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How to Make Solar Panels Affordable—for Billions of People

kerosene lamp india"Upgrading to electricity" is not a phrase most industrialized world denizens think about much, given that it happened a century ago. For 20 percent of people on earth, though, the electric grid isn't making it to their slums and rural villages—not any time soon. Instead they rely on smelly, smoky, eye-stinging kerosene lamps for feeble light at night.

But solar panels don't require connection to the rest of the electric grid, and their prices are dropping.

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Salvation Gets Cheap

IPCCThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which pools the efforts of scientists around the globe, has begun releasing draft chapters from its latest assessment, and, for the most part, the reading is as grim as you might expect. We are still on the road to catastrophe without major policy changes.

But there is one piece of the assessment that is surprisingly, if conditionally, upbeat: Its take on the economics of mitigation.

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UK energy mix: Where does the power come from?

electricity generation

Interesting article from BBC News dated December 4th 2013, looking at how the energy we produce underpins pretty much everything we do and concluding that the UK's energy mix is set to change dramatically over the next 20 years.

By 2030, The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) expects renewables to be by far the biggest source of energy used in electricity generation in the UK, making up about 40% of the overall mix. 

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Rooftop Solar Solves Utility Companies' Death Spiral

forbesUtility companies have been looking for new regulations and higher connection charges to save them from a “death spiral” spurred by a surge in rooftop solar installations. Instead, says former (U.S.) Energy Secretary Steven Chu, they should get into the rooftop solar business.

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Wind Industry’s New Technologies Are Helping It Compete on Price

WIND NYTimes 20Mar2014The wind industry has gone to great lengths over the years to snap up the best properties for its farms, often looking to remote swaths of prairie or distant mountain ridges to maximize energy production and minimize community opposition.

Now, it is reaching for the sky.

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Potato power: the spuds that could light the world

potato powerWith a simple trick, the humble spud can be made into a battery, so could potato powered homes catch on?

Mashed, boiled, baked or fried? You probably have a preference for your potatoes. Haim Rabinowitch, however, likes his spuds “hacked”.

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