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California Communities Reap the Benefits of Energy Democracy

Empowered by state laws that allow communities to choose the energy that powers their homes and businesses, cities and counties throughout California are taking charge of their energy future and boldly pushing renewable energy forward, while securing financial savings, creating jobs and cycling revenue back into their local and regional economies.

Community Choice energy programs now determine mix of power for 3.2 million Californians in the Bay Area and northern California, along with the city of Lancaster in the western Mojave desert. These energy choice communities are the first movers in a rapidly expanding statewide effort by localities to determine the sources of electricity used within their jurisdictions – independent of California’s three regional utility monopolies.  Read more

A View From Inside China’s Solar Manufacturing Industry:

Jinshi Solar CSO Jason Lu

Mono-Crystalline Photovoltaic Solar Panel

Jason Lu is Chief Strategy Officer for Ningbo Jinshi Solar Company, a Shanghai-based company that manufactures and sells photovoltaic (PV) solar modules for both on and off-grid power. As listed on Alibaba, Jinshi Solar produces 200 megawatts of solar panels annually, has over  $100 million U.S. in revenue and operates in markets all over the world. Mr. Lu agreed to share his perspective and insights from within China’s solar manufacturing industry. 

Hi Jason, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.   Lets begin with an overview of PV manufacturing in China. Chinese companies produce the majority of solar panels globally and have led the considerable price decline in PV modules over the last decade.   However, overproduction, low profit margins, tariffs from the U.S. and an economic slowdown in Europe have contributed to the recent struggles of manufacturing giants like Suntech Power and Yingli Solar.    Q: What is your perspective on the state of the Chinese PV manufacturing industry? Can it continue to produce most of the world’s solar panels while remaining profitable?

As a Chinese solar panel Original Equipment Maker (OEM), I witnessed the comedies and tragedies in Chinese solar industry throughout this decade. Read more

Bangladesh Solar: Illuminating a Path to Clean Energy Equity

Transporting solar equipment by bike.

Access to reliable, efficient and modern sources of energy is a key enabler of basic economic and societal development, by unlocking significant improvements in education, health and medical services, and increasing economic opportunity and supporting gender equality. Energy is a central issue in development, and considered one of the main challenges globally in meeting the United Nations’ set of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The importance of energy, and electricity in particular, is underscored by the “Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century” list compiled by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, which named the electrification of national power grids globally as the single most important engineering achievement of the 20th century. Read more

Green Data Centers: Tech Giants Pioneer Path to Renewable Energy

Apple. Google. Facebook. Amazon.

Pillars of the Information Age, these are some of the most iconic and profitable companies of our time, having revolutionized how we connect, learn, work and conduct our daily lives within the last decade. And now they are helping to lead the way towards a powerful shift on the horizon for society: widespread clean, renewable energy. 

Increasingly, these titans of tech are powering their extensive global infrastructure with significant amounts of renewable energy, and in doing so are blazing a trail towards a future that is run primarily on clean, abundant and inexhaustible resources. Read more

Solar Ascendant

From a fringe sector with few serious companies and prohibitively expensive hardware, solar power has charted a meteoric rise within the last decade.

Now an industry worth more than $60 billion, solar is home to several publicly traded companies, consistently posts both double-digit percent drops in price and gains in growth on an annual basis, and this is only the beginning; the future of selling the sun looks brilliant. 

Solar has grown rapidly since the turn of the century, as a number of factors have converged: Read more

The Coastal Communities Nexus: Part 2

A World Without Fish

One billion people rely on seafood for their primary source of sustenance, and many millions of coastal people rely upon sea life for their primary livelihood. 

The rapid spread of industrial fishing since the 1950s, however, has decimated this vital source of nutrient-rich food and sustainable income.The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found that nearly 80% of the world’s fisheries are either over-exploited, fully-exploited or have already collapsed, and large predator fish such as sharks, tuna, cod, marlin, halibut, grouper and swordfish have lost 90% of their populations in the last 60 years.  Read more

The Coastal Communities Nexus: Part 1


The well-being of humanity and that of the ocean are intimately linked. The world’s seas create rainclouds that feed our crops, buffer our planet from extreme temperatures, provide a bounty of food upon which billions of us rely, and offer a source of unparalleled beauty, serenity and recreation for us to enjoy. 

Oceans are suffering greatly, however, from massive plundering by industrial fishing conglomerates, hundreds of miles of dead zones born of pollution from cities and farms, swirling patches of garbage the size of Texas, and gradual increases in both temperature and acidity that threaten the foundations of the marine web of life.  Read more

Greening the Desert Using Seawater, Sun and Ingenuity


In the vast sands of Qatar and Jordan, a plan to green the desert using evaporated seawater, indoor agriculture, trees, algae biofuels, solar panels and mirrors is taking root.

The Sahara Forest Project is based around creating value from saltwater, sunshine and flat arid landscapes, three resources that are in abundance throughout many parts of Africa, the Middle East, United States, Mexico and Australia. In other words, the Sahara Forest Project “is designed to utilize what we have enough of to produce what we need more of, using deserts, saltwater and CO2 to produce food, water and energy” (via Sahara Forest Project). Here’s how it works. Read more