Friday Field Notes 032219

If you’re looking for some good, warm weather reading, Arizona State University just released a sci-fi anthology about the future of solar power. According to the introduction by Editor Joey Eschrich, the University’s Center for Science and Imagination brought together experts, authors, and artists to “create technically grounded, inspiring visions of a future shaped by a transition to clean, plentiful solar.” You can download The Weight of Light: A Collection of Solar Futures for free from the center’s site (The Verge). So happy spring, to you!

Now, for other solar news of the week . . .

Intel, Microsoft, Google, Khol’s, Apple, Starbucks, Walmart, IKEA, Mars, Capital One . . . some big-name corporations are going solar. And it looks as though BP may be joining their number. Rumor has it BP is in talks to buy solar energy to power operations in the United States. “It’s a no-brainer for them to play in solar,” says Lightsource BP chief commercial officer Katherine Ryzhaya. “They’re doing it for financial reasons.” (Bloomberg) You don’t say: a company doing something for financial gain? That’s weird (in case you’re unfamiliar with such things).

Solar naysayers have long espoused the following argument: solar is not a smart solution, because it cannot survive without subsidies. Well, it seems their argument is not holding up well. Not only has subsidy-free solar done quite nicely in Southern European markets, thank you very much, it’s now spreading northward across Europe (GreenTech Media).

Mining is a cornerstone of Chile’s economy. In mining, bodies of water called tailing ponds contain the refuse; when water evaporates by the sun, it must be replaced with fresh water, a scarce commodity. Their solution: a 12,917-square-foot floating array run by Anglo American mining company. The project will be tested at their Los Bronces mine. According to Patricio Chacana, Los Bronces’ vice president of operations, “With this system, we can make our fresh water consumption more efficient, in line with our goal of re-imagining mining and reducing Anglo American’s fresh water consumption by 50 percent by 2030, as well as the CO2 emissions by producing non-polluting energy.” (Electric Light & Power)

Ever heard the saying, “Rise and shine it’s marijuana time?” Well, it could very well be the new theme song for U.S. cannabis cultivator Canndescent. They recently installed the industry’s first commercial scale solar project; the 734 modules, installed on carports, will produce electricity for its indoor production facility in Desert Hot Springs, California. Tom DiGiovanni, Canndescent’s chief compliance officer explains: “Given the restrictions around cannabis banking and lending and the complexities of energy projects and California civil construction in general, this was extraordinarily difficult to pull off.” (Renewables Now) Where there’s a will, there’s a way . . . 

Australia’s Casey Research Station in Antarctica has gone solar (at least partially). The one-hundred-plus solar panels will provide about ten percent of the energy used by the station each year. According to Mr. Kim Ellis, Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) director, “This is the first solar power array at an Australian Antarctic research station and amongst the largest in Antarctica.” (The New Daily)

Check out this solar powered home in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles. Not only does it boast rooftop solar and solar hot water, but passive heating and cooling as well, including cooling ocean breezes and thermal mass concrete floors (Inhabitat). I must admit: I’m not the biggest fan of modern (or even mid-century modern), nor am I fond of obscene square footage . . . but I’m fairly certain I could get used to lounging about in such an abode. At least I’d be willing to give it a try.

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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 commentary are purely the opinions of the writers. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the company, nor should they be considered professional opinion, backing, and/or advice.