Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
More American homes than ever before — nearly 31,000 — had solar panels installed on their roofs in the third quarter of 2013, the Solar Energy Industries Association announced Tuesday. Combined with utility scale projects, the U.S. gained a total of 930 megawatts of photovoltaic solar capacity, a 35 percent gain from the previous year. And we’re set to nearly double that amount.
The increase was lead by large projects, but residential installations, which increased by 49 percent from 2012, showed the most rapid growth. According to SEIA, this was driven by state renewable energy initiatives. And indeed, the top markets were California, Arizona, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Nevada, all of which offer incentives for going solar.
By the end of 2013, SEIA predicts, the total of individual solar projects in the U.S. may reach 400,000, accounting for over 10 gigawatts of power capacity. It’ll mean, among other things, that the U.S. will have surpassed Germany, the current world leader in solar, for the first time in 15 years. As Businessweek points out, this will be accounted for in part by reduced government subsidies in Europe.
“Without a doubt, 2013 will go down as a record-shattering year for the U.S. solar industry,” Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA, said in a statement. “We’ve now joined Germany, China and Japan as worldwide leaders when it comes to the installation of new solar capacity.”
“This is what a renewable energy future looks like,” added the World Wildlife Fund in a statement, “with more and more of our neighbors switching to energy sources that keep our air clean and minimize our impact on climate change.”
Lindsay Abrams is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email email@example.com.More Lindsay Abrams.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.