Republican Mayor Of Lancaster CA Wants To Require Solar Panels On Every New Home.

Solar Lancaster
Mayor of Lancaster California R. Rex ParrisWhat the what – Republican Mayor wants solar panels on every new home? It’s true. R. Rex Parris, the Mayor of Lancaster California, wants to institute a new requirement that all new homes built after January 1, 2014 must include solar panels. From Greentech:

“The purpose of the solar energy system standards is to encourage investment in solar energy on all parcels in the city, while providing guidelines for the installation of those systems that are consistent with the architectural and building standards of the City. It is further intended to provide standards and procedures for builders of new homes to install solar energy systems in an effort to achieve greater usage of alternative energy.”

Those damn treehugging Republicans! Why can’t they stay out of renewable energy and stick to advocating fossil fuels so it’s easier to paint them as the enemy? I think this quote from Mayor Parris answers that question:

“[Mayor Parris noted that Lancaster is] one of the most conservative Republican districts in the country. But Republicans are smart,” he said. “When you show them a solution, they will take it.”

So it’s smart to move to solar; it doesn’t have to be green. [Greentech]


Energy Independent Saudi Arabia Is Investing $109 Billion In Solar Energy.

Solar installation in Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia just completed a 12,684 panel solar installation that generates 3.5-megawatts of renewable energy. It’s Saudi Arabia’s largest solar installation to date and part of their ongoing plan to invest $109 billion in solar power to reach 41,000 megawatts of solar capacity within two decades.

As the US strives for liquid fuel energy independence, currently liquid fuel energy independent Saudi Arabia is going solar. Maybe the US can learn from the Saudi’s, realize now that the whole liquid fuel energy independence thing is overrated, and skip that middle step and go directly to solar. [Bloomberg]


When The Power Goes Out, Briefcase-Sized Sugoi Battery From Japan Can Keep The Fridge Going.

Sugoi Battery Portable Power BackupWho wouldn’t want a Sugoi Battery? The 5.5 lbs Sugoi Battery is a 75,000 mAh portable backup lithium battery ($467) that can keep your refrigerator going for up to 7.8 hours (smaller Japanese fridge?). Sugoi Battery is also working on an adapter so you can use it to charge up to 16 mobile devices at one time. In addition to the lithium battery version, Sugoi Battery has a more affordable ($121) old-school lead acid version that holds 12,900mAh of power.

The Sugoi Battery has 5 power outputs (including 2 USB) and can be recharged via standard power outlet, solar or through your car’s lighter port. Not sure if the Sugoi Battery is available in the US but if works to its translated specs, it would definitely have a market in homes where using a diesel/gas generator is not an option… and even in homes where a generator is an option. [RocketNews24]


See-Through Solar Panels / Solar Windows From Sharp.

Sharp Solar Windows.  See-Through Solar Panels.Sharp Corporation is not the first to develop see-through solar panels but with their name recognition and ability to take advantage of economies of scale, hopefully they’ll be the most successful. Sharp’s semi-transparent solar panels are 4.5′ x 3.2′, 0.37-inches thin and have a solar efficiency of 6.8 percent. Their solar efficiency rating is low compared to standard opaque solar panels, that are in the 12-18% range, but these are windows and allow for solar power to be generated where rooftop solar may not be adequate or possible.

In addition to generating electricity, Sharp’s see-through solar panels will absorb a portion of the sunlight before it enters a room and in turn, reduce cooling costs. Now if Sharp can keep the price competitive, they may have a winner. [Crave]


Solar Porn: Apple Computer’s North Carolina Solar Farm.

Apple Computer's North Carolina solar farm.Covering 100 acres, Apple Computer’s North Carolina solar farm will be able to generate 20 MW of electricity. That’s enough to supply electricity to 630+ homes or in this case, partially supply Apple’s new data center with renewable power. [GigaOM and WCNC]


The Emerald Ace: (Sort Of) Prius’ing Up The Shipping Industry

The Emerald Ace - Mitsui O.S.K. LinesThe Emerald Ace is a 199m x 36m cargo ship that when fully loaded, can carry up to 6,400 cars and travel at 20 knots. All of these specs are pretty standard for cargo ships but what separates the Emerald Ace from the others is that it’s a hybrid engine running, solar power generating, treehugger of a ship. Built by the Mitsui OSK Lines shipping company, the Emerald Ace has a 160kW solar generation system and its lithium-ion batteries, that also act as ballast for the ship, can store 2.2MWh of electricity. It runs off diesel power while out to sea and then is powered by solar-charged batteries during the berthing process and while in port, producing zero-emissions.

Until I read about the Emerald Ace, I never thought about the big cargo, cruise and container ships running their massive diesel engines while docked but they have to in order to keep the lights on. It’s estimated that one large container ship annually outputs the emissions equal to 50 million cars because they run on low-grade diesel, bunker fuel. While in port, closer to cities, it’s estimated that idling cargo ship emissions produce the pollution equivalent of 12,000 cars. Getting that number to zero is good goal.

So thank you Emerald Ace for being a treehugging, hippy-dippy cargo ship that will hopefully become the norm in the shipping industry. Running off batteries during the berthing process and while docked is a start and I hope you get a big bumper sticker proclaiming “I Produce Zero-Emissions (while in port) that’ll make you the envy of other cargo ships. Every bit counts. [Gizmodo]