The Summer of 2030: Please Don’t Be This Hot. Please.

Why is it so hot this summer?

The temperature can’t stop rising every summer!

The highest average temperature ever recorded, 40°C!

Climate change should not just concern heads of states; it concerns every single one of us.

This week in Hangzhou, China and the U.S. have both ratified Paris Climate Agreement ahead of the G20.  In December 2015, 195 countries reached the agreement to put the world on track to limit global warming to well below 2°C by 2030. In other words, 42°C is the temperature threshold that we have pledged to stay away from in the next 15 years. If we continue with the status quo, we are on our way to a 2030 summer with a high of over 43.5°C.   

How did the global temperature get here? A viral GIF from climate scientist Ed Hawkins illustrates the global temperatures from 1850 to 2016 and explains everything.

July is the hottest month of the year. Another NASA illustration  shows exactly how hot this summer has been. Global warming seems to have gone out control, with temperature increasing almost by 2 degrees.  


Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=88607

NASA also says that earth has never concentrated so much CO2 in the past 8000 years! ¨It is a serious matter for the entire global community including the guy on the street,¨ says Hoesung Lee, head of UN´s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

However, if everything were business as usual, what would happen?

According to Mckinsey, annual GHG emissions in China would rise to 22.9 gigatons by 2030, from 6.8 gigatons in 2005. In this scenario, increased oil demand would require imports of about one billion tons a year. Coal demand would more than triple, demanding annual imports of 3.7 billion to 4.2 billion tons. Under that scenario, we would be suffering a 2030 summer with the highest temperature hitting 42°C-43°C!   

How can we reduce carbon emissions and put climate change under control? We believe rooftop solar is one of the most important solutions. This idea also strikes a chord with the leaders of United Arab Emirates (UAE), whose economy large relies on oil export. They announced that, by 2030, all rooftops in Dubai will be covered by solar panels

If China follows suit, how impactful it will be in terms of carbon emission?  

Let´s do the calculations. According to Energy Efficiency Policies on Future Cities in China, by 2030 the total area of building construction will reach 65 billion square meters.

Using Seeder´s solar calculator, we can know that every 1000 square meters of rooftop, when equipped with solar PV, would generate 107350kWh of electricity , and reduce 75 tons of carbon emissions. So if every building is covered with rooftop solar, carbon emissions would be reduced by 4.87 gigatons, more than half of China’s GHG emission levels in 2005.

Of course, this scenario of 100% solar rooftop is hard to achieve in reality. But this calculation proves the true potential of rooftop solar. Seeder’s mission and vision are exactly in this direction. We believe in a sustainable future that is driven by solar, with less extreme climate and more blue skies.


Solar is so popular right now, we’re facing a shortage of panels!

SunTech solar panel maker from china

© SunTech

From glut to shortage for first time since 2006

It’s worth repeating again and again: The price per watt of solar power is going through the floor while worldwide installed capacity is going through the roof (up 53x in the past 9 years!). This is great for the environment, because for each solar panel that goes up, demand for electricity from dirty sources goes down, causing a great virtuous cycle of demand destruction. But there are limits to how fast an industry can grow, and we’re apparently starting to hit those limits, at least temporarily, and production will need to further increase to keep up.

Demand is expected to go up 29% this year, so it’s not surprising that supply has a hard time keeping up. That’s exactly why Elon Musk and SolarCity say that we will need many solar gigafactories.

The last time supply was tight, in 2006, the solar industry installed about 1.5 gigawatts that year. Contrast with today: The industry expects to install as much as 52 gigawatts this year and 61 gigawatts in 2015. That’s about as much as is actually being produced by viable factories.


Renewable Energy Policy Network/Screen capture

Back in 2011, I wrote something called The Solar Industry is Like a Yo-Yo to explain the boom-bust cycle facing solar panel makers:

“For about as long as it has existed, the solar power industry has been going from boom to bust, and vice versa. It is growing fast, and has been for years, but forget about a smooth upward curve: Up close, the trajectory looks like the Alps.”


Renewable Energy Policy Network/Screen capture

Busts might be bad for individual companies, but they aren’t necessarily bad for solar power itself, as we’ve seen in the past few years. A glut of panels meant that prices fell and a lot more solar power was installed than if prices had been high.

Now that demand has grown to match, and maybe now exceed, supply, the opposite will happen. Solar prices will go up, or at least not fall as fast, and more solar panel makers will make money. This will attract competition and new investments in additional capacity until supply once again overtakes demand and prices fall because of the glut…

Wash, rinse, repeat.



Originally published on Bloomberg.

Renewable energy can be beautiful

That’s the hopeful slogan of the Land Art Generator Initiative, or LAGI, which works to bring together the worlds of installation art and renewable energy infrastructure.

The general idea is, if we’re going to harvest renewable energy with machines and structures, they may as well be beautiful machines and structures. LAGI works with artists and municipalities worldwide to create permanent works of art that also distribute clean energy into the local electrical grid.

Drifting Skyscraper Converts Air Pollution Into Green Energy

Since 2010, LAGI has hosted an bi-annual design competition, inviting artists and engineers to submit proposals for a particular city or area. Previous competitions have been held in New York City and the United Arab Emirates.

LAGI held this year’s competition in Copenhagen, Denmark, in partnership with the IT University of Copenhagen and several other local partners. Interdisciplinary teams from around the world submitted ideas for public art installations designed to also provide utility-scale clean energy the the Copenhagen electrical grid.

Among this year’s submissions is the innovative and rather lovely Oscillating Platforms project, pictured above, from artist Felix Cheong. Winners will be announced on October 3, 2014.

Digital ‘Head Dome’ Immerses You In Art

Cheong’s proposal calls for a series of floating platforms anchored in such a way that they harness both wind and tidal power. Submerged columns capture the energy of changing water levels to move pressurized air through turbines, which in turn generate electricity. The platforms’ above-water sails, meanwhile, capture wind power. Even the movement of people walking on the platforms is turned into electrical energy.

Check out the LAGI website for more concepts and images. Or you can track down the bookRegenerative Infrastructures, which details LAGI’s ongoing project — transforming New York City’s Freshkills Park into a radical urban design experiment of installation art and renewable energy. So cool.

via Inhabitat