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Found 11 results

  1. For many people today, green energy is a huge concern. We want it from our companies, but don’t often practice it ourselves. At home, solar panels are a great way to reduce the environmental impact your home has, with a host of other positives, like: Lower Energy Bills The most obvious boon of solar panels is reduced energy costs. Depending on the amount of sun in your area, the break-even point for solar panels can be as little as two years, though the average is six to eight. To maximize your savings, consider contacting a licensed electrician to complete the installation, as they can work to best optimize the placement and wiring to bring about the lowest costs and highest yields. Average savings number in the tens of thousands over twenty years, increasing for sunnier locations. Secure, Reliable, Independent Solar energy comes from the sun, which comes with a number of benefits besides being clean and free: it can’t be monopolized, we know when it’s coming, and no one can limit our access to it. When it comes to energy sources, it’s the only choice a homeowner can make that affords them control; once you own solar panels, you have access to energy, period. Increase Home Value Research has shown that market demand for solar panels is strong, with buyers willing to pay a premium for homes already outfitted with systems. The average increase in resale value is around $5,911 per kilowatt, putting the typical 3.1 kilowatt system at a nearly $18,000 jump. In addition, you can enjoy increased roof longevity, as solar panels provide some protection from the elements, and lowered cooling costs, as they reflect sunshine in the summer. Tax Incentives No matter where you live, there’s more than likely some sort of energy incentive. Federal tax credits are numerous and more localized government on the state, provincial, county, or municipal level. There’s also the rise of power purchase agreements to watch, as homeowners can enjoy solar panels for zero initial investment with these agreements wherein the solar company owns the panels while the purchaser pays them off monthly. In today’s eco-friendly market, solar panels are an achievable reality for more and more homeowners. Beyond the lower energy bill, they provide numerous benefits like those listed. That’s not to mention their decreased carbon footprint, enabling you to help the environment from the comfort of your own home.
  2. Solar power is the fastest-growing renewable energy source in the U.S., increasing more than 23 times in the last eight years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. As demand has grown and the technology has improved, the price of solar power has fallen. Are you uncertain about how solar power works? Here's a quick guide to the basics. Solar Panels When sunlight hits certain materials known as semiconductors, the materials convert the light energy to an electrical current. Solar panels that use this technology are photovoltaic (PV) panels. Within the panel are cells containing crystals. Most residential systems contain silicon crystals, like the silicon chips in a computer. Each cell produces only a small amount of power, but they're connected in series which collect their output. The cells are sandwiched between protective layers of glass or plastic. Panels are built to withstand hail, wind, and lightning strikes. Several panels together make an array. Because the system is modular, it can be designed to meet any electrical load. Mounting Structures Most residential solar systems are mounted on a south-facing roof. Panels can also be placed on a rack set on the ground. The panels are angled for maximum sun exposure at that latitude. Tracker systems follow the sun across the sky but are more expensive and need more maintenance. Inverter PV panels produce direct current. An inverter converts DC current to the AC current needed for household appliances. The inverter has a display showing how much power the array is producing. Some inverters can be monitored remotely via the Internet. Electrical Meter The meter connects the PV system to the local electrical grid. If the system is producing more power than the house needs, the meter will run backward. At night or when the panel isn't in service, the meter will show normal electrical demand. Because the house is drawing at least part of its electricity from the panels, homeowners can see significant savings on their utility bills. They will still have to pay a monthly connection fee to the utility. If the power goes out, most solar systems will shut down even if the sun is shining. This is to protect line workers. Storage The sun doesn't always shine. Battery systems can save electricity for use at night or in bad weather, and can be put on systems on- and off-grid. Lead-acid batteries are the most common. Lithium-ion batteries have recently come on the market. Storage systems can help utilities reduce their peak demand since the house will draw from its batteries before it needs power from the grid. Site PV panels will produce some electricity even in low light, but they need full sun for best performance. The ideal solar energy site has full exposure to the south, east, and west. Large trees, buildings, or hillsides that shade the site may make it unsuitable for a solar installation. Life Expectancy Solar panels are designed to last at least 25 years. They gradually lose efficiency, but should still be generating more than 80 percent of their original output at that point. Inverters need to be replaced more often. Installation More often than not, professional services and electricians are called to install solar panels and integrate them into electrical systems. While this is the safest option, it’s not impossible to set up without help. For a DIY installation, most will find parts and pieces from hardware stores or specialty electrical suppliers like Enercon Engineering Inc that professionals frequent for solar installations. Depending on local regulations, solar systems may need permits and have zoning restrictions. Some utilities limit how much solar power they'll accept from customers. They also vary in how large a credit they give customers for the solar power they produce. Depending on the state, solar systems may qualify for tax and other incentives. Check with your utility and your state's energy department.
