Posted March 16, 2021 07:25:36A group of US cities are planning to build small, self-sufficient solar farms, solar energy storage systems and other solar-powered energy sources on top of old, deteriorating infrastructure, in a bid to reduce the carbon footprint of urban areas and fight climate change.
The plan by the states of New Jersey, California and Washington, DC, calls for developing a prototype microgrid on the outskirts of the city of Portland, Oregon.
The concept of solar-to-storage (STS) technology would use rooftop solar panels to capture energy from the sun and convert it to electricity.
The prototype solar-power plant would be built in the city’s shadow, allowing the solar energy to be stored and used later, and would be linked to a local grid to distribute power to other nearby cities.
The project will use existing infrastructure, including utility poles and utility wires, but it would be up to the cities to design the microgrid and install it on the properties of residents.
The concept of STS is being developed by the American Sustainable Energy Infrastructure Project (ASHIP), a consortium of US and international universities.
The US government recently awarded a contract worth $3.2 million for the project.
The group said it has received $6 million in grants and $2 million in private donations to date.
The Solar Energy Industries Association, which represents solar companies, says the technology could save the US $5 trillion over the next 20 years.
“These are huge, enormous numbers of dollars that can be spent on clean energy,” said ASEIA CEO Paul Estrada.
“There is nothing else like this out there that can get this right.”
The solar power source has been a big hit in the US, with a recent survey finding that 80% of US residents own some sort of solar power.
The microgrid proposal is just the latest in a series of proposals that the US has been developing for renewable energy, which is projected to grow from $4.7 trillion in 2020 to $18 trillion by 2050.
The Obama administration has said that solar power will create a $3 trillion economic boost by 2020.
But the US is not alone in its efforts.
China, which has the world’s largest solar energy market, has also committed to solar power and is aiming to double its solar energy capacity by 2020 and quadruple its installed solar capacity by 2030.
“We are working to build out the power infrastructure for solar power,” said Scott Haskins, director of the Solar Energy Institute, an advocacy group.
“It’s just one example of what is happening around the world.”
Solar power currently generates less than one-tenth of the electricity used by the country.