More Americans Work in Solar Power Than for Apple, Facebook, and Google Combined

Numbers Don’t Lie

Anyone watching the solar market has seen an amazing increase in solar photovoltaics (PV) sales over the past nine years, and GTM Research reports that the industry is still growing during the first quarter of 2017. In just under a decade, the solar market has experienced a 30-fold increase, and 2016 alone saw a notable surge in annual global PV demand in excess of 50 percent over the previous year.

Top 10 Countries Using Solar Power
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At one point in March, the share of California’s power demand going to solar actually topped 50 percent for the first time. This was no fluke. For a few hours just last week, 40 percent of the state’s power demand was filled by utility-scale solar generation, according the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

This doesn’t account for the fact that some homes and businesses use rooftop PV to generate power — about “4 million kilowatthours (kWh) during the peak solar hours,” the IEA calculates, “suggesting that the total solar share of gross demand probably exceeded 50 percent during the mid-day hours.”

Solar Power Delivers Jobs

As of 2016, California had just over 100,000 solar jobs  —  a one-third increase over 2015’s figures. The U.S. as a whole added 50,000 solar jobs in 2016, a record in its own right. According to The Solar Foundation, the solar industry in the U.S. employs more than 260,000 workers nationwide — that’s more workers than Apple, Facebook, and Google combined.

It is 2017, and we are about to experience summer in what is predicted to be the hottest year in recorded history. That year will come on the heels of three record-breaking years before it.

Climate change predictions are absolutely grounded in scientific data and process. Continuing to ignore or dispute them is dangerous folly. Support of clean energy is not only a way to prevent climate change from hurting future generations, it is also a way to support the lives of those already on our planet.

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Tesla Orders a Staggering 3,000 Kilometers Worth of Cable in $5.4 Million Deal

Preparations for Tesla’s Model 3 electric vehicle production are well under way, and one of the most recent development comes from an Austrian cable company. The company — which has not been named publicly as of yet — will be supplying aluminum cabling for the Model 3, according to a report from the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation.

As part of a business deal worth as much as $5.4 million (5 million Euros), Tesla ordered 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) of “shielded aluminum cables” which will be used to connect the Model 3’s electric motor to an onboard battery pack. The cables are expected to be delivered to Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, Nevada, where the Model 3’s electric motors and gear boxes will be manufactured.

The deal was a result of “intensive development and sales activities,” according to the Austrian company’s Facebook page. This is the company’s first dealing with Tesla, though they are no stranger to working with car manufacturers: they’ve struck previous deals with Ford and Chrysler.

Smaller and Lighter

The Model 3 will be the latest addition to Tesla’s line up of EVs. It’s expected to be smaller and lighter than previous models, assets that the aluminum cabling supports. Supposedly, these Austrian-made cables are lighter than traditional cabling materials, and not to mention cheaper — so their addition isn’t expected to upset the vehicle’s $35,000 starting price.

All of the existing features of Tesla vehicles — including autonomous driving and supercharging — are expected to be incorporated to the Model 3. It will also have Tesla’s solar roof technology, produced by sister-company SolarCity. Although the base model will have a battery pack of under 60 kWh tops, higher-end models are expected to have battery power for a 482-kilometer (300-mile) range.

Production for the Model 3 is slated to begin this July. With the Model 3, Tesla wants to make EVs more affordable, and therefore available to a larger market, which is all part of their mission to usher in a sustainable age of clean energy by removing fossil fuels on the road.

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Tesla Orders a Staggering 3,000 Kilometers Worth of Cable in $5.4 Million Deal

Preparations for Tesla’s Model 3 electric vehicle production are well under way, and one of the most recent development comes from an Austrian cable company. The company — which has not been named publicly as of yet — will be supplying aluminum cabling for the Model 3, according to a report from the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation.

As part of a business deal worth as much as $5.4 million (5 million Euros), Tesla ordered 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) of “shielded aluminum cables” which will be used to connect the Model 3’s electric motor to an onboard battery pack. The cables are expected to be delivered to Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, Nevada, where the Model 3’s electric motors and gear boxes will be manufactured.

