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THE GUARDIAN: Record boost in new solar power continues massive industry growth

A record amount of solar power was added to the world’s grids in 2014, pushing total cumulative capacity to 100 times the level it was in 2000.

Around 40GW of solar power was installed last year, meaning there is now a total of 178GW to meet world electricity demand, prompting renewable energy associations to claim that a tipping point has been reached that will allow rapid acceleration of the technology.

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THE MOTLEY FOOL: Watch Out Fossil Fuels: Costs Continue to Drop for Solar Energy

One of the biggest reasons I think the solar industry has an incredibly bright future is the fact that it’s one of only a few energy sources (i.e., wind) that is consistently and fundamentally lowering costs.

Fossil fuels, which are the solar industry’s biggest competitor, are getting more expensive to extract from the ground in the long term, and nuclear costs continue to come in higher than anyone expects, making them noncompetitive with wind or solar. What’s remarkable is the pace at which solar costs are coming down.

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BLOOMBERG BUSINESS: Can Solar Panels Help Solve California’s Drought?

From a distance, they almost look like a massive mosaic swimming-pool cover. They are photovoltaic panels, half-millimeter thick silicon wafers that are erected over reservoirs. Their function: Generate power while also conserving water. For years, the technology was just a niche product. Now, with drought concerns growing in many places across the planet, it’s showing signs of taking off.

In parched parts of California and Australia, as well as in Japan, where cramped living conditions put land at a premium, the panels can increasingly be seen dotting the water. According to Infratech Industries Inc., a Sydney-based developer of the technology, they can produce almost 60 percent more electricity than land-based solar farms and they reduce evaporation by 90 percent.

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QUARTZ: Japan is building huge solar power plants that float on water

Unlike coal-fired plants, solar power stations don’t produce smog but they do take up land. Or, at least they did.

In Japan’s Hyogo prefecture, a solar station was recently launched that floats on a reservoir and will produce about 2,680 megawatt hours per year—enough for 820 typical households. Kyocera plans to build dozens of such stations on reservoirs around Japan, especially in areas lacking available land for utility-scale generation.

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Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has 8+ years of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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