Friday Field Notes 072817

Can you believe we’re nearing the end of July? With that, chances are good you’ve heard a thing or two about the upcoming total solar eclipse. Dubbed the “Great American” Eclipse, the last time a total solar eclipse swept across the United States was in 1979. Since it’s been awhile, Newsweek (along with others) offer tips for watching the show, safely.

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

Speaking of space, NASA is on a mission to power Mars with solar. The 2018 Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge calls upon university students to come up with “efficient, reliable, and cost-effective solar power systems that can operate on Mars both day and night.” (Market Insider) I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

Oh, the U.S. Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative launched its “Hit Me with Your SunShot” photo contest, which runs through August 17. If you’re interested, check out their 5 Tips for Capturing Compelling Solar Power Photos.

Looks like solar power is sprouting up across the produce industry. Salinas, California-based Tanimura & Antle, Inc., for instance, dedicates 150 acres of land on their largest ranch to a solar farm. According to their vice president of brand marketing & communications, “Conserving energy and improving energy efficiency not only decreases our environmental footprint, it’s smart farming, too.” (The Packer) Hmm, word.

The City of Tallahassee is looking to end it’s lease with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in operating the Corn Hyrdro-plant. Why? To focus on solar power. Rob McGarrah, the general manager of the City’s Electric Utilities, explains: “When we look at the cost of generating at the hydro facility, which costs us about $85 per megawatt hour historically, we can get the same type of renewable generation from solar for less. For $50 per megawatt hour.” (WCTV)

Over in South Miami, a proposal from a teenage climate activist led to the passing of a new law requiring solar panels on all new homes built in the city (EcoWatch). Geez. Kids these days.

You may recall from last week: a leaked draft of a study shows renewable energy is not harming the grid. Now the skuttlebutt is that the final version may say something entirely different. Will it now–and why am I not entirely surprised? Anyway, Mark Ahlstrom (Quartz), discusses why claims that renewable energy threatens the stability of the U.S. power grid is ludicrous.

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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 more reputable sources, we cannot attest to the accuracy of each and every piece. Furthermore, the links and subsequent 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.