The deal was a result of “intensive development and sales activities,” according to the Austrian company’s Facebook page. This is the company’s first dealing with Tesla, though they are no stranger to working with car manufacturers: they’ve struck previous deals with Ford and Chrysler.

Smaller and Lighter

The Model 3 will be the latest addition to Tesla’s line up of EVs. It’s expected to be smaller and lighter than previous models, assets that the aluminum cabling supports. Supposedly, these Austrian-made cables are lighter than traditional cabling materials, and not to mention cheaper — so their addition isn’t expected to upset the vehicle’s $35,000 starting price.

All of the existing features of Tesla vehicles — including autonomous driving and supercharging — are expected to be incorporated to the Model 3. It will also have Tesla’s solar roof technology, produced by sister-company SolarCity. Although the base model will have a battery pack of under 60 kWh tops, higher-end models are expected to have battery power for a 482-kilometer (300-mile) range.

Production for the Model 3 is slated to begin this July. With the Model 3, Tesla wants to make EVs more affordable, and therefore available to a larger market, which is all part of their mission to usher in a sustainable age of clean energy by removing fossil fuels on the road.

The post Tesla Orders a Staggering 3,000 Kilometers Worth of Cable in $5.4 Million Deal appeared first on Futurism.

An Electric Plane Just Smashed World Speed Records

Charging the Skies

Electric vehicles (EV) are becoming increasingly popular. One clear proof is Tesla’s recent ranking as the most valuable car maker in the United States, topping industry veterans Ford and General Motors. As Tesla beats the EV competition on the ground, other companies are trying to conquer the skies. One of these is Siemens, and their Extra 330LE aerobatic plane just proved that electric planes can be as fast and as tough as their counterparts powered by fossil fuels.

On March 23, the Extra broke two world records for electric planes. One was in the World Air Sports Federation’s (FAI) category of “Electric airplanes with a take-off weight less than 1,000 kilograms.” Over a three-kilometer distance at the Dinslaken Schwarze Heide airfield in Germany, the Extra reached top speeds of around 337.5 km/h (209.7 mph). A slightly modified version of this electric plane also set a record for the “above 1,000 kilograms” category, reaching a speed of 343 km/h (213 mph).

An Electric Plane Just Smashed World Records
Credit: Siemens

Then, on March 24, the Extra became the first electric plane to perform an aerotow. In a nearly silent maneuver, the Extra towed a type LS8-neo glider at a height of 600 meters in just 76 seconds. “This aerotow provides further highly visible evidence of our record-setting motor’s performance capabilities,” said Frank Anton, eAircraft head at next47, a Siemens venture capital unit. “Just six such propulsion units would be sufficient to power a typical 19-seat hybrid-electric airplane.”

Cleaning the Skies

Airplanes are huge contributors to fossil fuel utilization. Planes for international flights, like a Boeing 747 for example, consume about 4 liters (1 gallon) of fuel every second. A ten-hour flight can burn as much as 150,000 liters (36,000 gallons) of fuel, and as much as 12 liters of fuel per kilometer (5 gallons fuel per mile).

Electric planes like the Extra 330LE could give us a big boost towards lessen carbon emissions in the skies. According to Anton, it won’t be long before electric planes can be used for commercial flights. “By 2030, we expect to see the first planes carrying up to 100 passengers and having a range of about 1,000 kilometers,” he said. Siemens is making it possible for hybrid-electric propulsion systems to be the future of aircrafts, and it is working with Airbus to scale their propulsion systems.

Siemen’s isn’t the only company working on electric planes. Wright Electric is busy with their 150-seater battery plane meant for short-haul commercial flights. NASA has also invested $43 million to fund electric plane development. Efforts like these set a new frontier for clean energy.

The post An Electric Plane Just Smashed World Speed Records appeared first on Futurism.

An Electric Plane Just Smashed World Speed Records

Charging the Skies

Electric vehicles (EV) are becoming increasingly popular. One clear proof is Tesla’s recent ranking as the most valuable car maker in the United States, topping industry veterans Ford and General Motors. As Tesla beats the EV competition on the ground, other companies are trying to conquer the skies. One of these is Siemens, and their Extra 330LE aerobatic plane just proved that electric planes can be as fast and as tough as their counterparts powered by fossil fuels.

