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solarcity wins top industry awards, NZ solar installs on track for record year

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

Our solarZero® energy service won recognition for innovation for the third year in a row and our founder and CEO, Andrew Booth, was named Industry Person of the Year at the annual SEANZ awards. New Zealand is on track for a record number of solar installs this year, says SEANZ. There are now about 16,000 Kiwi homes and business powered by solar - more than 10 times the figure four years ago.

India is accelerating development of renewable energy projects to provide cheap, reliable and clean energy to its 1.3 billion people. Rooftop solar continues to be the fastest growing sub-sector, and needs to grow faster still to reach the ambitious 40GW target, which presents a $23 billion investment opportunity, reports Bloomberg.

The world's largest floating solar project, covering 225 hectares on top of a reservoir, will be built in Indonesia. About 12,000 specially tinted solar panels have been used as fundamental components of a new school in Denmark. A unique project that combines solar energy with keeping crops healthy has proven to be a more efficient use of land in Germany

The Auckland Harbour Bridge will be illuminated by solar powered lighting from the end of January.

Energy storage

Tesla has powered on the the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery storage installation at the Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia.

Renewables and fossil fuels

Anadarko, the Texan oil giant, is poised to leave NZ, dropping its final exploration permit and closing its local operations.

The Iwi Chairs Forum - a national gathering of Māori leaders - has made an historic agreement to oppose all seismic testing and oil exploration in the waters of Aotearoa. Greenpeace has promised mass public resistance if the world’s biggest seismic blasting ship starts exploration for oil and off the Taranaki coast. And Forest & Bird is urging the Schlumberger, working on behalf of Austrian oil giant, OMV, not to go ahead with the project. 

Shell has doubled its spending on clean power and bowed to shareholder pressure by promising to halve the carbon footprint of the energy it sells by 2050, reports the Guardian.

Costa Rica has been powered 100% on electricity from renewable sources for 300 days this year.

Climate change

New Zealand can reach its “modest” Paris Agreement climate target but achieving a goal of being carbon neutral will be harder, says climate scientist Professor Ralph Sims. The election of the sixth Labour-led government heralds a new direction for climate change policy in New Zealand, reports The Conversation. And NZ's Sustainable Business Council says it's time to take the politics out of handling climate change and get broad-based agreement on future action.

A combination of natural disasters and extreme weather events impacting the entire globe is likely to mean 2017 will be the most expensive on record according to 28 insurance industry organisations.

Venezuela is poised to become the first country to lose all of its glaciers to climate change.

Electric vehicles

Almost every sixth car sold in the world will be electric by 2025, according to a UBS global autos survey. Tony Seba, a Stanford economist visiting NZ, predicts petrol cars could disappear as quickly as the horse and carriage. And the head of Toyota NZ says the days of the internal combustion engine are numbered.

Currently 2% of new cars sold in China are EVs. It plans to increase that to 20% in 2025 to possibly 100% in 2030, reports Next Big Future.