This week’s trending solar stories—May 5th, 2017

Quartz

The US is using so much solar power that it will have to prepare for the August eclipse
In the ancient world from the Mayans to the Egyptians, a solar eclipse portended one thing: “a disruption of the established order,” says E. C. Krupp, director of the Griffith astronomical observatory in Los Angeles.

So it is today. With a solar eclipse due to sweep across the US on Aug. 21, utility operators are preparing to guard against a steep drop in solar power, reports the Financial Times (paywall). As the shadow of the moon passes over North America, the eclipse is expected to knock out about 70 megawatts a minute— two to three times faster than the typically daily drop, reports the California Independent System Operator (pdf). It will rebound even faster.

Venture Beat

Google expands Project Sunroof ‘solar power potential’ program beyond the U.S. and into Germany
Google is expanding its Project Sunroof program beyond the U.S. for the first time and will now assess the potential for solar power energy in homes across Germany, too. First introduced back in 2015, Project Sunroof is effectively a search engine that lets anyone look up a specific address to discover the potential for solar energy collection in any home. After a gradual rollout across the U.S., the web service finally landed in all 50 U.S. states back in March.

By meshing together data from Google Maps and Google Earth, Google uses 3D models and machine learning to estimate whether the position and location of a house has the potential to collect solar energy, and thus whether solar is a worthy investment for a homeowner. The tool looks at how much sun hits a roof and the position of the roof, while also factoring in historical weather data, shading from nearby objects, and the position of the sun at different times of the year.

EcoWatch

10 States Leading the Pack in Clean Energy Jobs
The solar, wind and energy efficiency industries already employ millions of people in the U.S. and they’re poised to grow. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are 374,000 American jobs in solar energy, 102,000 in wind energy and more than 2.2 million related to energy efficiency. For comparison, 160,000 Americans work in coal, 360,000 in natural gas and 515,000 in oil.

Solar and wind are among the most dynamic industries in the nation. In 2016, solar employment expanded 17 times faster than the overall economy. Wind turbine technicians are expected to be the fastest-growing occupation over the next 10 years. America’s clean energy jobs are spread out far and wide. Below, see if you can find your state in the top 10 for solar, wind and energy efficiency employment:

The Independent UK

China increases solar power output by 80% in three months
China electricity output from photovoltaic plants rose 80 per cent in the first quarter after the world’s biggest solar power market increased installed capacity.

Solar power generation rose to 21.4 billion kilowatt-hours in the three months ending 31 March from a year earlier, the National Energy Administration said on Thursday in a statement on its website. China added 7.21 gigawatts of solar power during the period, boosting its total installed capacity to almost 85 gigawatts, the NEA said.


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