  3. Does Ireland really get enough sunshine to make Solar Energy worthwhile? Yes. Believe it or not, Ireland actually gets the same amount of sunlight as most of central Europe (the best approximation would be southern France). This is more than enough to make Solar Panels a viable energy option in Ireland. Do Solar Panels only work when it's sunny? No. Even when it is cloudy, the sun's rays provide plenty of harvestable energy. This is known as 'indirect sunlight', which accounts for 60% of all energy provided by the sun. Only 40% of solar energy comes from direct sunlight, so a bright sunny day is not necessary for generating a viable source of solar power. What do Solar Panels actually generate? Over the course of the year, the energy converted by solar panels can provide roughly 65% of a household's hot water. During the summer months this can rise above 95%. What's the difference between Evacuated Tube and Flat Plate Solar Panels? Evacuated Tube Solar Panels are generally more efficient in terms of energy in cloudy weather conditions (i.e. the weather typically observed in Ireland). Flat Plate Solar Panels, while somewhat less efficient in terms of energy production during periods of poor weather, are more durable and are far less likely to require maintenance at any point, making them more budget efficient options for households. My house is quite old. Can Solar Panels still be attached to it? Yes. Some roof tiles may have to be removed to facilitate the Solar Panels, but this is not a major operation and it will not disturb the interiors of a home in any way. The panels themselves are very light so no structural reinforcement is needed. Do I need planning permission to install Solar Panels? No. Planning permission is not required to install Solar Panels on domestic buildings in the Republic of Ireland so long as the panels are smaller than 12 meters squared. Where is the best place to put Solar Panels? The optimum position for Solar panels is facing south and at a 45 degree angle. This will catch more sunshine (and will create more energy) over the course of the year in Ireland than any other layout. While Solar Panels can be placed on walls or even on the ground, the roof is generally considered the best spot as it tends to be away from areas of activity, limiting the chances of them getting damaged. Once installed, what are the running costs of Solar Panels? As there are virtually no moving parts (with the exception of a small circulation pump), the cost of running Solar Panels at full energy producing capacity is negligible - in the region of 20c per year. How long does it take for Solar Panels to start 'paying for themselves'? After approximately 4 or 5 years the savings made from energy created by Solar Panels will have completely covered the cost of purchase and installation (as well as the aforementioned small ongoing maintenance costs). After that, the Solar Panels will essentially be creating free energy on an ongoing basis. What other benefits do you get from installing Solar Panels? In addition to the energy savings you will make, the addition of Solar Panels will greatly increase a house's resale value. The house will also benefit from an improved BER (Building Energy Rating). How long do Solar Panels last? Due to a lack of moving parts, the Solar Panels themselves last a very long time and almost never require maintenance. As it is the only moving part in the whole system, the circulation pump is susceptible to minimal natural wear and tear. It is recommended that the pump is replaced once every 10 to 15 years. Luckily, a circulation pump is an inexpensive item which is easily replaced, usually costing between €10 and €20 - not much of an outlay over the course of a decade or so; working out at about a euro a year. Do Solar Panels come with a warranty? While different companies have different policies, it is usually possible to get a 10 year guarantee which covers repairs and maintenance when it comes to purchasing solar panel products. Are there any grants/subsidies available for buying Solar Panels? Yes. Among the money saving options available to Irish consumers is grant of up to €800 for the purchase/installation of Solar Panels from the SEAI's Better Energy Homes Scheme. More information on this scheme and other means of reducing the cost of Solar Panels can be found here.
  4. France has issued a new eco-friendly law which requires rooftops on all new buildings in commercial zones to be partially covered by plants or solar panels. The new law, which was approved at the end of last week by the French parliament, was much more limited in its scope than what French environmental activists had campaigned for. They had called for a law which required all new rooftops in France to be fitted with green roofs. But the socialist government managed to convince the activists to accept this limited law which only requires new roofs in commercial zones to be partially covered in plants. The law also gives house owners the choice of either installing a green roof or solar panels for electricity generation instead. But even if this is a trimmed-down version, the law will have positive effects for the French urban landscape. Green roofs are living roofs which are covered with grass, shrubs, flowers or other plants that gives birds a place to nest in the urban environment. These green roofs will also retain rainwater, helping reduce problems with stormwater runoff. Another benefit is that much less energy is required to heat or cool buildings which has a green roof installed. The law might also help France catch up to other major European countries – such as Germany, Spain and Italy – which has a much larger share of solar energy. Photovoltaic capacity just amount to over five gigawatts, or about one percent of the total energy consumption, in France. And this while Germany has nearly 40 gigawatts installed.