On March 23, the Extra broke two world records for electric planes. One was in the World Air Sports Federation’s (FAI) category of “Electric airplanes with a take-off weight less than 1,000 kilograms.” Over a three-kilometer distance at the Dinslaken Schwarze Heide airfield in Germany, the Extra reached top speeds of around 337.5 km/h (209.7 mph). A slightly modified version of this electric plane also set a record for the “above 1,000 kilograms” category, reaching a speed of 343 km/h (213 mph).

An Electric Plane Just Smashed World Records
Credit: Siemens

Then, on March 24, the Extra became the first electric plane to perform an aerotow. In a nearly silent maneuver, the Extra towed a type LS8-neo glider at a height of 600 meters in just 76 seconds. “This aerotow provides further highly visible evidence of our record-setting motor’s performance capabilities,” said Frank Anton, eAircraft head at next47, a Siemens venture capital unit. “Just six such propulsion units would be sufficient to power a typical 19-seat hybrid-electric airplane.”

Cleaning the Skies

Airplanes are huge contributors to fossil fuel utilization. Planes for international flights, like a Boeing 747 for example, consume about 4 liters (1 gallon) of fuel every second. A ten-hour flight can burn as much as 150,000 liters (36,000 gallons) of fuel, and as much as 12 liters of fuel per kilometer (5 gallons fuel per mile).

Electric planes like the Extra 330LE could give us a big boost towards lessen carbon emissions in the skies. According to Anton, it won’t be long before electric planes can be used for commercial flights. “By 2030, we expect to see the first planes carrying up to 100 passengers and having a range of about 1,000 kilometers,” he said. Siemens is making it possible for hybrid-electric propulsion systems to be the future of aircrafts, and it is working with Airbus to scale their propulsion systems.

Siemen’s isn’t the only company working on electric planes. Wright Electric is busy with their 150-seater battery plane meant for short-haul commercial flights. NASA has also invested $43 million to fund electric plane development. Efforts like these set a new frontier for clean energy.

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Electric Planes are the Next Frontier in Clean Energy Transport

Clean Air

A company called Wright Electric made a presentation this week at the Tech Crunch Y Combinator Demo Day showing off a plan to design and develop a 150-seat commercial aircraft that operates completely (or at least partially) on electric power. Wright’s core is comprised by a team that was formerly working with NASA to investigate electric aircraft viability. Other design team members also have strong aviation backgrounds coming from Boeing and Cessna.

According to Wright Electric’s blog, its first step is to retrofit a Piper Cherokee into a flying testbed aircraft. Wright hopes to secure funding to prove its concept and then plans to build a nine-seat commercial aircraft that flies without jet fuel.

Fast-forwarding several years — and through layers of red tape in the government approval process — Wright envisions its 150-seat planes replacing the stalwart Boeing 737 on short-haul routes such as NYC to Boston. The BBC says Wright has the interest of European low-cost carrier EasyJet, which hopes for electric flights from London to Paris within ten years. The airline told the BBC, “EasyJet has had discussions with Wright Electric and is actively providing an airline operator’s perspective on the development of this exciting technology.”


Airbus

The Road to Clean Flight

Apart from employee salary and the airplanes themselves, fuel is the top expense at most airlines. Alternative methods of powering planes aren’t really anything new, and other electric or hybrid concepts have come and gone. Airbus created its E-Fan aircraft to explore the realm of possibility of electric aircraft. Although it’s been successful in the form of a tiny plane with a solo pilot, Airbus has since realized a hybrid version of the plane  — equipped with both electric and internal combustion engines — is more viable.

Wright has said it may end up with a hybrid system as well, depending how available battery technology progresses in the nest few years. But there can be no doubt that airlines will do whatever is reasonable and ethically possible to reduce operating costs.

Over the past few years, several airlines have even implemented alternative biofuels to power their jets on select flights. In 2016, United Airlines launched an initiative to use biofuels on every flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to San Francisco (SFO). Alaska Airlines has experimented with a sustainable biofuel based on leftover limbs and branches from the Pacific Northwest timber industry.

