People used to take it for granted that you tune them for the best ventilation, but in this thermostat age we seem to have forgotten how.
If the Treehugger list is not enough for you, don’t worry! We’ve looked at energy-free ways to stay cool in the summer before:
Keeping it Cool Without Air Conditioning
Green Ways to Stay Cool in Summer Heat
Keeping buildings cool in the summer is hard enough as it is and we have access to air conditioning technologies. Now, there’s a better way to keep buildings, cars, and whatnot thanks to some research out of Stanford University. Their new approach to cooling entire structures doesn’t require electricity and means that air conditioners won’t be needed and thus a huge decrease in energy consumption can be achieved.
A team of researchers at Stanford has designed an entirely new form of cooling structure that cools even when the sun is shining. Such a structure could vastly improve the daylight cooling of buildings, cars and other structures by reflecting sunlight back into the chilly vacuum of space.
“We’ve taken a very different approach compared to previous efforts in this field,” said Aaswath Raman, a doctoral candidate in Fan’s lab and a co-first-author of the paper. “We combine the thermal emitter and solar reflector into one device, making it both higher performance and much more robust and practically relevant. In particular, we’re very excited because this design makes viable both industrial-scale and off-grid applications.”
Read more from the press release.
Above is an excellent example of beautiful facial hair that does a good job of blocking the sun. That’s right, for those of you who can grow beards – you should. Not only do beards look good they also can serve as sunblock.
But how much sun does a good beard block if a good beard could block sun?
Answer? It blocks the sun that a good beard could block if a good beard could block sun.* At least, depending on the angle, and the thickness of the beard. But how to find out PRECISELY?!
Well for that you need SCIENCE. Science and fake heads with beards on them. On a weathervane. Really.
Parisi et al. “DOSIMETRIC INVESTIGATION OF THE SOLAR ERYTHEMAL
UV RADIATION PROTECTION PROVIDED BY BEARDS AND MOUSTACHES” Radiation Protection Dosimetry, 2012.
Read more here.