Friday Field Notes 071516

SolarFieldNotes

We were in San Francisco this week, attending Intersolar North America. It’s our chance to connect with others in the business of solar; get a closer look at products and services; and see what’s coming down the pike. It also allows us to get a pulse on the state of the industry.  India and China, for instance. Both are set to lead solar markets in the coming years; but they must also maneuver a good share of risk (Forbes). As always, time will tell.

In other solar news . . .

Winston Churchill once said, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” Seems Nevadans are taking those words to heart. Some 55,000 registered Nevada voters signed petitions that seek to expand the energy marketplace and change solar net metering provisions in Nevada; the petitions were approved this week (News 4 and Fox 11).

More and more people are taking to community solar (analysts predict there will be 500 MW worth by 2020). To help, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), along with the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), released The Residential Consumer Guide to Community Solar. So if you’ve been toying with the idea, check out it.

How do large solar parks affect the environment? Thanks to environmental scientists at Lancaster University and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, we have an idea. They studied a large solar park near Swindon (Wiltshire, South West England) — to give farmers and land managers understanding, to maximize biodiversity and improve yields. “This understanding becomes even more compelling when applied to areas that are very sunny that may also suffer water shortages. The shade under panels may allow crops to be grown that can’t survive in full sun. Also, water losses may be reduced and water could be collected from the large surfaces of the solar panels and used for crop irrigation.” (phys.org) Not bad, wouldn’t you say?

If you’re thinking of installing solar on your home, now’s the time to do it. That’s the official word, by the way, straight from  Consumer Reports: “There has probably never been a better time to switch to solar.” (Clean Technica)

Perovskites–the good, the bad, the ugly–have made the news quite a bit lately. Here’s the latest: according to a new study by researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Perovskite solar cells may degrade in sunlight; they may also heal themselves in darkness (U.S. Department of Energy). Intriguing, no? Also, check out the cool close-up . . .

Arshad Saleem explains how the energy dilemma is something of a three piece puzzle–with storage being the missing piece. “The technology is there, but smarter business models are required to allow them to take off” (Energy Storage). In other words, we need to get our act together.

Oh, and don’t miss the Monaco Solar Boat Challenge (July 14-16). It’s your chance to watch some of the world’s most innovative sailors race against each other in their custom-built, solar-powered boats. According to Gerard van der Schaar, the 2015 winner, it may be a close one. “Yes, our boat is in good condition . . . but, I must say, we are now in close combat with another team. Normally, we have a bigger difference, but now it is very close. So in Monaco, it will be really exciting (CNN).

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Now, for our disclaimer: Friday Field 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.