93% Of Apple Facilities Run On Renewable Energy

Apple is quite busy these days, with the recent announcement of their new iPhone SE and  their legal battles with the FBI regarding encryption. Amongst all of this though they seem to have time to keep investing and enhancing their facilities, with the recent revelation that 93% of their facilities run on renewable energy.

Of all of their facilities, 23 countries already have a complete transition to renewable energy, including those in China and the U.S. Some of these facilities use traditional means of renewable energy generation, with solar panels lining their Singapore rooftops while in China there is even a solar farm that has been built to be yak-friendly.

With ambitions to increase the materials used for packaging coming from recycled materials or sustainable sources, Apple doesn’t seem to be stopping on the eco-train either. With pressure coming more and more from governments and the public to use renewable sources and clean energy Apple looks like it wants to be ready for when people ask about it next.

Apple isn’t the only ones interested in green technology. Amazon has already expressed their interest in going green for their server farms and Microsoft going so far as putting some of its servers underwater, we could soon see a day where the companies creating your technology do it environmentally responsibly.

Wales Has First ‘Energy Positive’ House in Britain

Wales has become home to Britain’s first ‘energy positive’ house, so-called because it can generate a surplus of electricity which its owner can then sell on. The three-bedroom detached property in Cenin, South Wales, cost £125,000 to build, according to its designers from Cardiff University.

The house is lined with heavy insulation to retain heat during cold months, with solar panels covering the roof and mounted in the garden. For eight months of the year, the house is expected to generate £75 more electricity than it will use, which can then be sold back to the national grid or stored within the property’s batteries.

It was developed to serve the low-carbon housing bill, proposed by Labour in 2006. Current Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, however, has recently scrapped the bill. “It was disappointing to see Osborne scrap the plans,” said Professor Phil Jones of the Welsh School of Architecture. “But the devolved Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish governments can set their own building standards. One reason we built this house was to demonstrate to builders that you could meet the standards at an affordable price with off-the-shelf technology. The housebuilders could do it too if they wanted to.”

Jones says that building his ‘energy positive’ design en masse could bring the cost of each property down to £100,000. “We save money and space by making the photovoltaic panels the roof itself and by dispensing with radiators and making the air collector part of the wall,” he added. “The building demonstrates our leading edge low carbon supply, storage and demand technologies at a domestic scale which we hope will be replicated in other areas of Wales and the UK in the future.”

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information.

MIT Says Solar Panels Alone Can Handle Electricity Burden

An extensive study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that, despite unevidenced claims to the contrary, current solar panel technology is capable of delivering all the electricity a modern household could need. According to the 356-page report – The Future of Solar Energy – solar panels could, with the proper investment, deliver terawatts of electricity by 2050. MIT maintains that it is not the technology that is holding solar power back, but the investment, with researchers calling for increased funding from the US government.

“The recent shift of federal dollars for solar R&D away from fundamental research of this sort to focus on near-term cost reductions in c-Si technology should be reversed,” the report reads.

Richard Schmalensee, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, said, “What the study shows is that our focus needs to shift toward new technologies and policies that have the potential to make solar a compelling economic option.”

“Massive expansion of solar generation worldwide by mid-century is likely a necessary component of any serious strategy to mitigate climate change,” reads the conclusion of the study. “Fortunately, the solar resource dwarfs current and projected future electricity demand. In recent years, solar costs have fallen substantially and installed capacity has grown very rapidly.”

Thank you Engadget and Computer World for providing us with this information.

Costa Rica Has Been Fully Powered by Renewable Energy for 75 Days Straight

Costa Rica has achieved a major milestone in clean energy, having the country be fully powered by renewable energy for 75 straight days.

“The year 2015 has been one of electricity totally friendly to the environment for Costa Rica,” the state-owned power supplier Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE) said.

The milestone has been achieved with the help of heavy rainfall at four of its hydroelectric power facilities during the first quarter of 2015. What this means is that no fossil fuel was used during the months of January, February and March so far, having the country being powered by hydro power primarily, in conjunction with a mixture of geothermal, wind, biomass and solar energy.

To be noted is that the country is fairly small, having an area of 51,100 square km and a population of around 4.8 million. Another thing to take into account is that the country focuses more on tourism and agriculture, rather than heavy industry such as mining or manufacturing.

Still, Costa Rica has done an excellent job in developing its electricity sector, having the World Economic Forum ranking it as the second in Latin American countries behind only Uruguay with regards to electricity and telecommunications infrastructure.

Back in mid-2014, the Costa Rica government approved a $958 million geothermal energy project, having the first plants expected to generate about 55 MW and cost approximately $333 million to build, while two other are expected to output 50 MW.

Thank you Science Alert for providing us with this information

World’s Largest Floating Solar Power Plant Coming to Japan

Renewable energy venture Kyocera TCL has announced plans for a floating 13.4 MW solar power plant on the Yamakura Dam reservoir in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. In terms of capacity/output, the solar plant will become the largest of its kind in the world.

The plant will take up an area of 180,0002, with an output of 15,635 MWh/year, or  ¥450 million-worth of electricity per year. Kyocera is also building a number of other solar installations over Nishihira Pond and Higashihira Pond in Kato City, with plans to build another 30 plants between 2015 and 2016.

Japan has invested over $30 billion in solar energy over the last year, and is on course to usurp China as the largest solar installer in the world.

Source: Clean Technica

Blu-ray Technology Improves Solar Panel Efficiency by 20%

Who knew that home release copies of Jackie Chan’s Police Story 3: Super Cop would be used to save the environment? Researchers at Northwestern University, apparently. They discovered the azure nanoscopic pattern on Blu-ray discs can be implemented to improve the efficiency of solar panels.

The team bought up several copies of Police Story 3 (on sale at Best Buy, at the time), pressed plastic stamps out of the data side of the Blu-ray discs. The stamps were used to manufacture solar panels with the exact same pattern as the Blu-ray disc. After comparing numerous different pattern-pressed solar panels over the course of a few months, the researchers concluded that the Blu-ray patterns were the most efficient, by an impressive 20%.

Source: Techspot