  5. With the rising cost and limited supply of nonrenewable energy sources, many businesses are looking elsewhere to power their buildings. Some companies reduce their carbon footprint by using solar panels; others use windmills to provide their energy needs. Some are turning to more unique and modern energy savers. A busy train station in Stockholm, for example, converts body heat into warm water that is then used to heat a nearby building. This saves them 25 percent on energy costs. Going green, however, isn't just for companies any longer. Consumers like you can take part in the action, cutting energy costs down in the process. Go green with these five modern ideas. Charge Your Devices Using The Sun If you're like the rest of us, you've got a million devices attached to you at once. Problems arise when you're out for an extended period of time and any one of them dies. Solar powered chargers offer a unique way to keep you connected, from cases to covers to water-resistant USB chargers. Some come directly built into the case, while others are mini stand-alone panels. Their use could not be simpler: Find a sunny area, plug in the charger if necessary, face the small solar panel skyward, and let the sun go to work. They are perfect for people who live in a sunny area with little cloud cover. Because of the way they produce electricity, solar cells emit no emissions, waste, or byproducts. Go Hydro If you live near an abundantly-flowing water resource like a river, a microhydropower system may be a good option. Hydroelectric power provides an economic source of energy by converting flowing water into electricity. Run-of-the-river systems, the most common type, have three components that convert water to electricity--a pipeline that delivers the water, a waterwheel that transforms the water into rotational energy, and a generator that converts this energy to electricity. Microhydropower systems are an especially viable option for people who use solar power, providing energy in the winter months when the sun is not readily available. These systems can generate up to 100 kilowatts of energy, providing well more than enough for your home. Tankless Water Heaters Rule Unlike the traditional water heaters that heat water in advance and store it until it is used, tankless heaters heat it on demand. No more running out of hot water in the shower! Some even offer temperature adjustments, convenient for those who are in danger of scalding themselves, such as the elderly or those with nerve damage in the hands. While tankless water heaters are typically more expensive than their counterparts, they are more energy efficient, and pay for themselves relatively quickly. Cut Costs with Modern Insolation A properly insolated home is more comfortable and cheaper to run than one using less quality material, and can also increase air-tightness by 70 percent. First, get an energy audit to see where your leaks are occurring. Properly install your insolation or replace windows, and try to find recycled material that is water-, fire-, and mold-resistant. If you want to know how to make your home more green and save on your next energy bill then you don’t have to look further than the nearest window. New low-e windows can help immensely with heat retention and help cut cost with modern developments. Install a Greywater System A greywater system captures and sterilizes your bath and washing machine water and reuses it for flushing the toilet. Though you must plumb the house in order to install it, the savings make up for the inconvenience. Toilet flushing typically uses 30 percent of your water intake. A greywater system would cut your bill by a third. It's estimated that you'll save around $250 annually. Though solar panels and windmills are often the first things people think of when discussing green energy, they should be far from the last. Try these unique energy-saving ideas and you'll be one step ahead of your neighbors on the energy-efficient bandwagon.
  6. For the first time, the FIFA World Cup final in Brazil yesterday was powered by the sun. Solar panels have been installed on both the Arena Pernambuco and the famous Estádio do Maracanã by Yingli Solar, the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer and a FIFA World Cup Sponsor. The solar panels are expected to generate more than 1MW per year of clean electricity. FIFA say these solar projects represents their commitment to sustainability as well as a way to reduce the environmental impact of its own operations. “Sustainability is one of the key tenants in our vision for the 2014 FIFA World Cup,” said Federico Addiechi, FIFA’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. “We hope this landmark project will be the catalyst to increase the production and use of renewable energy in the country.” FIFA and Yingli has installed 1500 solar panels on the Estádio do Maracanã, one of football’s most iconic venues and South America’s largest stadium. The solar panels will generate over 550MWh of clean electricity which can power an estimated 240 homes annually. The solar panels will prevent the release of about 350 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, similar to the impact of planting 14,000 trees. The Arena Pernambuco, home to five matches of the FIFA World Cup, was powered by a much bigger solar installation. The plant - located in São Lourenço de Mata, a suburb of Recife, the regional capital of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco - uses more than 3650 high-efficiency panels to generate about 1,500MWh of clean electricity each year. The solar power generated could power 600 average homes and is expected to offset about 800 tons of carbon dioxide each year, similar to the impact of planting 35,000 trees. It’s also the first solar power plant in Pernambuco.
