Chinese Solar Highway
Scientists and engineers in China are developing the blueprint for a high-tech road, complete with solar panels and charging stations. This new “prototype” is designed for driverless cars, complete with mapping sensors. Said features will lie below a transparent “concrete” road spanning 1,080 meters. The solar panels will not only provide power for the charging stations, but also nearly 800 surrounding homes in the eastern city of Jinan. These solar roads are a small part of a much larger plan to become the world’s artificial intelligence technology innovation center. By 2030, China estimates that 10% of its vehicles will be driverless. Only the future can tell whether this plan will pan out.
Repurposing Dump Sites into Solar Farms
The towns of Narragansett and South Kingstown and the University of Rhode Island are building solar farms on old trash and dumping sites, making use of otherwise useless space. Kearsarge Energy was the winning bidder for the sites. This company will build the solar farms, keep 75% of the power generated, and sell the remaining 25% to local towns and the university. Both of the sites were previously found to have toxic chemicals, but have since been remediated. Cheers to new beginnings!
Solar Becoming Bigger Investment than Fossil Fuels
2017 was a big year for solar. According to the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 Report, released by the UN Environment, Frankfurt School - UNEP Collaborating Centre, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, China was the leader in the solar investment, topping out at 1$26.6 billion, up 31% from 2016. There were also sharp increases in investment in Australia, Mexico, and Sweden. In 2017, the world added more solar capacity than coal, nuclear, and gas combined. These days, the amount of electricity generated by renewables, including wind, biomass, solar, marine, hydro and geothermal is 12%. We’re becoming greener!
New State Solar Bills
About a week ago, a new bill passed in South Carolina which will make solar a better investment. The new bill will remove an artificial cap on net metering from rooftop installations. The removal of the cap will encourage more home and business owners choose solar as a cost effective and long-term investment option. South Carolina saw an explosion in solar energy installation in 2017. The state added 396 megawatts, quadrupling its total amount of solar capacity. Renogy has several large solar projects in this state. We say this new bill is a step in the right direction!