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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Trump Asks For “Border Wall” Designs. Engineers Create Hilarious (And Useful) Alternative

Engineers Propose Loop-tastic Solution

The Trump administration has called for border wall proposals, and a group of engineers called MADE Collective just responded in truly epic style. The group submitted a proposal for a “wall” that’s really a $15 billion hyperloop — that’s $6 billion less than the current estimate for a simple barrier from the Department of Homeland Security. MADE Collective estimates that such a loop would create $1 trillion in jobs.

Trump Asks For “Border Wall” Designs. Engineers Create Hilarious (And Useful) Alternative
Credit: MADE Collective

MADE Collective, a group of Mexican and American urban planners and engineers, calls their project Otra Nation. This hyperloop transportation network would transform the border from unusable, dead space into a shared nation, with an independent local government and nonvoting representatives in the legislatures of both countries.

Border Benefits

The Otra Nation hyperloop network would span 2,000 km (1,250 miles) and replace existing border fencing. Stations along the hyperloop would allow people to board, and the network would be powered by solar farms alongside it. Equal numbers of Mexican and American workers would be used to build the hyperloop system and staff it once it was operational. The group has posted a petition asking for support for their proposal.

“The existence of the border wall has become more a signifier of status than a barrier that each population sustains in its own form of isolation towards the opposite side,” the designers explained in their proposal. “The 19th century brought us boundaries, the 20th century we built walls, the next will bridge nations by creating communities based on shared principles of economic resiliency, energy independence, and a trust-based society.”

Via MADE Collective
Credit: MADE Collective

Other innovative, future-facing designs for the border wall include an “Inflatoborder” made of plastic bubbles, a binational park, and a wall covered in solar panels. In June, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection will announce the 10 companies it wants to hire to create prototypes.

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