  7. From the album Random images

    The map shows the space required to power the world with solar panels.
  8. Apple today released a new video ad, narrated by Apple CEO Tim Cook, that has a big focus on how the company uses green power, such as photovoltaic solar panels, to power their servers and business. '>Watch the video here. Apple has also updated a section of their website which highlight the company's various environmental initiatives.     "Now more than ever we will work to leave the world better than we found it," Cook says while the video shows photos of their manufacturing process and a field with solar panels.   The video has some truths to it. Under Cook's leadership, Apple has moved away from dirty energy (among other things), which they have been heavily criticized for in the past. Now Apple is being >praised by Greenpeace for their use of renewable energy.   It's encouraging to see corporations embracing renewable energy to power their businesses. But in my opinion, this is just brand advertising that ignores the negative environmental effects that comes from mass consumption of technology devices and gadgets - something which Apple is heavily promoting.   What do you think?
  9. The number of people working in the renewable energy industry grew by 14 percent to 6.5 million people in 2013 with solar power leading the job growth. The promising numbers come from the annual review by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and shows that – despite the economic crisis – the renewable energy industry is growing and has become a key player on the job market. “With 6.5 million people directly or indirectly employed in renewable energy, the sector is proving that it is no longer a niche, it has become a significant employer worldwide,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. China is emerging as the top employer in the renewable energy industry, followed by Brazil, USA, India, Germany, Spain and Bangladesh. The renewable energy sector which employs the most people is solar photovoltaic – employing 2.27 million people globally. Biofuels, the second largest renewable energy sector, trails far behind solar power with only 0.83 million jobs. Wind power, modern biomass and biogas follows. The job growth is being driven largely thanks to the rapid decrease in the price of solar photovoltaics in recent years. Between 2011 and 2013, the installations of solar photovoltaics in China alone increased five-fold. “Surging demand for solar PV in China and Japan has increased employment in the installation sector and eased some PV module over-supply concerns,” said Rabia Ferroukhi, heading the Knowledge, Policy and Finance division at IRENA and lead author of the report. “Consequently some Chinese manufacturers are now adding capacity.” The wind industry has seen positive growth in Canada as well as in China in recent years, the study notes. The growth of offshore wind power is mainly being concentrated in Europe – particularly the United Kingdom and Germany. The study notes that wind progress in the U.S. is lagging behind because of “political uncertainty”. But while the U.S. lags behind in wind power it remains the largest producer of biofuels, followed by Brazil which is also the world’s largest biofuel employer. Also read: Climate efforts not sufficient, huge increase in green energy required to avert climate disaster
  10. The plan was announced Nov. 25 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Parks Commissioner Veronica White, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, and Director of Long-Term Planning and Stability Sergej Mahnovski. "Soon Fresh Kills will be the site of the largest solar power installation ever developed within the five boroughs," Bloomberg said. "Thanks to the agreement today, we will increase the amount of solar energy produced in New York City by 50 percent, and it is only fitting that Fresh Kills, once a daily dumping ground, will become a showcase for urban renewal and sustainability." "Daily dumping ground" would be putting it lightly. For 55 years, the Fresh Kills Landfill, which was so enormous it could actually be seen from space, received thousands of tons of New York's garbage, as described in a 2001 report in the Staten Island Advance. In the late 1940s, some New Yorkers formed the Staten Island Anti-Garbage Organization and led protests against the landfill, but to no avail. And the advocacy group Staten Island Citizens for Clean Air (SICCA), which formed in the 1980s, tried and failed to reduce the amount of trash being accumulated there. Barbara Warren, secretary of SICCA, told the Advance, "To be honest, in the beginning people didn't know how bad it was. But everyone complained about Fresh Kills. It was a nuisance. And it had no permits, and was in complete violation of every environmental law. We didn't even know that until we went to state agencies and filed a Freedom of Information Act request and got all the data." Decades later, it seems the city is finally taking measures to improve health and make a push for renewable energy. It's worth noting that the states of New York and New Jersey share a reputation for having high pollution and numerous toxic waste sites. New York has 86 areas declared Superfund sites by the EPA, to boot, while the ironically-named Garden State has 113 - the most of any state