Every week, I search through numerous news websites to bring you these trending stories, that I believe, matter to you.
01. There’s a good chance your home could produce all the solar energy you need by 2050
Energy self-sufficiency—that is, the idea of a region, a city, or even a single building producing all the renewable energy needed locally—holds a lot of intuitive appeal. But is it realistic?
An analysis of solar panel potential in Switzerland suggests that this goal could be within reach by 2050 for households in many industrialized countries, assuming a reasonable pace of improvements in technology. But there are costs and tradeoffs.
02. China’s COVID-19 lockdown crushed every form of energy generation except solar
As China shuttered industries during its coronavirus lockdown in January and February, every form of energy production dropped from prior-year performance but one. Solar was up 12 percent.
“In terms of varieties, thermal power and hydropower declined significantly, nuclear power and wind power declined slightly,” reported China’s National Bureau of Statistics, “and solar power generation grew steadily.”
03. Solar panels floating in reservoirs and other water bodies could meet substantial energy demand
Solar energy appears to be heading toward a global growth spurt, due to a combination of new technology and expanding reach to consumers as it becomes more competitive with the cost of traditional energy sources.
One sign of the potential of new technology came from a Norwegian company, Ocean Sun, that announced this week that its floating solar panels—sized to fit in reservoirs for hydroelectric dams or on shallow offshore water near cities—have met Norway’s safety and environmental requirements.
04. A push toward renewable energy is facing resistance in rural areas where conspicuous panels are affecting vistas and squeezing small farmers
Neighbors used to wave to Timothy Masters whenever he stood outside his cherry-red barn, trading hellos across his corn and soybean fields in this small town about 10 miles north of Niagara Falls.
That ended about a year ago, when a field of solar panels was deposited on 18 acres of Mr. Masters’s land.