10 Cool Solar Power Stories You May Have Missed
Too much cleantech news is a good thing, but it sometimes means I need to stuff a bunch of big stories into one article. Following some roundups of autonomous driving news and battery & EV charging news, here’s one more roundup of some cool cleantech stories no one wanted to take and write full pieces about. This one is 100% focused on solar power.

Written by
Zachary Shahan

Est. reading time
6 minutes
Jan 4th, 2020

Solar Energy: An American Success Story | SEIA
In China, 2013 is the year of the snake. But here in the United States, this may well go down as the year of the sun. A recent market analysis by GTM Research shows the U.S. market installed 832 megawatts (MW) of new photovoltaic (PV) installations in the second quarter of this year – a whopping 15 percent increase over the first three months of 2013.

Philadelphia Energy Authority

Philadelphia City Council Celebrates the Expansion of Solarize Philly

As of 2021, over 750 households from across the City have already gone solar through Solarize Philly, making it the largest Solarize program in the nation. For every 100 installs, the program creates 15 jobs. 

The Washington Post

Superstores can meet half their electricity needs with rooftop solar, says a new report

From Walmart to Ikea, a report finds that the rooftops of big-box stores offer enough solar potential to power the equivalent of 8 million American homes


China Installed Record Amount of Rooftop Solar in 2021

China put a record number of solar panels on rooftops last year as growth in residential areas outpaced installations on solar farms.

The New York Times

In Martin County, Ky, where coal production has flatlined, entrepreneurs are promising that a new solar farm atop a shuttered mine will bring green energy jobs.

Star Tribune

Metro Transit testing solar powered bus information signs

Metro Transit is turning to solar energy to power real-time information signs as part of a test to see how screens resembling iPads or e-readers perform in Minnesota’s punishing weather conditions.

Tasting Table

Here’s Why Your Kitchen Glasses Are So Cloudy

Whether you’re serving iced tea, white wine, or just water, crystal clear glasses make for the best and most appealing presentation. So if you reach into your dishwasher or open your cabinets only to pull out glasses so cloudy that you can hardly see into them while they are empty, you might be pretty frustrated.

Reality Biz News

Water Softeners – The Be All End All Of Hard Water Treatment

Hard water contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium. Hard water is generally problematic: It leaves deposits in pipes that clog them, reducing their efficiency. It interferes with soap lathering, meaning you’ll have to use a lot more soap for your laundry. Hard water is also infamous for leaving a buildup of crusty scales on places like faucets or shower-heads.


4 Reasons Why You Should Pay Attention to the Quality of Water You Drink

 Nonetheless, the fact that billions of people throughout the world lack access to safe drinking water is a horrifying reality. Although all water contains minerals and contaminants, it is only safe to drink within certain parameters. Here are some of the reasons why you should make sure the water you drink is safe to consume.

The US Sun

You’re cleaning your taps all wrong – and it’s making your skin AND your hair look bad

A beauty lover has reminded of the importance to look after your taps properly – as this, according to her, is responsible for clear skin and healthy hair.

Smelly washing machine? The two steps to properly clean your machine

 WASHING MACHINES should be deep cleaned every single month, but a fifth of Brits say they never clean their washing machines at all. Is your machine starting to smell? Here are the two steps to properly clean your washing machine.

Southern Living

This One Landscaping Mistake Can Decrease Your Home Value by 20%

Whether doing a drive-by or scrolling through Zillow listings, the first thing any potential buyer will notice about your home is the curb appeal. It sets the standard for what they can expect from the rest of the property and might be the only chance you have to catch their attention. Good landscaping can actually increase your home’s value by up to 20%.

Total Landscape Care

Selling landscaping as a crime deterrent

If you are working with commercial properties or HOAs, then you might know one of their biggest worries is crime. Vandalism, destruction of property, or even theft are real concerns that might keep property managers or HOA board directors up at night. But as a landscape contractor, the work you do can play a potential role in reducing crime.


Why doesn’t every big box store have rooftop solar?

Superstore roofs span billions of square feet. Covering them in solar panels could power nearly 8 million homes.

At the very least, why doesn’t every big box store have rooftop solar?

News 12

Thousands of NJ residents receive notices about drinking water contamination

Hundreds of thousands of New Jersey water customers are finding out that their water could be contaminated. The contaminant, PFAS, is a chemical used in nonstick cookware and firefighting foam. The state raised the standards for PFAS in 2020.

