China’s solar capacity overtakes Germany

China is likely to have surpassed Germany in the fourth quarter as the country with the most solar capacity, despite missing its target for 2015.520594

China’s installed photovoltaic solar capacity stood at 43 gigawatts (GW) by the end of the year, up about 15 gigawatts from 2014, the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

This compares with a figure of roughly 40 GW for Germany, according to data from that country’s Federal Network Agency and Fraunhofer ISE.

Germany’s installed solar capacity stood at 38.24 GW at the end of 2014, up 8 percent, the Federal Network Agency has said, while installed capacity added in 2015 was roughly 1.3 GW, according to Fraunhofer ISE.

China had been on track to surpass Germany.

Data from China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) shows installations were up 60 percent in 2014, and up 35 percent in the first nine months of 2015, to 37.45 GW.

The NEA set an aggressive 2015 target of 23.1 GW for solar farms, but did not issue a target for the “distributed solar” category, which it defines as installations smaller than 20 megawatts, after installing just a quarter of its 2014 target.

“Overall, China managed to exceed its 35 GW set in the framework of the twelfth five-year plan, clearly demonstrating the political commitment,” said Frank Haugwitz, director of Asia Europe Clean Energy Advisory Co, citing the previous targets China had set for the period from 2011 to 2015.

 

France Is Planning To “Pave” 600 Miles Of Roads With Solar Panels

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France is working on a project to cover 1000 kilometers of roads with specially modified solar panels. Ségolène Royal, France’s minister of ecology and energy, says, “The maximum effect of the program, if successful, could be to furnish 5 million people with electricity, or about 8% of the French population.”

This is not some solar sidewalk we are talking about here, folks. This is a major step forward in the greening of the world’s electrical energy supply. According to France’s Agency of Environment and Energy Management, 4 meters of solarized road (about 14 feet)  is enough to supply the electrical needs of one household, not counting heat. One kilometer (0.62 mile) will supply enough electricity for a community of 5,000 inhabitants.

The specialized solar panels were developed by Colas, which bills itself as the “World leader in the construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure.” It introduced its Wattway panels last October. They took 5 years to develop and consist of 7 millimeter thick strips glued to the road surface. The strips use a thin film of polycrystalline silicon to make electricity from sunlight. Colas says they have been tested extensively and can withstand the weight of a 6 axle truck. They are also said to be skid resistant.

Switching to 100% renewables by 2050 would save major economies $500 billion

A new study has finally put a dollar value on a renewable energy future. According to a new report commissioned by the Climate Action Network, if the US, the European Union and China started taking the steps towards using 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, they’d save a combined US$500 billion per year.fotoboltaika

On top of that, moving in that direction would save the lives of around 1.3 million people who are killed prematurely by air pollution, and also create 3 million new jobs by 2030. And if that’s not enough reason, the study also predicted that if all countries started moving towards the 100 percent renewable target, global warming would not cross the 2 degrees Celsius threshold that many scientists believes is the ‘point of no return’ for climate change.

Currently, the European Union aims to get at least 40 percent of its emissions below 1990 levels by 2030. The US is committed to getting its emission down to 28 percent below 2005 levels, and China has promised to obtain 30 percent of its power from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. If the countries manage to stick to these goals, they’ll collectively prevent around 113,000 air-pollution deaths, save at least US$ 33 billion and create 1 million jobs – which is pretty impressive.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that we now have the technology needed to stop depending on fossil fuels, we just need to encourage politicians and businesses it’s the right thing to do. And hopefully reports like this one will help. After all, the future is already here.