Saturday Sustainability News


It’s Saturday again, which means that there are lots of people waking up on either A) the hung-over side of the bed, B) someone else’s side of the bed, or C) the well-rested side of the bed, which is where I woke up this morning!

This morning brings some sustainability news stories, covering solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal power wherever possible.  There’s only one reason why we can’t take ahold of sustainable and renewable energy sources right at the time when we need to develop them the most, and that’s because not enough people are stepping up.  I can’t be the only person who believes that we could all live on a planet that is consuming less power than we can generate, and where there’s enough of everything for everybody…

…or can I?


Sustainability News

  1. The Ivanpah Solar project is over 90% complete, nearing a total of 173,500 heliostats!

  2. First Solar has 400 million in cash from their most recent stock offering…  How will they spend it?

  3. University of Florida added some solar panels to University apartment carports.  Brilliant move, UF!

  4. German community-owned solar arrays!

  5. Flattening peak and base energy prices – Analysis

  6. Conergy says Australian solar markets will grow 20% a year until 2015

  7. Goldman Sachs plans to invest in an offshore wind farm in Japan

  8. US solar market grew 76% in 2012…!!!

  9. The US leads Clean Energy mergers and acquisitions (M&A’s), Solar stays in the lead

  10. Italy reaches clean energy budget cap, stops offering tariffs on new clean energy installs

  11. Geothermal energy starts the list of US Army’s nearly ready power purchasing agreement binge

  12. Renewable energy investments focus on developing nations

  13. Solar tracking systems gain some public footing

  14. Are solar panels as inexpensive as paint nowadays?

  15. California needs 3 BILLION to finish its Energy Storage Plan

  16. New ideas for a power plant — that lives at the bottom of the ocean

  17. Ladies and Gentlemen, the first artificial photosynthesis nanosystem

  18. Solar in California breaks the 2 Gigawatt output mark!

  19. Making cheaper and more flexible silicon crystalline wafers for Solar

  20. The coming US distributed solar boom

  21. Big Coal in India takes a nibble of Solar investment

  22. Solar plane makers shows what it takes to build a solar airplane

  23. MECASOLAR from Spain leads a huge EU research and development project into Solar

  24. A strategic agreement has been met to create deployable solar panels

  25. Comcast’s “Connected Home” has smart light bulbs, web-programmable thermostats

Have an awesome sunny Saturday, everyone!

UK Streets Might Get Mood Lighting

Heyooooo! JimOnLight’s UK correspondent here, coming at you with hot off the press news!

The conversation to dim streetlights during very low traffic levels has been initiated, and it’s causing quite a stir! The Press Association reports:

” Norman Baker, the local transport minister, supported the move as long as safety was not compromised.

In a parliamentary written answer he said: “The level of light reduction will be based upon internationally agreed standards and made in consultation with the UK’s Institute of Lighting Professionals.

“It is right that lighting authorities consider, in the interests of cost-saving and the environment, whether lighting can be sensibly dimmed or turned off, consistent with proper safety assessments.” “

The roads in question are the A roads, the major thoroughfares connecting cities which are not motorways. The Californian side of me would describe A roads as “highways,” while motorways are “freeways.” Kapeesh?

So we like saving the environment, and we like saving money. Why is this such a massive discussion?

Numerous fears including increased crime, automobile accidents, are mixed with financial worries. The conversion would cost a significant sum, and people aren’t sold on MAKIN IT RAIN!

The Telegraph reports:

“…While authorities across the UK are saving £21.5 million per year by turning off nine per cent of lights, the schemes to reduce street lighting cost a total of £106.3 million.

The bill for installing dimming technology or converting lights to part-night operations, which is five times greater than the saving, means some councils will not start seeing the benefits for up to eight years.”

This follows other UK locations, such as the Welsh county of Gwynedd have already experimented in dimming street lights between midnight and 5:30 am. There seems to be much more support of dimming street lights than turning them off. Kirklees and Derbyshire are amongst numerous experiments in turning off street lights, both completely and in selection (1 in 10 seems to be a common cutting ratio). Fears of isolation ensued.

What do you think? Turn ’em all off and make everyone wear headlamps, selective black outs, dimming, ALL OF THE LIGHTS! @ FL or something else?


If you found this interesting, I also posted about the delightfully unexpected results of blue street lights in Glasgow as well as Japan here. I’m imagining these cobalt lamps as urban super heros, stopping crime and saving lives! Neato burrito.

Monday Afternoon – The Percocet Addition!

I’m still healing from my surgery on Friday, which apparently went awesomely.  Shoulder surgery means a few things – stiffness and pain, and pain medicine!  I am at home recuperating, missing my students, and trying to get work done.  I hope that you’re all having a great day out there today!

I have a bunch of links to share with you – I’ve found some incredible stories lately!