PV Magazine USA

Big box retailers could be 50% solar powered

An analysis by Environment America has found that the 100,000 big box stores in the United States could generate 84 TWh of electricity from solar power on their rooftops. Environment America has released an analysis which shows that big box retailers in the United States could host 84TWh worth of solar capacity.

North Jersey Media Group

High levels of PFAS chemicals found in 34 NJ drinking water systems affecting 500K+ people

Dozens of New Jersey water systems that serve a combined 500,000 residents exceeded new stringent standards last year for PFAS, a family of chemicals that have been linked to cancer and other ailments, environmental officials said Tuesday.

How edible landscaping benefits both you and the environment

Vibrant flowers nestled among fresh herbs and crisp lettuce leaves all beautifully arranged before making their way from the garden to plate – this is the concept of edible landscaping, a method of gardening that is as much about aesthetics as it is is about functionality and sustainability.

Yahoo! Life

How to pour the perfect cup of tea

 How does one brew the perfect cup of tea? Of course, there are enormous cultural and ceremonial differences in tea-pouring depending on your region of the world. But if you’re a relative beginner like me, these tips will get you a lot closer to the perfect cup.

Bob Vila

45 Backyard Landscaping Ideas for Creating the Ultimate Outdoor Living Space

Spruce up your outdoor space with one or more of these landscaping ideas, and transform your backyard into your new favorite place. From small DIY landscaping projects to professional overhauls, we’ve got all the inspiration you need to create a backyard oasis.


How a toxic chemical ended up in the drinking water supply for 13 million people

New Jersey’s largest drinking water supplier discovered a toxic chemical in the river where it gets water for hundreds of thousands of customers, setting off a major search for polluters that led back to a Pennsylvania wastewater treatment plant and a South Jersey company.


McDavid Solar Energy Site Now Producing Enough Power For 15,000 Homes

The 300,000 solar panels at the Cotton Creek Solar Energy Center in McDavid are now producing enough electricity to power up to 15,000 homes.


Bills encouraging Utahns to ditch turf for water-wise landscaping move forward

A House committee voted unanimously to advance a bill in the Utah State Legislature that offers incentives for people to ditch non-functional turf in favor of water-wise landscaping.

Bloomberg Law

Drought Exposes ‘Canary in This Coal Mine’ of PFAS in Well Water

Drought is exposing new layers of risk posed by PFAS contamination in drinking water nationwide, a public health hazard expected to cost billions of dollars and take years to solve, state and federal officials say.

Innovation Origins

A sustainable city with a solar footpath and energy-positive buildings

When it comes to making cities more sustainable, the term ‘energy neutrality’ is often mentioned. This is usually the starting point. But what if homes, office buildings and public spaces produce a surplus in the future, and offset the loss of energy from old buildings that way?

Yahoo! Finance

New Study from StrategyR Highlights a $63.7 Billion Global Market for Water Purifiers by 2026

A new market study published by Global Industry Analysts Inc., (GIA) the premier market research company, today released its report titled “Water Purifiers – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics”. The report presents fresh perspectives on opportunities and challenges in a significantly transformed post COVID-19 marketplace.

Columbus Monthly

Thinking Green: Landscape Enhancements Boost Mental Health and Wellness at Friendship Village

Andy Howland and his landscape team at Friendship Village of Dublin planted 10,000 annuals in May 2020 when COVID-19 kept residents isolated. As director of enhancements and landscape, Howland knew the plants would boost mental health, quicken patient recovery and enhance their social connections.


Georgia Power plans to eliminate coal and double solar by 2035

Georgia Power plans to close all of its remaining coal-fired power plants by 2035 and add more solar power. The plan, from the state’s largest utility, has a bearing on how Georgia — which does not mandate renewable energy use — responds to climate change.


Study: many Californians rely on contaminated drinking water

An estimated 370,000 Calif. citizens rely on drinking water with high levels of arsenic, nitrate, or hexavalent chromium. Many of those exposed belong to communities of color or use domestic wells.


This new trend for hard landscaping is adding a gentle softness to garden design

There’s a new hard landscaping trend looking set to dominate garden design in 2022, and it’s putting a softness into spaces while using a hard material.

Euro Weekly News Spain

The best ways to repair hair damage from hard water and restore hair

Hard water can wreak havoc on your hair. It makes it difficult to properly rinse hair, causing product buildup. Buildup leaves your hair feeling like it’s coated in a greasy film, no matter how often you wash it, leading to overwashing and further damage. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to repair hair damage from hard water and restore hair.

