What were you doing when you were 18? Take a second and think about it. You were probably hanging out at the mall, at the skate park, or maybe if you were a hard-worker you had a part-time job at the local take-out spot.
Whatever you were doing, I can almost guarantee that you didn’t invent a solar panel that could possibly solve your entire country’s energy needs. That’s right, an 18-year old from a rural village in Nepal believes he has found the solution to the developing world’s energy needs.
Even crazier, the young inventor, named Milan Karki, says hair is to the key to using solar panels and revolutionizing renewable energy.
“First I wanted to provide electricity for my home, then my village. Now I am thinking for the whole world,” said Milan, who attends school in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.
The teenager already has plans to commercially produce his invention. The panel, which produces 18 Watts of energy, could be sold for about 12 EUR if were to be mass produced, about one quarter the price of the silicon model already on the market.
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What could the United States do with an extra $465 billion? Free healthcare? Free college tuition? Tax cuts? Heck, they could even buy the Yankees. And the best part, not only would the U.S. be saving all that money, they would radically cut CO2 emissions by 80% over the next 40 years, according to a study released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
“We have a historic opportunity to reinvent our economy, tackle global warming, and cut energy costs. Setting a limit on heat-trapping emissions would ensure that we make the necessary carbon emission reductions to help avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Combining a carbon cap with strong efficiency, renewable electricity, and transportation standards can deliver those emission cuts and save Americans a substantial amount of money,” says UCS president Kevin Knobloch.
Most of the savings would be on energy bills due to better efficiencies in building and industrial processes, a more efficient transportation system, and cleaner cars. Although a more efficient transportations system and cars would likely cost about $35 billion, drivers would potentially save over $120 billion in fuel costs per year.
“Efficiency and renewable energy technologies are ready today to power our economy with carbon-free electricity. Our blueprint shows that these clean energy sources can lead the way in cutting U.S. emissions, while lowering electricity bills and curbing our addiction to dirty, high-carbon coal power,” says Steve Clemmer, research director of UCS’s Clean Energy Program.
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The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Energy on Thursday announced that an estimated US $3 billion will be made available for the development of renewable energy projects around the country and made issued the guidance businesses will need to submit a successful application.
Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), the program will provide direct payments in lieu of tax credits in support of an estimated 5,000 bio-mass, solar, wind, and other types of renewable energy production facilities.
The United States Interior Department has found a use for 670,000 acres of previously considered worthless sunny deserts and wind-swept plains: solar energy production.
As part of President Obama’s pledge to move away from reliance on fossil fuels and to double renewable energy in three years, the plan has identified 24 solar energy zones spanning six states that could generate nearly 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity.
At the same time, it has become a controversy as environmentalists and politicians, including U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, have decried federal plans to open ecologically sensitive land to development.
“This environmentally sensitive plan will identify appropriate Interior-managed lands that have excellent solar energy potential and limited conflicts with wildlife, other natural resources or land users,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, hoping to appease doubts about the plan.
The department says the objective is to provide landscape-style planning and zoning for solar projects on Bureau of Land Management lands in the West, allowing a more efficient process for permitting and sitting responsible solar development .
Read more on Reuters.