Solar Powered States

Solar power is on the rise in America and the International Energy Agency predicts that solar power will make 16% of the world’s electricity by 2050.

That’s quite a lot of energy and it got us thinking, what would it actually take to make 100% of the world’s electricity via solar power? Could America actually power the world with solar panels? And what could each state power if we filled them with solar panels? We crunched the numbers and came up with some interesting results.

solar power by state

No surprises but the largest states of Alaska, Texas, and California can house the most solar panels and also produce the most power with Alaska being able to generate a whopping 1 trillion kilowatts of energy, Texas 450 billion kilowatts, and California 274 billion kilowatts from just 4 hours of sunlight in a day.

solar powering countries

Feeling neighborly? From Argentina to the United Arab Emirates, each individual state can meet a wide range of countries energy needs for an entire year from just four hours of sunlight! Alaska can power Russia for an entire year, Texas could power France, New York Rwanda, and California Saudi Arabia to name but a few.

solar powering the world

When it comes to powering the world, if America was one giant solar panel it would take just 16 hours of sunlight to power the entire world for 1 year. In 1 year it could power 105 years of energy use in the world.

And just for fun, from time travel to powering televisions showing the super bowl, here’s some fun things states can power:

solar power super bowl

solar power new york city

solar power delorean

solar power magic kingdom

solar power tesla

solar power las vegas

solar power iphones

solar power dallas cowboys

So there you have it, America could power the world for a whopping 105 years, Texas can happily watch the Dallas Cowboys till the end of time, and if California can reach 88 mph, they can time travel over 200,000 times all thanks to solar energy.

Greenshine New Energy $1000 College Scholarship

2018 Greenshine New Energy $1000 College Scholarship

Want $1000 for college? Greenshine New Energy can help make that happen

If you are currently enrolled in college (or headed there in 2018!) and want to win a $1000 scholarship to help cover expenses, consider entering the Greenshine New Energy $1000 Scholarship contest.

Greenshine New Energy will award a $1000 scholarship to one highly motivated student who can thoughtfully respond to the prompt below.

How It Works:

Please tell us in 800 words or less how you think green energy technology will change in the next 30 years and what the impact on our lives will be.

Here’s How to Win:

  • Answer the prompt above in 800 words or less.
  • Fill out the form below, including a link to a Google Doc answering the prompt above. Ensure your Google Docs file is saved in the format (yourname)-(dob)-2018 Greenshine New Energy $1000 College Scholarship Submission.
  • We will pick a winner on October 31, 2018 and notify you*
  • A member of the Greenshine New Energy team will  team will email you to confirm your mailing address and send you a check or Visa gift card in the mail for $1000
  • We will announce the winners on the Greenshine New Energy blog.

To Be Eligible:

  • All submissions must be received by midnight on October 28th 2018.
  • You must be a graduating senior in high school or a freshman, sophomore, or junior in college or trade school and at least 16 years of age in the US Territories.
  • We reserve the right to verify the date of your high school graduation and/or college enrollment.
  • Each entrant affirms that they have met all eligibility requirements and releases their entry to be used for any purpose by Greenshine New Energy.
  • Any and all submissions may be used in future Greenshine New Energy marketing.

*Disclaimer: Greenshine New Energy respects your privacy and will not share any personal information without prior approval from you. The selection process is subjective. We will pick our favorite winners based on the submissions we receive by the deadline listed above.

Solar Modules in Winter - Solar Panel Street Lights

Do Solar Panels Work in the Winter?

Unless you are from sunny California or one of its neighboring southern states, you have probably wondered if solar panels work in the winter. Well, good news. Solar panels are powered by light, so they will continue to produce energy if the sun is out even if there 6 inches of snow on the ground.

People who believe that solar panels only work on sunny days are mistaken. Even though they do work better on cloudless days, solar panels are active in most kinds of weather. Since the amount of light available is significantly lower, the amount of electricity produced on cloudy days is reduced as well, usually reaching only about a quarter of the maximum expected amount.

In the conditions of light snow, the effect on the electrical output of the panels should be minimal. Small amounts of snow can slide off fairly easily from their smooth surface. Even if a thin layer of snow sits on the surface, fully covered panels will still produce some electricity since sunlight can still penetrate the panels in a thin layer of snow.  On the other hand, heavy snowfall can have a more detrimental effect on the solar panels and electricity production. Simply put, snow is heavy. If a lot of it falls on a panel, the sheer weight of it can damage the panel and cause malfunctions. On fixtures without frames, snow usually slides off without much problem, so it never accumulates and has little effect on the panel.

Contrary to popular belief, snow actually helps solar panels. Think to your windshield in a snowstorm. Once the snow is removed, your windshield is left squeaky clean because any dirt that was previously on the surface is now wiped clean. The exact same thing happens with solar panels. Once the snow melts or falls off the panel, it leaves it very clean, and cleaner panels absorb more sunlight.

When evaluating your solar needs, the best approach would be to calculate how much sun you can expect over the course of the year, not a gray winter day. Regions which experience harsh winters can have a good amount of sun through the year, which makes them good candidates for solar power.

 

Solar in Europe - Solar Outdoor Lighting

European Solar Projects

The EU has been making great strides towards solar power in the recent years. Recently, EU ambassadors met together to revise the renewable energy directive, setting a goal to reach 32% renewable energy from the EU by 2030.

In fact, the EU bank has invested $11.75 million in solar energy in Zambia, Africa, proving their overall commitment to solar energy. Over the past few years, the EU has become a leader in renewable energy sources, building more wind and solar without any subsidies provided. Yet, they are in a solar race with China who currently holds the top spot for producing the most solar energy in the world. Therefore, Europe has upped the ante. Heavy investments in solar followed by large directives are large strides in the right direction, but more action is needed to follow China’s lead. Still, Europe stands as the prime example to the US and other western nations of the benefits of solar investments.

Different entities in the EU have increased their output of solar production at different rates. Germany is one of the leaders of solar energy. Around 40 percent of the EU’s entire photovoltaic production comes from Germany. In fact, Germany thought that the 32% goal from the renewable energy directive was “unambitious,” raising the bar for the amount of renewable energy harnessed in Europe.

Other countries are impressive in other ways. The next 20% of Europe’s total comes from Italy, who is ranked 5th in the world just behind the US. In 2017, Turkey led Europe in solar capacity growth with a 1.79 GW, accounting for almost a quarter of Europe’s overall growth.  Denmark set a plan to reach 200 MW of photovoltaic capacity by 2020, but almost doubled their goal in the following year. Their ultimate goal is 100% renewable energy use by 2050.

 

Some countries are more successful at this transition into renewable energies than others. There are various factors which determine the status of solar energy in a country, ranging from climate and sun exposure to political will and financial status.

 

Lighting Solutions for Rails with Trails

train - solar trail lightsTrails run along many active rail lines to provide transportation, access to transit, and recreational opportunities for thousands of Americans. There is also a growing number of former rail lines being converted into multi-purpose public paths.

Safety should always be the primary concern when developing a rail-with-trail. Illuminating rails is one of the ways to make the trail safe and more convenient to use at night. Let’s look at each player, the benefits/costs of each, and the overall quality of each type of lighting solution.

Continue reading “Lighting Solutions for Rails with Trails”