in the country. To many, this could also be an indication that New York City, which saw its infrastructure take a heavy beating after Hurricane Sandy, is finally learning its lesson and upgrading to clean energy. If this new facility is a sign of more solar implementation to come, New York would be following in the footsteps of New Jersey, which last year was ranked as number one in the U.S. in solar energy. In New Jersey, 800 landfills and 10,000 abandoned industrial areas are currently being converted into massive solar farms, after the approval of a $446 million solar energy proposal by Jersey's Board of Public Utilities. Power company PSE&G is currently building solar farms in Kearny, Edison, Hamilton, Linden, and Hackensack. Meanwhile, the town of Garfield has opened a new Weatherization and Green Technology Training Center and entered into a 15-year contract with solar company Amberjack Energy to work toward making the town completely reliant on solar energy. For New York, the Fresh Kills development is seen as a major victory. Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said, "Not long ago, few could have imagined that Fresh Kills would be transformed into a clean energy facility. This is one of the most exciting clean energy projects in development in the entire city, and it will serve as a powerful symbol of the environmental renaissance now under way on Staten Island." "Developing solar energy here shows that large-scale renewable energy projects are possible in New York City, but this is only a first step," said deputy mayor for operations Cas Holloway. "If we are serious about meeting New York City's tremendous energy needs from renewable resources, we need the state and federal governments to work with us to make solar and other renewable energies easier to develop, install, and access on the energy grid." This article was first published in People's World by Blake Deppe.
  11. The world installed 31,100 megawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV) in 2012"”an all-time annual high that pushed global PV capacity above 100,000 megawatts. There is now enough PV operating to meet the household electricity needs of nearly 70 million people at the European level of use. While PV production has become increasingly concentrated in one country - China - the number of countries installing PV is growing rapidly. In 2006, only a handful of countries could boast solar capacity of 100 megawatts or more. Now 30 countries are on that list, which the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects will more than double by 2018. PV semiconductor materials convert the sun's rays directly into clean, carbon-free electricity. Traditional solar cells - made of crystalline silicon - are combined into flat panels or "modules." While residential rooftop systems are measured in kilowatts, large ground-mounted systems can reach thousands of megawatts of capacity. (One megawatt equals 1,000 kilowatts.) Today roughly 60 percent of PV is manufactured in China. A decade ago, China produced almost no PV. But in a kind of gold rush spurred by easy bank loans and government tax incentives and subsidies, China hurtled past PV technology pioneers the United States (in 2006) and Japan (in 2008). The flood of new companies entering the Chinese PV industry over the last several years created a massive oversupply of panels at the global level and accelerated the already fast-paced drop in world PV prices. Many firms in other countries went bankrupt or shut down factories, and now even some Chinese companies are folding as the industry consolidates. Worldwide, PV production in 2012 declined 2 percent from 2011, the first annual drop on record. But this contraction will be short-lived as demand continues to rise. Solar power installations are growing more than 40 percent annually, and falling PV prices are making solar power more affordable. China, where PV had previously been too expensive to be widely adopted, may soon lead the world in generating electricity from PV. Each year since 2006 China has at least doubled the amount of new PV installed nationwide. After installing 5,000 megawatts in 2012, China is number three in the world with 8,300 megawatts of total PV capacity, trailing only Germany and Italy. And in July 2013, the government officially set a new national PV capacity goal of 35,000 megawatts by 2015. Depending on China's 2013 final tally, Japan could well install the most PV this year, perhaps more than 9,000 megawatts. This would give Japan some 16,000 megawatts of solar capacity"”over halfway to its official 2020 target of 28,000 megawatts. Historically, Japan has been the world's leading market for residential rooftop PV; in 2011, some 85 percent of PV capacity added there was residential. After the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, though, the government introduced a generous incentive encouraging larger projects, thus spurring huge investment in utility-scale PV capacity. The other big Asian solar story comes from India, a country of 1.2 billion people where an estimated 290 million still lack electricity. According to the solar energy consultancy Bridge to India, the country had 1,700 megawatts of PV installed by May 2013, with 80 percent of it in the sun-drenched northwestern states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Bridge to