Morning Brief: Rick Perry bucked Congress’s clean energy mandate


How Rick Perry bucked Congress’s clean energy mandate: As energy secretary, Rick Perry regularly told lawmakers that he favored an all-encompassing energy policy that supported wind and solar as well as fossil fuels. But during his nearly three-year tenure, the Energy Department repeatedly hamstrung bipartisan efforts to boost spending on clean energy technology. The Energy Department under Perry delayed clean energy grants, slow-walked hiring and left staffing levels in the nation’s clean energy programs far below what they were at the end of the Obama administration, according to government records. One program went unfunded for so long that the Government Accountability Office, a watchdog agency, told the department to release the money or risk violating federal law. Source: Houston Chronicle

Scientists at NREL have fabricated a solar cell with an efficiency of nearly 50%: The six-junction solar cell now holds the world record for the highest solar conversion efficiency at 47.1%, which was measured under concentrated illumination. A variation of the same cell also set the efficiency record under one-sun illumination at 39.2%. The paper, “Six-junction III-V solar cells with 47.1% conversion efficiency under 143 suns concentration,” appears in the journal Nature Energy. Further reduction of the series resistance within this structure could realistically enable efficiencies over 50%. Source: Nature Energy

Why 30 million solar rooftops should be In the next relief bill: As the federal government looks to a second (or even third) stimulus bill, Congress should consider a huge opportunity to pay Americans that pays back — solar rooftops. Somewhat more than one in three home or business rooftops in America is suitable for solar: sunny with sufficient space to host a few panels. By investing $450 billion in rooftop solar, the federal government could slash energy bills for Americans, cut air pollution, and create over 3.7 million jobs. The government could also get paid back. Source: ILSR

How a conservative coal county built the biggest community solar energy project in East Kentucky: In Letcher County, Ky., where coal mines once boomed and talk about the “war on coal” is commonplace, environmentalism isn’t particularly popular. But last year, our county’s grassroots groups ( a collective network known as the Letcher County Culture Hub) completed the biggest nonindustrial alternative energy project in the history of the east Kentucky coalfields. After three years of organizing, the network successfully secured an investment of half a million dollars in four solar-powered community buildings. It would have been easy to assume “the community” would oppose the project—except for the fact that the community was the one running it.  Source: Brookings

Powerhome is expanding into Tennessee and within North Carolina, as the company announced the opening of offices in Raleigh and Murfreesboro, 35 miles southeast of Nashville. Tennessee is now Powerhome’s 10th state of operation. The company anticipates that it will hire up to 200 people between the two expansions and any interested readers should follow this link, or send an email to Source: Powerhome

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