Bob Vila

Drought-Tolerant Landscaping: Top Tips for a Hardy, Low-Maintenance Yard

Use these tips and ideas as you confront regional challenges and your property’s topography to achieve a landscape with low-water needs and next to no maintenance requirements.

Solar spring is here, and that means we are gaining more daylight in an increasingly big way

Welcome to solar spring! You may not have heard of this happy astronomical marker but Saturday marks the end of the darkest quarter of the year and the beginning of the greatest three months of light gain we experience all year.


The Landscaping Industry: How Far It’s Come And Where It’s Headed

Most people don’t spend much time thinking about landscaping — and from a particular perspective, that’s part of the point. You spend time outdoors enjoying the lush greenery and other elements of nature. You don’t necessarily devote time to wondering where those elements came from. 


13 Best Shampoos for Hard Water to Remove Hair Buildup

Usually, you can tell if you’re dealing with hard water if you tend to get white buildup around your faucets or shower heads, but if you’re unsure, try testing yours.


Sunflower Electric plans large solar project in Russell County

Sunflower Electric Power Corporation filed an application for a solar project in Russell County. The Sunflower Electric Solar @ Russell project would be a 20-megawatt solar farm located on 240 acres three miles east of Russell in north-central Kansas.

Real Homes

11 small front yard landscaping ideas that are low maintenance

These small front yard landscaping ideas are low-maintenance but will still deliver gorgeous curb appeal. Explore ideas for all home styles and climates.


GAF roofing Co. donates money and supplies to Stillman College to renovate building

Winsborough Hall was once Stillman College’s dorm for female students but has sat vacant since the late 2000′s. The building fell into disrepair over the years but workers at a local roofing company who passed by everyday noticed and wanted to help.

Digital Journal

Water Softeners Market Future Opportunity Assessment and Upcoming Trend By 2025

The global water softeners market garnered $2.05 billion in 2017, and is estimated to reach $3.57 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 7.1% from 2018 to 2025.

Sunset Magazine

Boulders can lend gravitas to any garden, but before you head to the stone yard, you may want to read up on some important tips.

PV Magazine

Solar-powered camper from Airstream is a two-wheeled electric car

The camper can be driven and parked without the use of a car, is integrated with solar, and optimized for the electric vehicle revolution.

Rochester Post Bulletin

Rochester Area Builder Home Show ‘Bigger, Better’ Says Attendee

At the 43rd annual Rochester Area Builder Home Show, visitors had a chance to get home improvement ideas while businesses met with potential clients.

Water Quality Products

What Is Hard Water?

What is Hard Water? Water hardness is a measure of how many “hard” calcium and magnesium minerals are present.



Eurasia Review

How can we reduce the carbon footprint of electricity consumption in Switzerland? The country relies on electricity imports from fossil fuel power plants, which are major emitters of greenhouse gases . 

New Atlas

Soft plastic bottles leach hundreds of chemicals into drinking water

Recent research has raised the alarm over the potential health impacts of consuming water from plastic bottles, with scientists concerned over the chemicals that can leach into the liquid with unknown impacts on human health.

San Mateo Daily Journal

Firewise landscaping: Make your home safte now

The bad news: “Fire Season” is now year round in California. More bad news: wildfires are no longer confined to areas with overgrown forests: homes in suburbia are increasingly vulnerable to devastation. The good news: there are things you can do to improve the odds of your home surviving a wildfire. 

The New York Times

How to Clean a Showerhead

Does your showerhead, which once held such force, suddenly feel more like a half-hearted spritz? Does its surface look like a salt-covered car in the middle of winter? 



pv magazine International

French President Emmanuel Macron announced a vast nuclear recovery plan, with the construction of six new EPR2 type reactors in France. He also promised an acceleration in the development of renewable energy, with new targets for photovoltaics and wind power by 2050.

Santa Cruz Sentinel

Modern landscape ideas for 2022

Similar to interior design, vehicle and fashion trends, landscaping styles adapt and revamp throughout the years. Surged by the pandemic, outdoor improvements are at an all-time high and 2022 is full of creative and fresh landscaping ideas. Gander through these modern concepts to get inspiration for your next outside project.


The Difference Between Hard Water and Soft Water

When everything is working the way it’s supposed to, you might assume that tap water is pretty consistent across the board in terms of what’s in it, and how it can affect your home and your body. But in reality, that’s not the case. There are multiple ways tap water can differ depending on the community, but today we’re going to focus on one in particular: Hard water versus soft water.

The Washington Post

Hard water isn’t a danger to your health, but it can be a nuisance for your home 

Hard, white deposits hanging from faucets. Cloudy dishware. Not being able to work soap into a lather. All of these are classic signs that you have hard water.