How much battery power would it take to power a plane for a 300-mile flight? The problems with batteries on aircraft have been well-publicized, from the fires on the early Boeing 787s, to bulk lithium-ion battery shipments on UPS. Is it possible? Yes. But ten years seems a bit too ambitious when they don’t even have a conceptual plane flying. Their mindset toward eliminating or reducing jet fuel use is commendable, and the reduction in jet fuel use would be beneficial to the environment.

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The UAE Expects to Save $192 Billion by Switching to Renewable Energy

Going Lean And Green

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has determined that trading natural gas for clean energy is best both for the environment and the budget. Forecasts show that switching half of the country’s power needs to renewables by 2050 will generate savings that outweigh the costs of investment. In fact, as the UAE invests $150 billion into renewable power between now and 2050, it will save $192 billion as it reduces its dependency on subsidized natural gas power.

Minister of Energy Suhail Al-Mazrouei announced the UAE’s clean energy plans, expressing the nation’s “bullish” enthusiasm about the project. Following through with the plan will “save the environment and at the same time save us lots of money,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Via Flickr
Credit: Tripovo

As solar power makes the news as the cheapest source of new energy, countries in sunny regions are reassessing their power strategies. Most of these nations rely on liquid natural gas — for now. Al-Mazrouei explained that Middle East states need to break free from their dependence on subsidized gas power, which is incredibly inefficient.

“We have so many open-cycle power plants it doesn’t make sense to continue with them — they’ve very low efficiency,” he said. “The reason they are there is because gas is subsidized.”

Capitalizing On Natural Advantages

The UAE has now set a clean power target that is “incredibly ambitious” according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, joining other nations around the world who are working to maximize their green energy use.

Costa Rica: Pioneering a Renewable Future [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Britain has set a trade as its goal: all coal power for green energy by 2025. Costa Rica runs entirely on green energy, setting an example for the rest of the world. China, one of the biggest greenhouse gas offenders in the world, is also making some of the most impressive strides to correct its behavior; it has decreased its use of fossil fuels as its overall energy use has increased, and is now the world’s biggest producer of solar energy.

The UAE is likely to be a contender when it comes to solar power producers of the future; the Sun is certainly a natural advantage for the country.

Disclosure: The Dubai Future Foundation works in collaboration with Futurism and is one of our sponsors.

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Elon Musk’s Company Just Smashed Through a Major Milestone

Back in July 2016, Tesla noted that owners of the company’s EVs had driven a combined total of more than 2 billion miles. In an effort to speed up the journey to three billion miles (while simultaneously “showcas[ing] the uncompromised capabilities of Model S and Model X”), the company launched its Electric Road Trip.

A good number of Tesla owners participated in the three-month-long RSVP event during which they had to reach a series of destinations all over the world marked by Tesla charging stations. By the time the event ended in October 2016, the target was reached. Just two months later, Tesla reached three-and-a-half billion miles.

Now, more than eight months after the road trip kicked off, Tesla has hit another milestone. The company’s fleet of electric vehicles all over the world have now collectively covered more than four billion miles of road — and counting!

Image credit: Tesla, screenshot
Image credit: Tesla, screenshot

The Road Ahead

When Tesla first launched its EVs and started laying down its network of charging stations, the company was met with a lot of skepticism. In 2014, someone even went out of his way to do his own electric road trip and found the whole thing impractical.

All Electric Cars: What’s My Range? [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Now, times have changed. The EV market has grown exponentially, with about 773,600 units sold worldwide in 2016. That’s a 42 percent increase over 2015’s numbers. Other vehicle manufacturers are developing their own lineups of electric cars, but Tesla is still dominating the market. In fact, Consumer Reports ranked the company as number eight worldwide in its 2017 auto brand report, making it the highest-ranked American brand on the list, and that’s not just amongst EV manufacturers.

But more than just billions of miles, Tesla and EVs are bringing us closer to a cleaner future powered by sustainable energy. As CEO Elon Musk himself mentioned in Tesla’s “Master Plan Part Deux,” “The point of all this was, and remains, accelerating the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good.”

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