  • What You Need to Know about Obama’s Budget and Energy
    this is an interesting read, more into the way that Obama is treating money and energy in his new budget (from GigaOm)
  • Do Gadget Lights Harm Your Health?
    there seem to be a lot of this type of story coming out lately – make up your own mind, there is a lot of contradictory evidence in both directions of this argument (from PCWorld)
  • “Light Wall,” by Acrylicize and Jump Studios
    a cool project from the website Enlighter – fellow lighting blogger Mitja Prelovsek posted this article recently, on a brilliant project!
  • DIY Ikea Slide Projector Lamp
    I think every lighting nerd who lived within a thousand miles of an Ikea has one version or another of their little PC spot light.  Their package came with a few glass texture gobos, some steel gobos, and some dichroic glass.  This project on Make Magazine‘s website shows how to turn that Ikea projector into a cool slide projector!
  • Lots of Hot Water from Small-Scale Parabolic Solar
    this is an interesting article about a water heating solar technology that produces a high amount of kilowatts for what it’s collecting.  What might be even better than the initial article is reading through the comments of people who picked up a small typo in  the original poster’s article.
  • Wave-Shaped Aragon Convention Center is Flooded with Daylight
    read this article about a convention center’s daylighting design from Zaragoza, Spain.  VERY cool!

Steve Roudebush (@steve_BMI) Promoted to VP Sales for BMI Supply

Sweet – I just got a bit of information from Carl at BMI Supply that Steve Roudebush (or as many of you know him, @steve_BMI) has been promoted to the Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Development for BMI Supply.  Please join me in saying congrats, Steve!

Press release below:

BMI Supply
Press Release
February 3,2010

Cynthia L. Barber, President and CEO of BMI Supply, has announced the promotion of Steve Roudebush to the position of Vice President of Sales, Marketing, & Development.  In his new position, Roudebush will continue directing sales for New York State, in addition to coordinating overall sales efforts for BMI Supply and BMI Supply South.

“I am excited to have Steve in this key role as BMI Supply continues its steady growth.  Steve will work hard to support BMI Supply’s longstanding traditions of excellent customer service, broad product offerings, and industry expertise” noted Barber.

“We have a fantastic team of pros that takes great pride in helping customers produce wonderful theatre and events.  I am eager to help craft the next chapter in our company’s history” commented Roudebush.

Cynthia L. Barber is the wife of the late founder of BMI Supply, Robert S. Barber, who passed away earlier this year.

Sunday Solar News

I was digging around in the hundreds of tabs I have open in Google Chrome (yes, hundreds), and I have so many tabs open right now on solar news and products that I figured a list would suffice.  After all, those hundreds of open tabs aren’t doing $#!& sitting on my machine, right?

America, there is so much news on solar tech right now.  I urge you to seek it out.

A DIY Solar-Powered Walkway Weekend Project

MIT and the Indian Government in Talks for A High-Power Solar Battery System

Stored Solar Energy and Georgia’s Suniva, Inc – Grid-Stored Solar Energy

VASIMR Plasma Rocket for A Lunar Tug

A Solar-Powered Herb Dryer

Huge Parking Lot Solar Array Powers NJ Grid with 1 Million+ Annual kWh

A Solar-Powered DIY Bottle Boat

21st Century Solar Tech Meets 15th Century Architecture

Ventamatic Ltd CX2121 Power Automatic Gable Vent Shutter

High School Students to Make an Old Tractor Run Clean on Solar Power

A Solar-Powered Eco Freezer

Solar and Wind Power Feel the Hear from Low Natural Gas Prices

First Solar Begins Operation of the Largest Thin-Film PV Plant in California

MSNBC Reporter Monica Morales VS. Lighting Equipment

Did anyone see these clips?  MSNBC reporter Monica Morales had a little accident on air when a c-stand smacked her right upside the head.  It was obviously not happy with the way the story was going.  Monica, I kid!  This kind of thing happens all the time, I’m sure.  Anchor Mika Brzezinski clearly waxed poetic on this subject when she said “Oh my goodness, I love it when the wind blows down the light thing.

Me too, Mika, me too.

My sister-in-law is a reporter – hey Carolyn, this ever happen to you?

Goodness indeed.  That stand cracked her right in the head!, DALLAS Edition

I’m now coming to you from DALLAS, TX – the place I call home after living in several places across the United States.  My wife and I moved back here yesterday, and we’re waiting to get into our apartment tomorrow morning.  I keep cracking my wife up when I say “we’re loading in tomorrow morning.”  Either that or she’s laughing at my stupidity.

Sorry for the late posting, we drove in a caravan yesterday for 16 hours through the I-70 and I-35 corridors.  As you can imagine, it was exhausting.

CNN’s Holograms

So, I’ve embedded a video below of CNN’s Holograms that I posted earlier this week.  They looked okay, but as the technology improves, I know they will look better.  Check out the video – the holograms are towards the end.