How to Combine Paving with Sustainable Landscaping for an Eco-Friendly Garden

Around Australia and the rest of the world, there has been a rapidly increasing consumer interest in sustainability over the past few years. This interest has seeped into almost every aspect of a consumer’s life: the way they shop, dress, dispose of their waste, travel and more. Now, there is a rising trend in sustainable landscaping. 

Bay to Bay News

Ideas are ready to bloom at Home & Garden Expo

Rosebushes and windowpanes are just the start of big things at the upcoming Home & Garden Expo, hosted by the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce. Guests can consult with some 40 exhibitors, discussing a variety of goods and demos to help refresh the home.

Union Leader

Shining bright: A new solar array in Manchester

The Manchester Landfill located at 500 Dunbarton Road had been capped in 1999 and lay dormant for major development for more than 20 years. While the solid waste drop-off facility has continued to operate as normal, the capped landfill, across I-93 from Manchester Community College, was a resource that had been evaluated for years without ever being fully utilized for further development.

For Construction Pros

Lawn, Landscaping Industry Outlook Positive for 2022

Despite issues, the landscape industry is ‘open for business’ as many homeowners rethink and prioritize their outdoor space.

Mind Body Green

Do You Have Hard Water? Here’s How To Tell & Adjust Your Routine 

Most of the shower-time conversation tends to focus on length (are you staying in until your fingertips are pruned?) and water temperature (are you stepping under a scalding spray?). But let’s take a deeper dive into the droplets themselves: Are you showering in hard or soft water?

Medical Centers Nova

Top 4 Reasons to Drink Alkaline Water

We can all agree that water is an essential need for body health, but not all water is the same. Researchers show that alkaline water provides other extra great benefits that regular tap or bottled water lack.


Solar panels built from waste crops can make energy without direct light

Solar panels that don’t require direct sunlight have been invented in another leap forwards for clean energy.

Osceola News

Landscaping with fire in mind

Fires are a vital part of considerations in landscaping, as they help maintain a healthy natural ecosystem. Fire control agencies have significantly played a part in fire prevention and the protection of homes, but there are actions which an individual homeowner can initiate to reduce the vulnerability of their lawns to fire.

Everyday Health

What Is Alkaline Water and Does It Offer More Benefits Than Plain H2O?

Discover the potential perks of this less-acidic H2O, and whether the hype is really all it’s cracked up to be.

News Medical

Health Benefits of Alkaline Water

Alkaline water, also known as alkaline ionized water, is referred to as commercially available water with high pH value. The pH is a measure of the acid-base balance of water. Typically, the pH of natural water ranges between 6.5 and 8.5, and it is controlled by the carbon dioxide-bicarbonate-carbonate equilibrium system.


MIT invents $4 solar desalination device

Researchers from MIT and China have developed a solar desalination device that could provide a family of four with all the drinking water it needs — and it can be made from just $4 worth of materials.

Fox 5 San Diego

How to make your yard or garden more water efficient during a drought

Across the Golden State, residents are trying to get more water wise. People with large grass yards (and even larger water bills) may be considering alternative groundcovers or even artificial turf for the first time. Gardeners who find their beloved greenery struggling through the summer might be looking for something more hearty.

Pilot Online

Learn about roofing options now to avoid hitting the roof later

Designing a roof is like most everything else in life: There are pros and cons to virtually every decision. While most homeowners are not apt to change the design of their roof unless they are adding a second floor, converting an attic, raising their ceilings or adding a covered porch, replacing a roof is a necessity of home maintenance.

Mayo Clinic

Is alkaline water better for you than plain water?

Bottled water sold as alkaline water is subject to regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Alkaline water sometimes has nutrients added to it to achieve an alkaline pH.

The Mint Hill Times

Landscaping Tips For Man’s Best Friend

Of course, we love dogs! But landscaping with pet dogs in mind can be challenging. It’s a balancing act between what designs you want and what owning a dog requires. If you fail to make accommodations, the dogs may make a mess.

Solar Magazine

Ecoppia will provide robotic cleaning solutions on a 400MW hybrid solar site

This large-scale project, consisting of two types of installations—fixed tilt and Single Axis Trackers (SAT), along with challenging terrains and varied structures, is another exemplification of Ecoppia’s comprehensive capabilities to tailor a long-term and cost-effective solution for leading solar energy players.

River Journal

Best Roofing for Extreme Weather

It’s important to select the best roofing for your home if you live in an area that experiences extreme weather conditions. However, not all roofs are created equal, and if you choose the wrong type, you could find yourself dealing with water damage and repair bills.


