The Science of Sustainability

Tag: solar

Q & A – How Will the Solar Industry Shake Out?

Q & A – How Will the Solar Industry Shake Out?

Plummeting prices, trade war, record growth – it’s been a busy year for the solar industry. Reporter Lauren Sommer talks to a solar analyst about how California is doing in the rapidly changing global market.

Continue Reading

Solar FireworX: First X-Class Flare of the Year

Solar FireworX: First X-Class Flare of the Year

The first X-Class solar flare of the year went off yesterday, on March 7th, in spectacular fashion. Fortunately the flare went off where it's supposed to: on the Sun. Had this intense magneto-plasmic explosion gone off on Earth, we'd be toast; one of these releases an amount of energy on the order of 100 billion megatons of TNT.

Continue Reading

The Sun Shows A Flare for the Dramatic

The Sun Shows A Flare for the Dramatic

A solar flare, associated with the big sunspot numbered 1402, erupted on January 23rd, launching a coronal mass ejection–a "cantaloupe" of plasma that makes Earth look like a grape. Rated as an M9-class flare, it packed umph just shy of what's necessary for adult "X-class" flaredom, the most powerful kind.

Continue Reading

Serving Up Delicious Scoops of Sun Daily

Serving Up Delicious Scoops of Sun Daily

The Solar Dynamics Observatory was launched last year, and since then has been capturing high resolution, multi-wavelength visible and extreme-ultraviolet imagery at very frequent intervals.

Continue Reading

Reporter's Notes for Energy Storage: The Holy Grail

Reporter's Notes for Energy Storage: The Holy Grail

Energy storage (through batteries) is something we use everyday in our cell phones and computers. So it may be a little surprising that when it comes to the electric grid, storing energy is something that's rarely done.

Continue Reading

Solar Heats Up in S.F.

Solar Heats Up in S.F.

The solar industry has descended on the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco this week. QUEST Senior Radio Editor Andrea Kissack reports from the Intersolar North America Conference and Expo.

Continue Reading

Editor's Notes: Race for Renewables

Editor's Notes: Race for Renewables

Where did California go wrong? And as other states try to learn from its lessons, does the Golden State have any hope of reaching its next ambitious target – 33 percent renewable by 2020?

Continue Reading

The Sun—Live In Your Own Backyard!

The Sun—Live In Your Own Backyard!

Chabot volunteers are running a live solar observatory for the public.

Continue Reading

Climate Talks in Copenhagen: No Silver Bullet?

Climate Talks in Copenhagen: No Silver Bullet?

Between the aquarium of drowning-delegate sea-level rise protesters, the chicken flock of animal rights protesters, and the cocktail party of fur-coated protest protesters, there will certainly have been a lot to see these past two weeks in Copenhagen during the latest United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Continue Reading

Reporter's Notes: Building an Artificial Leaf

Reporter's Notes: Building an Artificial Leaf

When I began this story, it seemed pretty simple. I'd heard that scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab were working to mimic photosynthesis and create a man-made version of the process that could supply us with renewable energy.

Continue Reading

Reporter's Notes: Getting Paid to Go Solar

Reporter's Notes: Getting Paid to Go Solar

To go solar or not to go solar? Homeowners looking to save money on their energy bills have a number of factor to consider.

Continue Reading

Are Power Towers the Future of Solar Energy?

Are Power Towers the Future of Solar Energy?

Southern California's Antelope Valley is famous for its desert blooms of California poppies, but has recently become the home of one of the most aesthetically striking new designs in alternative energy.

Continue Reading

Those Intermittent Renewables – Part 1

Those Intermittent Renewables – Part 1

When it comes to renewable power, California has had one main message: bring on the solar power, bring on the wind turbines! California and the country are heading fast towards a clean energy future. But renewables aren't perfect.

Continue Reading

Reporter's Notes: Let's Weatherize!

Reporter's Notes: Let's Weatherize!

Since people seem to nod off a bit when I say I'm working on a story about energy efficiency, I've had to re-tool my pitch. "It's a story about how installing solar panels or a wind turbine is the last thing you should do to green your house," I say, perhaps a little over-dramatically.

Continue Reading

Is the Sun Pulling a Rip Van Winkle?

Is the Sun Pulling a Rip Van Winkle?

The Sun seems to be unusually quiet these last few years–and solar scientists are excited by this long, deep slumber….

Continue Reading

Reporter's Notes: Big Solar on the Ballot

Reporter's Notes: Big Solar on the Ballot

Proposition 7 is one of the green propositions– in more ways than one. The amount of cash that's being spent on this so-called Big Solar initiative is prodigious. It is one of the most expensive measures on the ballot.

Continue Reading

Come Together, Bright Planets, Over Me….

Come Together, Bright Planets, Over Me….

Depiction of a major alignment of the five visible planets in 1059 BCE. Photo By Ben Burress There are some pretty good "lineups" coming soon to skies above you. First of all, "lineups," or alignments, go on in the heavens all the time, though most often they are alignments of objects too faint to easily […]

Continue Reading

Building to Beat Climate Change and Save Energy

Building to Beat Climate Change and Save Energy

Low winter light over the town of Iqaluit, the capitol of Nunavut,Canada. Photo by Bill Semple, architect and senior researcher at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.I recently heard Tom Friedman, the New York Times columnist, speak at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab about his soon to be published new book, Green: The New Red, White […]

Continue Reading

The Right to Sunlight:  Solar vs. Redwood Trees

The Right to Sunlight: Solar vs. Redwood Trees

In Silicon Valley, a battle between neighbors has turned into a different kind of face off: solar energy versus trees. It turns out that growing redwood trees can actually be a crime in California, if they block solar panels… as one couple in Sunnyvale found out the hard way. David Gorn reports on a new […]

Continue Reading

The New Clean Tech

The New Clean Tech

If investment is any guide, California's renewable energy companies are leaping into the new year. Investors poured billions of dollars into clean tech in 2007 to catapult green technologies to market. In the first three quarters of 2007, U.S. venture capital firms invested $2.6 billion in clean tech companies. That's compared with $1.8 billion for […]

Continue Reading