June 18, 2014

Technology Trends: Solar Power – Boom or Bust?

Sustainable energy is currently in high demand, with solar power at the forefront of clean energy over the past decade. The solar energy market continues to grow as new advancements are made in the field. But is the solar power industry everything that the world has been hoping for? This week’s articles explore the advancements and pitfalls of solar power.

Elon Musk Takes on Climate Change with Big Bets on Solar, Battery TechMashable

SolarCity, installer of solar systems, has acquired Silevo, a solar power panel manufacturer. Musk, chairman of SolarCity and CEO of Tesla Motors, hopes to provide more affordable, clean energy alternatives for consumers, which will be able to compete with traditional fossil fuel options. Musk is negotiating to build a factory capable of manufacturing enough panels in a year to create 1 gigawatt of peak power.

Can The Sun Fuel A Flight Around The World?NPR

In 2013, Betrand Piccard piloted the Solar Impulse, a solar-powered airplane, across the United States. His next goal is to circle the globe in this plane as Piccard hopes to show people that sustainable transportation is possible.

Dreaming the Impossible Green Dream Wall Street Journal, Op-Ed

Robert Bryce breaks down the numbers on what creating a world of completely sustainable energy would look like.  How much energy are we consuming now compared to how much we should be consuming? What roadblocks might we encounter on the way to sustainable energy?  Bryce argues that, with an ever-growing world population, sustainable energy might not be able to keep up with the demand. Readers responded with a more optimistic approach in a rebuttal to Bryce’s op-ed piece.

China’s Solar Panel Production Comes at a Dirty CostThe New York Times

A rarely mentioned side effect of creating solar panels is the pollution from the factories that produce them. China’s cheaper manufacturing costs and looser environmental regulations have led many companies to outsource their solar panel production to the region, away from Europe. However, this move may come with a higher environmental cost, counterintuitive to the goal of solar panels and cleaner energy.

Top 10 Largest Solar Projects Under ConstructionForbes

Take a look at the current solar energy projects underway around the globe. Check out who the big developers are and how much power they are producing.