Wow, we had a great response to the first edition of our weekly Top Solar Picks; folks writing in, sharing on Facebook, and getting the word out about Vote Solar as a hub for the solar community.
This edition, we found some cool stories about solar inventions, including a real-life Wall-E, crystal balls, and solar in a bottle. Pretty neat stuff that we hope you’ll enjoy.
We’re excited to continue the picks and look forward to getting more entries from you. Send in your stories here. Happy reading!
How Bout Them Apples?
Massachusetts came out with some renewables job numbers that made us weak in the knees. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center reported that 71,523 jobs were created over the last year. That means the clean energy economy grew 11.2% between July 2011 and July 2012. Additionally, the state upped its installed solar megawatts 30 times! Ay chihuahua! Mami that’s hot!
Some Assembly Required
Minnesota’s largest solar array is now plugged in atop IKEA’s 31st branch. Boom! The commercial power plant utilizes 142,000 square feet of 4,316 photovoltaic panels and it generates 1,014 kW (1 MW) of electric power. Almost 89% of IKEA branches in the United States are solar-powered. They have a combined solar power generating capacity of 38 MW. Thanks IKEA, you proved that assembling furniture and going solar are equally as easy.
The Real-life Wall-E
Just when we thought we ran out of descriptors for solar, ‘cute’ came along. Seriously, this pint-sized robot is saving the world for real. “Alex” is a solar-powered Wave Glider that takes ocean temperature readings to help scientists predict hurricane behavior. Alex already did some heavy lifting helping with Hurricane Isaac. Solar power is just one part of Alex’s mobility- it converts wave energy into thrust too. We just want to know when we can get a lunbox with Alex on it.
Career Change for Crystal Ball
Straight out of science fiction comes designer and architect André Broessel, whose ß.torics (Beta Torics) spherical lens solar generator uses a large water-filled glass ball to concentrate the sun’s energy (by up to 10,000 times!) onto a small PV panel. David Bowie laments the loss of his Labyrinth cast-member, but admits that generating solar is probably better than kidnapping infants.
Know that trite question solar naysayers ask, “What happens when the sun isn’t shining?” Well, throw this back at ‘em- lunar power. Not joking. Brossel (same guy!) also invented rotational PV globes that absorb energy from moonlight. These multipurpose globes act as windows and solar energy captors. Holy smokes, we’re super impressed, and also ready for that comeback.
Young People- Going Beyond Solar’s Wildest Imagination
The Southeast Student Renewable Energy Conference announced it’s call for panelists, dates, location: Oct 5-8 in Tallahassee, FL. The Millennial Generation is biggest generation, ever, and the muscle we’re depending on to make the solar revolution a reality. Plus the host, the Southern Energy Network, has laser strategy. SSREC is hosted in Florida’s capital 1 month before the elections. Here’s one way to make a splash with key voters in a swing state.
Take a note from highschoolers at Winona High- they actually walk the walk. Students resolved to take action after growing tired of simply talking about clean energy technologies. They installed a PV system with a data logging website as an educational component. Display boards show the mechanics and physics of the solar panel, as well as how much carbon and other greenhouse gases are being offset. Nice work Winona! We can’t to see your next project.
The Solar Decathalon is a year away, but already we’ve got game fever! Clean Technica recently posted stats on the teams where you can read all about the brightest new minds (pun intended). We got some insider advice too: Watch out for McKayla, she’s a tough critic.
Infographics of the Week
More than 1,000 megawatts of solar power generation in California—equal to the size of two large gas-fired power plants—set new U.S. records twice in recent weeks, according to the California Independent System Operator.
Check out all their cool infographics here.
Solar has created jobs almost ten times faster than the national average. Check out the infographic from Rooftop Revolution.
Get Some Sun Webinar
Whew! That was a good one. We’re talking about our latest webinar on the stimulus and clean energy with Michael Grunwald, TIME journalist & author of The NEW New Deal. Check out the recording here.
For the Kiddies, Kindof
Solar in a bottle! A perfect weekend project for the whole family! Or anyone, really, cause it’s just that cool. Check out how you can make a solar charger out of a recycled glass bottle.
Solar on zoos! The San Diego Zoo will be adding a solar photovoltaic canopy system and five electric vehicle chargers. Bonus!- many children visit the zoo, so they will be able to learn about animals, clean energy, and climate change in one setting. Sure, the zoo has a great primate exhibit, but when it comes to solar, it’s not monkeying around.