Friday Field Notes 091815


Have you any big plans for the weekend? We do. We’re gearing up for the National Drive Electric Event on Sunday (September 20). Like last time, we’ll be there with our trailer, showing you how easy it is to charge your car batteries with the sun. So if you’re in the area, swing by the MK Nature Center between one and four. It will be a great time to ask us your questions, in an informal setting. Plus, you’ll get to see electric vehicles—everything from golf carts to Teslas—in all their glory.

In other solar news . . .

The Volkswagen “hippy” bus is making a comeback . . . and this time it’s going to be electric (The Daily Mail).

Chase Across North America is in full swing (Fox Sports). In case you’re unfamiliar, it’s a chance for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers to interact with fans throughout the U.S. Shenanigans include taste-testing hot dogs, taking part in interviews—and driving solar powered cars.

The Washington Post discusses why using solar energy at night is closer than you think. Not to brag or anything, but we’ve pretty much been saying this all along.

In Tamil Nadu, India, the government has made it mandatory for all new highrise buildings (specifically, anything over four stories) to have solar power (The Times of India). The mandate applies to apartment buildings, as well. And while they’ve yet to work out the particulars, it seems a given that the bigger the building, the more energy it will be required to generate.

In California, lawmakers passed a bill (SB350, if you’re interested) that will increase building energy efficiency in the state by 50 percent by 2030. It will also raise the amount of renewable energy utilities must buy (Greentech Media). Sure, there remain people who are not happy with the results, but still—it’s a pretty big deal.

Speaking of rooftop solar, financial services group USB is the latest company making the news for going solar. Mainly, USB is set to employ solar PV to power their new UK headquarters in central London (Solar Power Portal). As James Sutton, project manager at EvoEnergy, explains, “The finished product not only represents a remarkable feat of engineering by incorporating a uniquely bespoke PV system on one of the most striking building in the banking quarter of London, but also sends a message that no matter how crowded a roof may be, there are ways and means to negotiate any obstacle or obstruction to promote renewable energy . . .”

Parcels of farmland near the disabled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant are once again teaming with life, thanks to the installation of solar panels (The Japan Times). The solar farm is part of the government’s reconstruction plans, following the devastation of the 2011 tsunami.

You know, when we talk of the benefits of solar power, we often speak of the cost savings, of the reduction of greenhouse gases, but we rarely talk of the hope it may offer. Pity. For hope may be the greatest benefit of all.