Australia busts solar myth, Kiwi students join global call for climate action

We're all about saving you energy and have rounded up the latest solar, climate and energy news so you don't have to.

Solar and batteries

The myth that solar power is a luxury for the wealthy while poorer households miss out has been busted once again in Australia, reports Energy Matters.

Solar made up 50% of India's new power capacity in 2018. While there was a decline in large scale solar projects, rooftop installations increased by 66% on the previous year, reports PV Magazine. It also reports that solar output in the US grew 25% last year and met 2.4% of the country's electricity demand.

Global oil companies are plowing billions of dollars per year into solar and into energy storage, as more nations seek to switch their energy sources away from fossil fuels, reports Clean Technica.

Compelo profiles five start-ups developing solar technologies from solar panels that mimic their surroundings to panels that float on water.

Renewables and fossil fuels

Costa Rica has laid out its long-term decarbonisation plans to become one of the world’s first, if not the first, zero-emissions nations, reports Renew Economy.

In 2018, the Netherlands generated 8 percent more electricity from renewable sources than in the previous year. Electricity production from solar power increased in particular, reports Statistics Netherlands.

Climate change

Thousands of New Zealand school students plan to go "on strike" on March 15 to support a worldwide day of action over global warming, reports the NZ Herald.

A major new study shows the amount of methane in the atmosphere has been rising since 2007. The NZ Herald looks into what this means for New Zealand and its methane-heavy greenhouse gas inventory.

A new analysis sheds light on how 18 countries have changed their emission trajectories, reports Stuff. Spoiler alert: NZ is not one of them.

The European Union has pledged a quarter of a $1 trillion budget over the next seven years to address the crisis of a rapidly heating planet, reports EcoWatch.

Australia has experienced its hottest summer on record. Even if global temperatures are contained to the Paris accord limit of a 2C rise above pre-industrial levels, scientists believe the country is facing a dangerous new normal, reports RNZ.

A state-of-the-art supercomputer simulation indicates that a feedback loop between global warming and cloud loss can push Earth’s climate past a disastrous tipping point in as little as a century, reports Quanta.

Power prices

The country's major electricity generators have been cleared of tacit collusion but may yet be subject to investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, reports the NZ Herald.

The Electricity Authority says it found no evidence of anti-competitive behaviour in the market during a period of sustained high prices from late September through November. Bernard Hickey, writing for Newsroom, says this 'nothing to see here' response has further undermined an already endemic lack of trust in the industry by politicians, along with the hundreds of thousands of consumers preparing for another cold winter.

Electric vehicles

Germany’s car industry is to invest nearly 60 billion euros (NZ$100 billion) over the next three years on electric cars and automated driving, reports Reuters.

The VW e-Golf has been named best EV of 2018 by New Zealand Autocar.

And, Volvo has revealed an electric car that it is calling a Tesla Model 3 competitor; the Polestar 2, reports Stuff.

Eleckrek previews the electric cars being unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.