solar power


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Eyes on the Solar Photovoltaic Revolution: 35 Years in a Front-Row Seat

Howard Branz, , UCS

When I got into solar energy research in 1981, I wanted to change the world. I worried to my father that I’d never see widespread use of solar energy in my lifetime. That made him worry, too—about my future job prospects. As it turned out, there were plenty of jobs and I got to play my part in the history of human technology. I was one of a dedicated legion of scientists, engineers, technicians, laboratories and companies who eventually made photovoltaic cells into a commodity product: durable panels that achieve a miraculous-seeming conversion of sunlight to electricity, without needing any moving parts.

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Bright Spots in Solar in the Election’s Aftermath

, senior analyst, Clean Energy

Sure, the outcome of the election has raised questions about how the President-elect and his team will impact the country’s transition to a cleaner, healthier, and safer electricity system. But regardless of how the politics du jour feel about renewables, the science has not changed: generating electricity from renewables like wind and solar does not cause pollution that harms our health or our planet. Read more >

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Climate Policy: Physical Reliability vs Economic Philosophy

, senior energy analyst, Climate & Energy Program

As states get serious about reducing climate-harming carbon pollution, their decisions will guide how the electrical grid changes, for better or worse. These decisions are central to the people who actually plan and manage the grid—the grid operators—who have shown varying degrees of willingness to embrace a clean energy economy. Read more >

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Is the Midwest Finally Catching on to Utility-Scale Solar?

, energy analyst

There seems to have been a significant uptick in the number of utility-scale solar projects announced in the Midwest recently—from Michigan to Minnesota , Indiana to Iowa, and even up in Wisconsin. Is this just a one-off bump in activity, or the start of something bigger? Are we actually starting to see the solar revolution spread to the Midwest where wind power has historically been king of renewables?  And if large-scale solar is coming in a big way, are we ready? Read more >

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Suddenly, the Future is Clear for Solar Energy

, senior energy analyst, Climate & Energy Program

In the last 24 hours, the path to greater reliance on solar energy has become much clearer. The US Department of Energy-sponsored assessments of the benefits of solar and the tools for addressing grid impacts celebrated the 65% decline in cost for solar energy over just 5 years. Meanwhile, the North American Electric Reliability Corp., (NERC) significantly revised (as in tripled) its projections of wind and solar coming on the grid over the next 15 years, and moderated its language about the reliability impacts. Read more >

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