High-quality mono-silicon crystal grown at low cost for solar cells

A joint research team in Japan has developed a “single-seed cast method,” a new casting method making it possible to grow high-quality mono silicon at low cost. New casting method may facilitate the return of a market-competitive solar cell industry.

New York signs off on $5bn Clean Energy Fund

New York signed off on a $5bn Clean Energy Fund to be deployed over the coming decade, as the state looks to become a global hub for renewable energy innovation and deployment.

Happy birthday, Roe v. Wade! You’re in good company

Happy Roe v. Wade Day, everyone! Forty-three years ago today, the Supreme Court decided that a woman’s right to choose is protected under the Constitution. That’s not, for the record, because the U.S. Constitution makes any mention of reproductive rights, or uteri, or, for that matter, women at all — the right to choose falls under our constitutional “right to privacy.” (For a wonderful explanation of this, please read Jill Lepore’s New Yorker piece from last spring.) My generation has only known a post-Roe v. Wade America, and many (hi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz) claim that makes us “complacent” as our reproductive rights are trampled by overzealous state governments. To which I would respond: Well, we may spend literal days watching Scandal, but…

Exceptionally strong and lightweight new metal

A team led by researchers has created a super-strong yet light structural metal with extremely high specific strength and modulus, or stiffness-to-weight ratio. To create the super-strong but lightweight metal, the team found a new way to disperse and stabilize nanoparticles in molten metals.

Map shows how Michigan’s lead problem extends far beyond the Flint water crisis

Flint is Michigan’s poster child for environmental disaster — a crisis that could have been avoided. As my colleague Raven Rakia has pointed out, lead exposure, which causes an array of health problems and is especially bad for children, is completely preventable. But that doesn’t mean that those responsible for public health do their jobs. In Flint, a city that’s nearly 60 percent black and where more than 42 percent of residents live below the poverty line, officials switched to a cheaper water source. That source was cheaper for a reason: The water was polluted and corrosive. So it leached lead from the old pipes when they piped it in. That burdened local residents with water that’s been making them sick for more than a year. But high levels…

Matched ‘hybrid’ systems may hold key to wider use of renewable energy

The use of renewable energy in the United States could take a significant leap forward with improved storage technologies or more efforts to ‘match’ different forms of alternative energy systems that provide an overall more steady flow of electricity, researchers say in a new report.

Team of appraisers across six states find home buyers will pay premium for solar homes

Photovoltaics added value to homes in six markets, according to a new report. They engaged a team of seven appraisers from across the six states to determine the value that solar photovoltaic systems added to single-family homes using the industry-standard paired-sales valuation technique, which compares recent sales of comparable homes to estimate the premium buyers would pay for PV.