Friday Field Notes 021916


As you may know, the Supreme Court recently issued a stay to halt the Clean Power Plan (pending judicial review). But don’t lose hope, brave pilgrims! The Rocky Mountain Institute reminds us of 10 Things More Important than the Clean Power Plan in Limiting Carbon Emissions in the U.S.  So we can keep plugging away and doing our bit to cut carbon emissions . . .

This week in solar news:

We’ve long extolled the durability of solar panels (they come with a 20+ year warranty for crying out loud). Thankfully, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) does not want panel manufacturers to rest on their laurels. A new international quality standard outlines how photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers must consider possible failures – and work to curtail them; obtain International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) certification; monitor panel performance; and improve product tracking (for recalls or warranty claims). It also lays the groundwork for auditing processes (Clean Technica).

Florida will soon boast more than 225 megawatts (MW) of new solar capacity, thanks to the construction of three large solar plants by Florida utility Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). Some 250 employees are expected to install around one million solar panels in the coming year (PV Tech). Do stay tuned.

Catching the Sun, the opening documentary of the 2016 Melbourne environmental film festival, explores the economic benefits of solar power (The Guardian). It begins in Richmond, Virginia – where a faltering manufacturing industry has left many destitute. And that’s where Solar Richmond, a program that creates “green-job opportunities,” comes in. The documentary highlights solar jobs, sure; but it also highlights how solar can bring people together.

Listen up, all you megastores: it’s high time you took one for the team and installed solar panels on your rooftops! OK, that may be a touch dramatic; but your rooftops are (more than likely) flat, unoccupied, and basking in the sun a good part of the day. As a matter of fact, according to the NREL, big box stores in the U.S. have 4.5 billion cumulative square feet of available rooftop (ecowatch). That space could generate a lot of power for local communities. Something to ponder . . .

With the seemingly selfish response of some utilities in light of solar, it may be easy to think going off-grid is the best answer. Rodney Stewart discusses why you shouldn’t be hasty in making that decision (Universal Science). Hint: we need to work toward a system that is a win for us all.

And in news that reminds us we are, indeed, living in the future: here’s a solar powered home that moves with the sun. It can also shape-shift. An app controls the layout; so, if you’re having a party over the weekend, say, just tap the screen a couple of times and voila—dance floor!  (Fast Co.)


Now, for our disclaimer: Friday Fields Notes is a weekly post about the goings on in (and possibly around) the field of solar. We simply link to news articles from the week (to help you stay in the loop); while we try to stick with reputable sources, we cannot attest to the accuracy of each and every piece. Furthermore, the links and subsequent views and commentary are purely the opinion of the writers. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the company, nor should they be considered professional opinion, backing, and/or advice.