Friday Field Notes 042916


There’s been no lack of media coverage since the death of Prince. Amidst it all, Van Jones—activist, author, CNN commentator—shared the man few of us had the chance to know: “He cared about life and love and freedom. His politics were not red. They were not blue. They were purple. He had a mind that let him see answers – musically, spiritually, even politically. Rather than argue about global warming, he said, ‘Let’s help kids put up solar panels.’” (The Guardian) In that, it seems the best memorial we can give is to pick up where he left off: to love and to laugh; to give without fanfare; to do what we can to make this world a better place—so it might continue on, long after we’re gone.

Now, for this week in solar news . . .

The solar powered airplane, Solar Impulse 2, finally made its way to the U.S. mainland—taking off from Hawaii and landing in California (Moffett Field). In honor of the occasion, Wired had themselves a chat with Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg (pilot and co-pilot); they even afforded us a closer look at the plane, and what it takes to fly it.

Blackouts remain a potential (and serious) threat in California. Some argue they’ll be just the thing to propel solar and distributed power generation into the limelight (Triple Pundit). I’m sure we can all agree we’d rather it not get to that point.

We’ve long been fans of the microgrid. A Microgrid Grows In Brooklyn offers a great look as to why . . . (Scientific America).

Speaking of which, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Stage 2 of the NY Prize microgrid competition. Specifically, eight projects will be awarded $1 million each, for their engineering designs and business plans for community microgrids (PV Tech).

First they announced a decree: plants or solar panels on all new rooftops. Now France has announced they will become the first country to issue “green bonds” to fund environmentally friendly projects.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) is upping the ante in terms of helping their communities by partnering with solar. Today, PG&E connects a new solar customer every seven minutes. Now they’re committing $1 million toward the installation of rooftop solar on Habitat for Humanity homes. In the words of Kris Leja, Interim CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, “Thanks to our partnership with PG&E and the Solar Habitat Program, Habitat homeowners spend less on electricity, and that helps us keep the overall cost of homeownership low. This is a critical piece of the overall affordability of Habitat homes.” (Clean Technica)

Finally, “your crappy old phone battery could power a solar lamp for 3 years” (Science Alert). Lead researcher Boucar Diouf tried it out and writes of his findings in Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy: “When one mobile phone battery is recycled, about 130 g of CO2 will be kept away from the environment daily. When three batteries are assembled in a system, a full room will be illuminated allowing studying, safety, healthy lighting, or other income generating activities.”


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.