Vancouver’s solar policies, NY powers street carts with solar and the Tesla Powerwall promises big for Australia

VANCOUVER SUN: Vancouver ranks lowest for solar energy policies

Vancouver wants to be known as the world’s greenest city but, according to the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation, it is failing to encourage residents to turn to solar power.

A study of 17 Western Canadian cities and communities finds Vancouver — which has set lofty renewable-energy targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — has the worst ranking for solar energy policies, while Edmonton and Toronto score far better.

A breakdown of the total cost of installing a residential photoelectric system on the roof shows it would cost a Vancouver resident $2,255 in fees and inspections, while the cost in Edmonton is only $285 and in Toronto $342.

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WIRED: To Stop Killing Earth, NYC’s Food Carts Get Solar Panels

There are 5,000 licensed food carts in New York, and they’re as much of an urban icon as the MTA’s subway signage or the Chrysler building. Too bad they’re killing the planet.

It’s not the food—the grub is OK, if not exactly slimming; it’s the gas generators powering the carts. Most food carts run off a diesel generator that’s designed to run only a few hours. Vendors run them for stretches of up to 14 hours, leading to a high output of greenhouse-gas emissions such as carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and particulate matter.

You can see the smoke with the naked eye, but the hard facts are even more frightening: The research and consulting firm Energy Vision found that each cart produces the same amount of nitrous oxide as 186 cars on the road.

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ABC NEWS: Powerwall: Solar energy storage batteries ‘set to transform Australian electricity industry’

Australia’s electricity industry is about to undergo a massive transformation, with the advent of cheap storage batteries for solar energy.

US billionaire Elon Musk, a co-founder of PayPal, this month launched a lithium-ion battery called the Powerwall that is expected to sell in Australia next year for about $5,500.

It was developed alongside his revolutionary Tesla electric car, launched late last year. “You can actually go, if you want, completely off-grid,” Mr Musk said of the batteries. “You can take your solar panels, charge the battery packs and that’s all you use.”

Bloomberg new energy finance analyst Kobad Bhavnagri said the batteries would be “a complete game-changer”.

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BLOOMBERG: A 24-Minute, $19 Billion Wipeout Threatens a Chinese Company’s Solar Dream

Where’s Li Hejun?

That’s the question many were asking when the founder, chairman and principal owner of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd. failed to show up at his company’s annual meeting Wednesday — the same day the company’s stock price tanked 47 percent, wiping out $19 billion in market value in 24 minutes.

Li’s absence was all the more noteworthy because over the past year he has tirelessly championed his vision of a new era of mobile energy: thin, flexible solar cells. They would soon, he promised, be plastered on just about everything: cars, backpacks, phones, tents, satellites, flashlights, buildings, lamps, drones and clothing.

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