News / Economy

    Solar Power Makes Gains in US

    Solar Power Makes Gains in USi
    X
    Jim Randle
    July 02, 2014 10:23 PM
    Two universities in Washington, D.C., plan to soon start buying half of their electricity from solar-power farms 400 kilometers away. The schools expect the project will save millions of dollars during the next couple of decades and make the universities more attractive to environmentally-conscious students. Experts told VOA’s Jim Randle the project shows how this once-exotic power source is becoming a routine part of business.
    Jim Randle

    Two universities in Washington, D.C., soon plan to start buying half of their electricity from solar-power farms 400 kilometers away. The schools expect the project will save millions of dollars during the next couple of decades and make the universities more attractive to environmentally-conscious students.

    Experts say the project shows how this once-exotic power source is becoming a routine part of business.

    Solar panels cover the roof of this and other buildings at American University, creating electricity that is a fraction of the power needed by the campus.

    Solar power farms

    AU, George Washington University, and George Washington University Hospital are going a big step further in a deal with Duke Energy Renewables, a division of a large power company.

    Duke will build three new solar power farms, similar to these facilities, in distant North Carolina and put the power into the electric grid.

    The schools in Washington will draw electricity from the grid and pay Duke for the power at a fixed rate for the next 20 years.

    Chief Financial Officer of American University Doug Kudravetz said the green solar power deal will look better and better over time.

    "Over the next 20 years, we are confident that [the price of] brown power can only go in one direction [higher cost], saving quite a bit of money over that period of time," said Kudravetz.

    American University’s director of sustainability, Chris O’Brien, said using renewable energy instead of “brown power,” traditional oil, coal, or gas-fueled electricity, will reduce the environmental impact of campus activities.

    “It is the right thing for social equity because some of the worst impacts of climate change are borne by the poor. So to the degree we can convert to renewable reduces the impact on people who live in poverty," said O'Brien.

    Growing power source

    There are a growing number of solar facilities around the world. Duke Energy Renewables' new units will have nearly a quarter of a million solar panels, and it will generate 123 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The switch away from fossil fuel will have the same environmental benefit as getting 12,500 cars off the road.

    Rhone Resch, the head of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said, “This is an innovative, new type of business model for solar. It shows that you can go solar, no matter if you have roof space, or if you are entering into a contract with a developer. I think this is the future of solar energy, and we are seeing it today.”

    Resch said solar is growing fast, but he admitted that it provides just a small fraction of the electricity needed to run the world’s biggest economy. He said falling prices for equipment and innovations in financing now are doing as much as technical developments to spread solar energy.

    In the meantime, students at American University take advantage of a solar water heater on the roof of a campus building that pre-heats water for coffee and saves energy in a shop several floors below.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8769
    JPY
    USD
    107.28
    GBP
    USD
    0.6842
    CAD
    USD
    1.2528
    INR
    USD
    66.384

    Rates may not be current.