Solar power is often seen as a form of electricity that only works in sunny, hot areas, but this view is not accurate at all. While it’s easy to understand why some of us hold such a belief, some solar critics rely on this bit of misinformation to try to dismiss solar power as something marginal.
Facts, however, are persistent things. For example, Germany is a solar power leader globally, and yet it is located north of Massachusetts in the US.
Using solar energy and nanoparticles to make saltwater drinkable, researchers from Yale and Rice University have developed a system that could potentially be used off-grid in remote areas or in domestic settings.
The system, known as nanophotonics-enabled solar membrane distillation (NESMD), incorporates a porous membrane with carbon black nanoparticles. The nanoparticles use sunlight energy to heat water on one side of the membrane, which filters out salt and other non-volatile contaminants while allowing water vapor to pass through it.
Babcock Ranch offers a town-size rejoinder to those who say solar power can’t scale. In the suburbs of Fort Myers in South Florida, Babcock is meant to become America’s first city fueled entirely by the sun, thanks to its 75-megawatt array of solar panels. Only two families have moved in so far, but students from nearby towns have already filled the first of several planned schools, and the footprint includes plans for 19,500 homes and about 50,000 residents. “Along with innovation and change, there’s a throwback to an earlier time,” says Donna Aveck, who arrived in January with her husband, Jim. “We’re thrilled to be pioneers.”
Developer Kitson & Partners started building the town about a decade ago after buying land from the Babcock Ranch Preserve, which retains about 73,000 acres of pinelands and prairie nearby. So far, only about 100 homes are contracted for construction—but self-driving shuttles have already begun to ferry people around. —Photographs by Rose Marie Cromwell
Microsoft is to purchase 315 megawatts (MW) of energy from two new solar facilities in Virginia, it said Wednesday.
The tech giant will buy energy from the Pleinmont I and II sites in what it described as "the single largest corporate purchase of solar energy ever in the United States."
The Pleinmont developments are part of a bigger 500 MW project owned and operated by sPower, an AES and AIMCo business. When operational, Pleinmont I and II will have over 750,000 solar panels covering more than 2,000 acres.