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Our green solar service wins gold, NZ govt urged to get tough on climate action

solarcity CEO Andrew Booth, second from left, with the other winners at the Sustainable Electricity Authority of New Zealand 2016 Awards.

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

Our solarZero+ energy service was named the most innovative new initiative at the Sustainable Electricity Association of New Zealand 2016 Awards. solarZero+ combines battery storage and rooftop solar without any equipment costs for the homeowner. This gives Kiwis the ability to make a real difference in the fight against climate change without worrying about return on investment, or ongoing maintenance, says our CEO Andrew Booth. solarZero+ was also a finalist in the innovation category of the 2016 Sustainable Business Network Awards.

Our solar panel supplier JA Solar has once again been ranked in the global top 5 panel manufacturers.

New Zealand electricity consumers could collectively save billions of dollars through the benefits of solar PV and storage – and not just those with solar panels says a new report released by the Sustainable Electricity Association of New Zealand.

India has achieved a major milestone in solar power capacity addition. Cumulative solar capacity, including rooftop and off-grid segments, has crossed 10,000 MW in the country, reports The Hindu.

The Swedish government proposes to effectively abolish a newly introduced tax on solar energy after heavy criticism from environmental experts and the opposition, reports Reuters. Staying in Sweden, the government there has announced a government subsidy that will cover 60% of the cost of installing a residential energy storage system. The credit applies to the battery, wiring, control systems, smart energy hub, and installation work for homes with rooftop solar systems.

Tesla Motors Inc. and SolarCity Corp. shareholders have approved the electric-car maker’s purchase of the solar installer in a deal that’s poised to test Elon Musk’s vision for a viable one-stop shop for clean energy consumers.

As cities look for ways to source renewable energy, cleanly charge electric vehicles and provide fast, ubiquitous communication networks, a New York-based startup has developed the Totem to deliver all three. What's more, it looks pretty good too.

Renewables and fossil fuels

The electric utility industry is currently in the midst of a major paradigm shift that could arguably be classified as one of the most important industry transitions of the 21st century, says Renewable Energy World.

President-elect Donald Trump has confirmed his intentions to cancel the US’s Clean Power Plan, in a video message outlining his plans for when he takes office in January. While Trump hopes to revive the coal industry by slashing CO2-reducing regulations, industry analysts say clean energy has become so cheap it will continue to increase its domination of the energy industry.

NZ scientists have developed a way to extract oil from sawdust to produce liquid fuels. Up to 60 percent of our transportation fuel could be derived from woods if we doubled our current forest stocks, says Dr Paul Bennett from Scion Laboratories.

Researchers at the University of Canada have released a study linking clusters of earthquakes in western Canada to oil and gas fracking operations. The Canadian Government has announced its intention to accelerate investments in clean electricity to speed up the transition from traditional coal power to clean energy by 2030.

More than 40 UK universities have pledged to dump investments in fossil fuels, having accepted the arguments of campaigners that funding these companies is both economically and morally bankrupt.

Climate change

The NZ government has been urged to get tough on climate change in an open letter signed by 50 groups and businesses, including solarcity. The letter calls for the government to set ambitious targets to reduce emissions, create a long-term plan for how to do it, and implement strong policies and empower New Zealanders to make low-carbon choices. The initiative is being led by WWF NZ and you can add your voice here.

195 countries last week issued the Marrakech Action Proclamation reaffirming the Paris Agreement, the urgent imperative for it, and the speed of the energy transition in the real economy.

The Arctic is experiencing extraordinarily hot sea surface and air temperatures, which are stopping ice forming and could lead to record lows of sea ice at the north pole next year, reports the Guardian.

Power prices

Power customers see value in the services being offered by the different retail brands, says the Electricity Retailers Association. It says the Electricity Authority has a narrow view of the potential of the electricity retail market if it looks at electricity as a commodity and focusing just on price.

Electric vehicles

Demand for the fuel rose dramatically in the last 25 years—but forecasts claim that electric vehicles are about to force a worldwide decline, reports MIT Technology Review. Electric car sales could increase to between 10 and 15 percent of the global new car market by 2025, says investment banking house Morgan Stanley. That is three times the rate the investment it has projected in the past.

Mazda is one of the last few major automakers without any serious electric car program. It is betting on its fuel-efficient SkyActiv technology to meet increasingly stricter standards, but the Japanese automaker is apparently now coming to the realization that it will likely not be enough and it will have to turn to electric cars, reports electrek.

Air NZ’s move to transition its existing car fleet to electric vehicles helped it to win top honours at the 2016 NZI Sustainable Business Awards. New Zealanders are now able to order Tesla vehicles directly from the electric car company. California-based Tesla Motors has reiterated its plans to open a store and service centre in Auckland and charging stations "from Auckland to Wellington" next year.

NextEV has unveiled its NIO EP9 electric supercar. It claims it is the world’s fastest electric car and can accelerate from 0-200kph in 7.1 seconds and has a top speed of 313kph.