Major Hotel Chain Rolls Out EV Charging Stations

Hotel operators are finding that installing destination chargers is a good way to attract travelers. Charging station manufacturer EOS Linx has made a deal with Choice Hotels International, a lodging franchisor with a portfolio of over 7,100 hotels in 40 countries, to install EOS Charge Stations at selected properties.

Road and Track

Why You Need Home Charging to Make an EV Work

The dream of an electric vehicle is compelling. Forget the questions about where the chargers are. The real story is that you set off every day with a full tank, with a few hundred miles in reserve for the day’s errands. The weekly fill-up falls away, with range not factoring into the day-to-day. Sure, you need to plan road trips, but the rest falls into place. Assuming, of course, you have access to private charging.


How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car?

Nailing down precisely how long it takes to charge an electric car is a difficult task. It’s not a question that has one simple answer. There are many variables involved, such as which electric vehicle (EV) you own, the size of its battery, the charging rate of its onboard charger and the power source you’re using for charging.


Owning A Level 2 Charger At Home Makes Owners Much Happier With Their EVs

The owners of electric vehicles who are the most satisfied with the experience are those invested in an at-home Level 2 charger, a J.D. Power study found. Whether the charger is permanently installed or portable doesn’t matter, as long as it allows Level 2 charging speeds.

The State News

The hard truth about East Lansing’s harsh, drying water

Hard water may not be a term many are familiar with, but it’s something most MSU students have certainly experienced. The water, which is high in mineral content, can cause dry skin and weaken water pressure.

One Green Planet

The Pros and Cons of Filtered Water

Everyone deserves to have clean water but sometimes the water we think is clean actually isn’t. The good news is you can buy water filters at almost any grocery store nowadays and if you’re really committed to drinking clean water, you can even install a filtration system in your house. 

The Daily Yonder

45 Degrees North: Hard Truths About Hard Water

On a recent episode of Jeopardy!, the correct response to one clue was “What is hard water?” That would have been a gimmee to many of us from rural areas. But apparently, that day’s contestants had never opened a tap that wasn’t connected to a municipal water supply. Nobody even buzzed in. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Hair blues

Green is a great color for money.

Less so for hair.

Ask me, I know.

Because these days, my hair is green.

Elite Daily

The 5 Best Coffee Makers For Hard Water

Due to high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium, hard water can be especially damaging to your stuff. No coffee maker is immune to the effects of hard water, which is why brands often recommend that you use filtered water instead


Best humidifier for hard water

Hard water is called “hard” because of the abundance of minerals that it contains. Due to the processes that humidifiers use to vaporize water, all of those minerals can potentially wind up in the form of mineral dust, which quickly gathers on the surfaces of your room, or worse, it can be inhaled…


The One Thing in the Bathroom Everyone Forgets to Clean

Ah, the humble shower curtain liner: It’s the thing you don’t give much thought to—until it’s visibly dingy, with hard water and soap scum stains, or worse, that “pink slime” (a strain of mostly harmless yet gross-looking bacteria) streaking it. 

The Mint Hill Times

Keep Your Outdoor Spaces Healthy, Safe, and Beautiful with Spring Landscaping Tips

Spring is coming soon, and the changing seasons mean a change in your home and garden landscaping routines. Warmer weather brings on increased insect activity, reveals any damage that may have come from winter freezes, and requires much more dedication to landscape maintenance.

What is IPM and how does it work in a river-friendly garden, farm or landscape?

It’s a growing time in California these days, for plants and animals alike. Being a “river-friendly” garden, farm or landscape, means you start with IPM strategies when you notice pest problems. But, what does “IPM” mean, and how does this strategy work? 

The New York Times

Yes, they may require 80 percent less work. But their beauty alone is reason enough to rethink the way you’re gardening now.

News Channel 8

Best home humidifier

Home humidifiers are used to address a variety of needs. They can help soothe illnesses and allergies, alleviate the effects of a dry environment and can even help regulate temperature. Choosing the right humidifier for your needs can be complex, as any given model may not have the features you need.

News 18

Tips To Get Rid Of Water Stains From Bathroom Taps And Faucets

The sight of hard water stains splashed all over your faucets might be unappealing. It may also give you the idea that your hands will not be as clean as you would like them to be when you are done washing them.

Homes And Gardens

How to clean a showerhead – and maximize the power of the shower

Knowing how to clean a showerhead will put an end to spray that goes every which way. Here’s how.