2014 Was the Best Year for Solar Energy

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Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:go solar, solar system, solar energy

  • 2014 was the best year for solar energy: According to new data from the market analysis firm GTM Research, 2014 was the biggest year ever for solar energy, with 30 percent more photovoltaic installations than the previous year. The report emphasizes three main reasons for the boom: 1. overall costs went down by about 10 percent compared to 2013, and not just for solar panels themselves but also for ancillary expenses such as installation and financing; 2. falling costs have allowed both large utility companies as well as small third-party solar installers to find new ways to bring solar energy to new customers, including leasing solar systems and improved on-site energy storage; 3. federal incentives and regulations have been relatively stable in the last few years, while some state incentives were actually improving, specifically in states like California and Nevada that have been leaders in solar energy. And while new home solar systems are being realized more often than giant solar farms, utility-scale solar is still the main leading source of solar energy. Among the notable projects that came online in 2014 were installations such as the Topaz Solar project in the California desert, the largest solar installation in the world so far.
  • The “green heart” helps reducing food waste: The Green Heart is a small plastic case shaped like a heart that consumers can place in their refrigerator’s fruit and vegetable drawer. Inside the case is a pouch filled with potassium permanganate crystals, which neutralize the excess ethylene gas that fruits and vegetables produce as they ripen. The more of the ethylene gas fruit and vegetables are exposed to, the faster they ripen and therefore spoil. The packet controls the gas and keep them fresh for a longer time. The creators had safety in mind as well, the case has childproof latches so that kids can’t open it and get to the crystals and is made from BPA-free plastic; and the crystals-both organic and non-toxic, can be thrown into a compost or garden when it’s time for a new pouch. As Tami Brehse, one of the creators explained: “We were floored when we realized just how much perfectly good food goes to waste simply because it goes bad before people can eat it. Americans throw out some 35 billion tons of food every year. We knew there had to be a way to put a dent in the food waste epidemic.”

    design innovation, food waste

    Photo courtesy of thegreenhearts.net

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