Friday Field Notes 120117

According to a new report from Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), when it comes to K-12 schools in the United States, solar power is passing with flying colors. Specifically, there are currently 5,489 schools (elementary through high school) being powered by solar. You can read the entire report–and learn more infographic style–via The Solar Foundation. Seeing how there’s been a lot of crummy news as of late, this just might give you a little hope for the future, too.

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

Congratulations to Cara Clairman, Plug’n Drive’s President and CEO, this year’s recipient of Women in Renewable Energy Woman of the Year Award. In case you’re unfamiliar, Plug’n Drive seeks to advance the adoption of electric vehicles (Clean Technica). And Women in Renewable Energy? Well, they seek to advance the role of women in the renewable energy industry.

The Belridge oil field near Bakersfield, California–one of the largest oil fields in the country–is about to go solar. “I think it’s a false solution to think you can only do one or the other [oil or solar],” says Simon Mui, director of California vehicles and fuels for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “And I think the state policies are looking to do two things: one is accelerate the transition to electric-drive technologies and other alternative sources, as well as to clean up the existing fossil-fuel infrastructure. You kind of have to do both to meet both state and global air-quality and greenhouse-gas targets.” (HeraldNet)

Interested in how developing nations are driving record growth in solar? Well, Carbon Brief has you covered.

What are certain Swiss scientists up to? Oh, you know, making jet fuel out of air, sunlight, and water. In the words of Dr. Furler, “Oil is a limited resource; at some point you will run out. What we propose is another route to the same chemical, using solar energy.” (EcoWatch) Ah, smart people . . .

Speaking of smart, check out this Smart greenhouse. It’s made up of a Wavelength Selective Photovoltaic System (WSPV), which uses transparent roof panels imbedded with a magenta luminescent dye to absorb some of the blue and green wavelengths of sunlight and transfer it to narrow photovoltaic strips that generate electricity. Michael Loil, professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, explains: “I thought the plants would grow more slowly, because it’s darker under these pink panels. The color of the light makes it like being on the Red Planet. Plants are sensitive not just to the intensity of light, but also to color . . . turns out the plants grow just as well.” If not better. (Clean Technica) Crazy, no?

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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.