Photo: Mike Spasoff/Flickr
There sure is a lot of solar energy flying around these parts lately. Just this week we saw a sun storm that didn’t result in global catastrophe (yet), and we learned that California is still far and away America’s most solar powered state, and by a lot.
Still, it came as something of a surprise this week when U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the 2013 Solar Decathlon will happen in California, the first time the bi-annual event has occurred outside of Washington, D.C. since it’s inception in 2002.
The Solar Decathlon challenges 20 college teams to design and build efficient homes that are solar-powered. Among the criteria is that the structures be affordable, comfortable, and produces as much or more energy that it uses. The 20 structures will be showcased at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA.
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You can breathe easy, Team California Solar: we’re still Number One.
According to a report from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, the state of California is responsible for close to half of America’s photovoltaic activity through 2010 (869 megawatts of installed capacity out of the nation’s total of 1,831 megawatts).
Within the state, San Diego reigns as California’s top solar-powered city, according to a new report from the Environment California Research & Policy Center. The city boasts more than 4500 solar-topped homes, businesses and government facilities, double the number of just two years ago. San Diego accounts for close to 37 megawatts of the state’s sun-juiced energy.
“San Diego didn’t become the state’s Number One solar city by happenstance,” said mayor Jerry Sanders in a press release. “It was the result of local policies and programs that encourage investment in solar power.”
Thanks to a $200,000 grant from Pacific Gas & Electric, Sierra Middle School in Bakersfield, CA, now boasts an impressive solar power system with the capacity to power 20 classrooms and lower utility costs. The system features 44 solar panels that generate 20 kilowatts as well as a one-kilowatt array.
The system upgrade certifies Sierra as the first “solar school model,” a new program for teaching eco-responsibility that will be implemented in 125 schools across the state.
It’s a love/hate relationship many of us have with Ikea. Sure, they have functional furniture and home accessories for reasonable prices, and a surprisingly delicious food court. But it’s hard not to hate on their oft-remote locations, not to mention the infinite patience required to assemble “that damn night stand”.
The fines Swedes behind Ikea are well aware of it all. Which is why they’re going to such great lengths to offset the sizable carbon footprint their stores can create. After already doing so in Portland, OR and California cities San Diego and Carson, Ikea has upgraded their Costa Mesa location as the fourth in America to boost an EV charging station. While there is no timetable or locations yet determined, Ikea plans on upgrading another five of their stores in the western U.S. with EV stations.