Friday Field Notes 021717

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and disheartened, take a look at this piece from Rocky Mountain Institute: Applying Hope in Today’s Tumultuous Times. It begins with a quote from Amory Lovins, “We work to make the world better, not from some airy theoretical hope, but in the pragmatic and grounded conviction that starting with hope and acting out of hope can cultivate a different kind of world worth being hopeful about . . . ” The fact of the matter is there will always be setbacks. You’ve just got to keep finding ways to move forward, trusting you will get to your destination.

With that, here’s the week in solar news . . .

Speaking of finding ways to keep moving forward: You may recall, Jimmy Carter installed thirty-two panels on the roof of the White House during his presidency (you may also recall, Reagan had them removed). Now he’s leased 10 acres of land near his home in Plains, Georgia, for a 1.3 megawatt solar farm. In his words: “Distributed, clean energy generation is critical to meeting growing energy needs around the world while fighting the effects of climate change. I am encouraged by the tremendous progress that solar and other clean energy solutions have made in recent years and expect those trends to continue.” Well done, sir; well done.

A group of governors, crossing party lines (8 Republicans, 12 Democrats, in case you’re interested) are urging President Trump to back wind and solar. Kansas Republican Sam Brownback and Rhode Island Democrat Gina Gaimondo wrote on behalf of the others: “The nation’s wind and solar energy resources are transforming low-income rural areas in ways not seen since the passage of the Homestead Act over 150 years ago.” (Bloomberg) Since many people living in low-income rural areas backed President Trump, it would behoove him to at least take a look; but we shall see . . .

Of course, if the federal government refuses to step up, there’s always the state . . . and Massachusetts is gonna go ahead and get the ball rolling. Proposed legislation, backed by more than a quarter of the state legislature, is pointing the state to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. If passed, it would make Massachusetts the first state to commit to such a target. “The supporters of this bill have joined the growing number of stakeholders and leaders who recognize the need for rapid transition to clean, renewable energy to tackle our environmental challenges,” said Rob Sargent. (Eco Watch) Here’s hoping they inspire others to do the same.

According to GTM Research, 2017 is expected to see a 7% decline in solar installations. However, before solar naysayers start popping champagne, research also predicts it’s “the calm before a wave of installations hits, starting in 2018.” (Fox Business) So, there’s that.

Imagine facing a medical emergency–and your only  mode of transportation to the hospital was a hand-pulled rickshaw van. While it may seem unimaginable to you, for many in rural Bangladesh, it’s reality. Most rural community health clinics cannot afford conventional ambulance services (nor may they fit along narrow roadways). Thankfully, there may soon be another option: low-cost, solar-powered ambulances (Reuters).

No doubt you’ve heard of little free libraries–where you can take out a book to read, and put another in, when you’re able. Well, thanks to students at Southwest Elementary, in Jacksonville, North Carolina, there are little free pantries. The boxes are filled with food, toiletries, even clothing items; solar lighting ensures contents can be accessed even after the sun goes down. “It’s hard for people to get food, so we’re helping them get food,” said Braelyn St. Romain, a first-grader. (WNCT-9)

Lastly, we’ll leave you with this little gem: 18 Wild Places to Fall in Love (Eco Watch). Because, when it comes to renewable energy, the environment, and working to make this world a better place–if you start with hope, and end with love, you’re bound to succeed.

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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.