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.

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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9103
JPY
USD
119.37
GBP
USD
0.6704
CAD
USD
1.2481
INR
USD
62.371

Rates may not be current.