California law for solar panels on new homes, CO2 emissions hit a new high

Warming oceans melting Antarctic ice shelves could accelerate sea level rise. Photograph: HO/REUTERS

 May 10, 2018

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

California has became the first US state to require solar panels on almost all new homes, sending the clearest signal yet that rooftop power is moving beyond a niche market and becoming the norm, reports Bloomberg. And, Australia has installed more than 100MW of rooftop solar for the seventh consecutive month as households and businesses accelerate their uptake of the technology to stave off the soaring cost of grid electricity, reports Renew Economy.

Emerging technologies like battery storage, solar, electric vehicles and home automation systems have the potential to revolutionise the way New Zealanders live and the types of energy we consume, says the Commerce Commission.

The cost of solar power is decreasing so rapidly, it’s now cheaper than coal, based on a new analysis. This recent change could be a sign that the world is on the verge of an energy revolution, reports Business Insider.

Renewables and fossil fuels

More than 10 million people are working in the renewable energy industry. In 2017 alone, the sector added more than 500,000 jobs globally, reports Forbes.

Engineers say green energy would be boosted if excess electricity from wind and solar farms was used to produce hydrogen for use in heating and other parts of the energy system, reports the Guardian.

Climate change

Carbon dioxide concentrations hit a new high last month pushing the planet further into dangerous territory, reports the Washington Post. And, while clean energy is growing quickly, time is running out to rein in carbon emissions, reports Nature.

Taking action on climate change presents enormous opportunities for NZ to build a thriving green economy and stay ahead of the curve as the world transitions, writes Sir Stephen Tindall in the NZ Herald.

Warming oceans melting Antarctic ice shelves could accelerate sea level rise, reports the Guardian. NZ's glaciers in the Southern Alps have lost 30% of their ice over the past 40 years, says Niwa

Climate change Minister James Shaw says NZ could become global leaders in low emissions agriculture if a solution can be found to reduce biological emissions, reports Stuff. And, NZ's crops could be hit by more - and more serious - disease as climate change brings harsher, longer droughts, reports the NZ Herald.

Power prices

The Electricity Authority says consumers should make sure that any prompt payment discount offered by their retailer is actually a good deal. In some cases, the pricing structure could be described as a later payment penalty for those who miss the due date, rather than any bonus, reports Stuff.

Electric vehicles

The railway union is accusing the government of breaking a pre-election promise to stop the removal of electric trains from the North Island's main trunk line, reports RNZ.

VW has awarded battery-purchasing contracts worth 40 billion euros and plans to sell as many as 3 million all-electric cars per year by 2025, reports Forbes. And Audi plans to sell about 800,000 battery-electric and hybrid powered cars in 2025, reports Reuters.

From July next year, all new electric and hybrid vehicles sold in Europe will have to emit a noise when travelling at low speeds, reports the Guardian.