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Thanks to incredible improvements in the harvesting and storage of solar energy, manufacturers are creating increasingly efficient systems which makes solar the most viable alternative to fossil-fuel energy.
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Put the sun at the glowing heart of progress! This is the message of Solar Impulse. For two centuries technological civilization has revolved around the energy of fossil fuels, but now humankind has the capability and knowledge to make the energy of the sun the centre of its development.
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While the rest of Canada talks and talks about reducing reliance on fossil fuels, one town is actually doing it.
Greening the building sector is one of the most cost-effective and economically beneficial ways to reduce energy demand and emissions while also supporting climate adaptation and resilience. These solutions exist and can be put into action right now. It's also a solid way to get a moribund economy moving.
The myths we are concerned about, the ones of dubious value, are crazy stories that are passed off as facts when talking about solar energy. To get to the bottom of these solar myths we talked to Gordon Howell, a solar expert with Howell-Mayhew Engineering.
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That's one household powered for every four metres of Wattway,or less than the length of a mid-size car.
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Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have such a grand, evocative ring, and they include a goal on energy, a huge concern for everyone's future. So what does the goal ask for -- and can we meet it?
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." To see that quote brought to life we went to Cochrane High School in Cochrane, Alberta about a half-hour west of Calgary.
Asking lesser developed countries to deal with the negative consequences of the mining and refining of rare earths is the ultimate in hypocrisy. We ask for clean technologies but refuse to get our hands dirty in the process.
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The race to build net-zero homes across Canada is on. Natural Resources Canada has a program that's helping five builders build five net-zero homes each to support a rapid evolution to affordable net-zero homes.
And the prize is one everyone can appreciate: a home that produces as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year. A net-zero home is not a passive consumer in the energy system -- it is a clean and green participant.
You can almost set your watch to it: Every time a new and disruptive technology begins to take hold, the backlash follows. So it is with "The Darker Side of Solar Power" -- an article that appeared last week in The Globe and Mail. Nobody ever called solar perfect. But when we look at how the technology stacks up against its fossil and nuclear peers, there's simply no contest. Solar remains a safe, reliable, scalable, and increasingly affordable solution to our energy challenges. That might not make for a provocative headline, but it is the truth.
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The gap from net-zero house to net-zero commercial building has now been bridged. This 30,000 square foot building cost $10.5 million dollars. It's three months ahead of schedule and five per cent under budget. It's bright and roomy with beautiful exposed wood beams, feature stairs and a three storey living wall in the foyer.
Banff is famous for its beautiful mountain views, its diversity of wildlife and its many, many tourists. Canada's most popular national park gets more than three million visitors a year. Located within the national park, the town of Banff has branded itself as an environmental role model both for its eco-conscious citizens and its visitors.
A couple of boat rides, a little hike, and you'd never know you were only about 150 kilometres away from Vancouver. On Lasqueti, a community off the coast of Vancouver Island, around 400 people live c...
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Solar air heating might be the easiest to understand and the most accessible solar technology we've covered yet. It's so simple we built our own solar air heater out of found materials, pop cans and about $80 worth of materials from a local hardware store.
We have done stories on the rise of solar before but these were based on growth in installations in Germany, Bloomberg predictions and the amazing reductions in the pricing of solar. This is something else entirely -- the cold, hard, impersonal hand of the market is now making the case for the rise of solar.
On a bright fall day in early October in a packed ballroom in a downtown Calgary hotel Alberta's new energy minister, Frank Oberle, made his first speech as minister to Alberta's small solar industry....
A net-zero home reimagines the house not as a burden on the planet but as a regenerative node. Net-zero homes only started being seriously considered about a decade ago, but once proven, the idea took off.
Over the course of a year a net-zero home will generate as much energy as it consumes. They've been around for less than 10 years, but these buildings and the thinking behind them are taking North America by storm.
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A passive solar greenhouse in Invermere B.C. is making people across the continent sit up and takes notice. What is a passive solar greenhouse? Don't they already use the sun's energy? Well, yes, but with the traditional Dutch glass box greenhouse design all that heat leaves once the sun goes down.
While some might turn their noses up at the current economics of solar thermal hot water systems less developed countries without our huge natural gas grid are jumping all over the opportunity. China has by far the most installed capacity with 117,600 megawatts of domestic solar thermal hot water systems as of 2010.
"God hates cowards." That's how Bob Sargent, a farmer who also runs an oilfield services company and serves as a local councillor explains why he made his first investment in solar energy. As part of...
It's one thing for SolarShare to get $3 million worth of solar projects going in Ontario under that provinces feed-in tariff program but it's quite another thing altogether to start a community solar program in small town Alberta with no government support. And yet that's exactly where some pretty amazing green energy innovation is occurring.
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The Ancient Pueblo peoples got free heating and cooling at the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings in what's now Colorado and they did it without electricity, insulation, natural gas, air conditioning or modern building techniques. Contrast that with modern homes built in Edmonton, Vancouver or Toronto today.
China's aggressive push to "green" its economy and become the world leader in renewable energy is admired by many commentators in the West. Those admirers need to look again; after years of over-development in the face of decreasing demand, China's renewable energy market is on life support, barely kept alive by government subsidies.
Soon, it won't make sense to not have solar on your house, on your office or on any spare building that faces South. It's simple math. The cost of electricity is going up while the cost of solar is going down. Way down. Thirty-five years ago a watt of solar photovoltaic power cost $75. Now it costs $0.75.
With the right technology, solar energy can be stored during the middle of the day and shifted for use whenever it is needed. In remote microgrid and island grid systems, PV energy generation combined with energy storage can become the primary source of power, relegating diesel generators to a back-up role and resulting in an energy ecosystem that is more reliable, sustainable and affordable.
"Morgan Solar has reinvented solar power with an optic that takes all the incident sunlight and drops it onto a very small, very efficient chip. End of the day, they will be in the market in 2014 with the cheapest solar power on the planet. That's a game changer."
Entrepreneurs, inventors and researchers all over the world are beavering away, trying to find an answer to a multi-billion dollar question: How do you cheaply and reliably store energy for the grid? In Canada we've got many entrepreneurs working on figuring out energy storage.
I don't know anything about bulls, and bears, candlesticks or hanging men, but as a resident of the Middle East I can testify that green technologies make nations and communities proud to be part of them. Green technologies make places better. Solar projects change people too: they bring jobs, and sweep away pollution. They give security to people without energy security.
The transmission grid remains the inflexible behemoth it was 50 years ago. The central idea of distributed generation -- where nimble, low-cost generators generate electricity where you need it -- is the equivalent of going from mainframe computer that takes up half a building to an iPad.
I believe that women entrepreneurship will not only give a boost to the economy by increasing the number of employed people and leading towards a more gender-equal growth. Not being financially independent is one of the main factors that prove as a hindrance in self-empowerment of women, especially in patriarchal societies like India.