landfill energy

Clean Energy Is Down In The Dumps

Keeping current on all the advancements in clean energy could be a full time gig. Technology is changing fast and furious, which is helping to lower prices and boost the industry.

Today's gee whiz moment is brought to you by the Spectral Power Cap, a thin membrane integrated with solar panels that is covering a landfill in Georgia. It provides enough energy for 224 houses. Learn more here. A representative of the landfill operator notes that many of the nation's dumps are in urban areas close to the power grid and provide similar opportunities.

Of course, the greatest potential for fast energy savings is through efficiency (something our nonprofit is heavily involved with), and an upstart company born from University of California, Berkeley, is drawing raves in the lighting industry.

Lighting doesn't have the "wow" appeal of solar, but is important when one considers that buildings gobble up two-thirds of the electricity in this country. Read this UC story for more information.

Solar-Powered Landfills from Energy NOW on Vimeo.

Add in advancements in energy storage and other new technology (including this from NASA), and, well, you get the picture. The arrows being shot at Solyndra and other fallen solar stars are propelled mostly by politics, and the magnitude of the fallout remains to be seen. However, as New Times columnist Paul Krugman notes, Solyndra's demise was linked not to government waste but to its own inability to stay competitive in a fast-moving industry.

Momentum for a clean-energy policy is accelerating. Big Business and the military are already on board. Now, surveys show the public's overwhelming support for clean energy, especially among young people. (Grist has more here.)

There will be some stumbles, but the green movement is under way.

Photo is of a landfill

Video is of the Spectral Power Cap project

Solar's Emerging Power In Central California

Solar power continues to expand in the central San Joaquin Valley, where projects in Fresno and Tulare counties are coming online. Today, PG&E symbolically flips the switch on three power stations near Five Points that will deliver enough solar energy to run 15,000 houses. Here is more from The Fresno Bee.

And here is a report on an interesting project a county away, where Dinuba officials will affix more than 4,700 solar panels to a landfill, and then use the 1 megawatt of power to operate the city's wastewater treatment plant. Typically, those types of facilities are among a city's biggest energy hogs.

Dinuba isn't the first city to use solar energy to decrease power bills at its water treatment plant, and likely won't be the last, as we reported in this blog that outlined similar projects in the Valley - and other possible uses for solar.

Solar is making its way onto rooftops, into agriculture operations and even onto roads. How much it expands remains to be seen, but the potential is sunny, considering California's 33 percent renewables mandate, the falling cost of residential systems and improving technology.

Just yesterday, folks at at UC Merced (oh, how we love UC Merced and its top-notch research programs!) announced a new kind of solar system that doesn't have to track the sun. Read more here in the Merced Sun-Star.

Maybe, Gov. Jerry Brown was right when he predicted a solar revolution in California.