India projects that figure will jump to 12,800 megawatts by 2016. India's National Solar Mission calls for 22,000 megawatts of solar power nationwide by 2022, including 2,000 megawatts of off-grid PV. Going solar is becoming increasingly attractive in India due to notoriously frequent blackouts and climbing grid power prices - not to mention that solar is now cheaper than diesel for electricity. Even though Asia's PV installations are soaring, it will be some years before it can unseat the European Union (EU) in regional PV dominance. The EU boasts 68 percent of world PV capacity. In 2012, for the second year running, the EU added more PV than it did any other electricity-generating technology. EU countries now annually installing hundreds or thousands of megawatts include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, France, Greece, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Germany remains the world's solar capital, home to nearly one third of global PV capacity. For the third straight year, Germany added more than 7,000 megawatts of PV in 2012, reaching 32,000 megawatts. Accounting for some 5 percent of national power use, the electricity flowing from Germany's solar panels in 2012 was enough to supply more than 8 million homes. After adding a world-record 9,400 megawatts of new PV to the grid in 2011, Italy connected 3,400 megawatts in 2012 to keep its second-place spot in installed PV, with 16,300 megawatts total. Italy got 5.6 percent of its electricity from PV in 2012. (See data.) The main policy driver that has allowed Germany and Italy to amass their world-leading solar capacity is the feed-in tariff (FIT), which guarantees renewable energy generators a long-term purchase price for the electricity they supply to the grid. As these markets mature and solar system costs decline, FIT incentives are being reduced. But worldwide more than 70 countries - the majority of them now in the developing world - use some form of FIT. Until recently, the United States lagged badly in PV capacity despite its abundant solar resources. (Nearly every state gets more sun than Germany does.) But annual U.S. solar installations doubled in 2011, and nearly did so again in 2012, when 3,300 megawatts of PV came online. As of mid-2013, U.S. PV capacity had passed the 10,000 megawatt mark. Renewable portfolio standards (RPS) - laws now in 29 states typically requiring that renewables account for a specified share of the electricity that utilities sell - have historically driven U.S. PV development. In California, the U.S. solar leader, utilities must get one third of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Federal tax credits and cash grants are also PV catalysts, as are the increasingly popular arrangements allowing homeowners to lease a system from solar developers like Sunrun and SolarCity rather than footing the entire upfront cost. More than half of U.S. residential systems are now leased. Another solar-rich country finally starting to seriously ramp up its PV capacity is Australia. Residential rooftops host the majority of its 2,400 megawatts, 42 percent of which were installed in 2012. In the state of South Australia, one in five homes is solar-powered. Large PV projects are announced seemingly every week in countries with little or no previous solar capacity. For example, in mid-2013 construction finished on an 84-megawatt project in Thailand. The 96-megawatt Jasper Solar Project, financed in part by Google, is under way in South Africa. And two projects of over 100 megawatts gained local approval in Chile. These large projects illustrate another global PV trend: the rise of the mega-project. Only a few years ago, the 10 largest solar farms were between 30 and 60 megawatts. Now PV parks of 100 megawatts or more are becoming commonplace. Arizona's Agua Caliente PV project became the world's largest at 250 megawatts when its fourth phase finished construction in 2012. (It will eventually be 290 megawatts.) Developers have announced a 475-megawatt PV farm in Nagasaki, Japan, due in 2016. Several projects between 500 and 3,000 megawatts are under development in California. Even as PV deployment moves toward larger applications, it is well worth noting the virtues of smaller-scale solar, especially for developing countries. In rural areas with no grid access, installing solar PV at the home level is often cheaper than building a central power plant and electric grid. Bangladesh, working for over a decade with the World Bank, had installed 1.4 million rural solar home systems as of mid-2012, for example. Peru recently announced that the first phase of its national home electrification program will equip a half-million off-grid homes with PV. Analysts expect a new PV installation record of 35,000 megawatts in 2013. Even with the possibility that Europe's annual installations will fall below 10,000 megawatts over the next few years, China, Japan, and the United States, along with the growing number of "newcomer" PV countries, will more than pick up the slack. The IEA estimates, perhaps conservatively, that world PV capacity will more than triple by 2018 to 308,000 megawatts - at peak power, the generating equivalent of 300 large nuclear plants. By J. Matthew Roney. For a plan to stabilize the Earth's climate, see "Time for Plan B." Data and additional resources at www.earth-policy.org.