As the days begin to lengthen in the south and shorten in the north, give a thought to the sun which daily brings us energy we can't destroy or deplete. Aside from its indisputable power, solar power, it may be the one resource that could take humankind beyond the foreseeable future which presently does not look good. So, here's a little energy lift, courtesy of Post Carbon Cities:
Promoting solar with policies and projects
Sure, it helps to be in a sunny climate like Cloncurry, Australia, which aims to go 100% sun-powered in two years. But today's solar technology can capture a lot of energy even in relatively cloudy climates. Just look at cities like Freiburg and Ulm in famously gloomy Germany, which has long been a global leader in solar energy. Here are some other cities - sunny and otherwise - that are paving the way for solar:
- This September, Berkeley, California will be rolling out a small pilot of a program in which they will finance residential solar panels, allowing the owners to repay the cost of the course of 20 years.
- Portland, Oregon is adjusting its building codes to streamline and simplify the permitting processes for solar installations.
- Kyoto, Japan has started a green power certification system to promote "local production for local consumption" of solar-produced electricity. The certificates help fund new photovoltaic power plants.
- Barcelona, Spain has a policy requiring new and refurbished buildings to save energy by using solar thermal hot water. Solar hot water heaters are also being promoted by cities in India.
- Australia's $75 million AUD ($67 million USD) Solar Cities program shows what just a little national-level effort can do. It's helping 13 Central Victoria towns establish two solar parks and install over 300 photovoltaic systems and 700 solar hot water systems on residences.