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OTTAWA CITIZEN: Egan: Solar is the new oil. Again. Skies clear this time?

Solar power is threatening to save the world again. And this time, it really, really means it.

Forget the energy evangelists for a moment — trust your own eyes. You can’t swing a cat in this town without hitting a solar panel. Hydro Ottawa reports that, in just over five years, some 720 renewable energy projects are now feeding the grid, the vast majority being solar.

Take just one school board. The Ottawa public has solar projects at 41 schools and there are plans to add 24 more. The other three boards have a combined 20 projects and growing. The French public board — how did this slip by? — is producing some 1.2 megawatts of electricity, enough to power roughly 200 homes. Loblaw’s, for Pete’s sake, has 62 solar installations in Ontario.

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THE GUARDIAN: Solar power to the people: how the sun can ease Africa’s electricity crisis

The scale of the continent’s energy deficit often fuels a sense of fatalism and paralysis. Yet on the flip-side of this crisis are enormous opportunities.

“We shall make electric light so cheap that only the wealthy can afford to burn candles,” said Thomas Edison, inventor of the modern lightbulb. That was almost a century and a half ago.

Today in Africa, 621 million people – two-thirds of the population – live without electricity. And the numbers are rising. A kettle boiled twice a day in the UK uses five times as much electricity as someone in Mali uses in a year. Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest oil exporters but 93 million residents depend on firewood and charcoal for heat and light. On current trends, there is no chance Africa will hit the global target of energy for all by 2030.

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BLOOMBERG BUSINESS: At OPEC the Saudi Oil Minister Mainly Wants to Discuss Solar Power

Everybody wants to know what the oil minister for Saudi Arabia thinks. These days, it’s all about solar power. He’s talking about it. A lot. Perhaps more than ever before. And some people in Saudi Arabia say it’s for real this time. This matters, because it shows just how much renewable power is disrupting the traditional energy industry that’s dominated for more than a century.

In Vienna today, where OPEC ministers are meeting with the leaders of the world’s biggest oil companies, Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi was asked an open-ended question that generated this revealing answer.

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THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Toronto startup brings electricity and solar water purification to Nepal

When two concurrent earthquakes ripped through Nepal in April, Jason Gray felt the aftershocks back in Toronto.

The co-founder of SunFarmer, a Toronto startup that offers long-term financing for solar energy systems in underserved regions, has spent the past two years setting up projects around the country and understood what a natural disaster of this scale meant for the people on the ground.

“Unfortunately Nepal has a history of being a difficult place to do business and a difficult government to deal with, [so] it’s been difficult for many of the relief agencies to work with them and get relief aid into the country,” Mr. Gray says.

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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 over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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