Solar power moves into the black

Solar power, the poster child for green energy, has a dark past.

For more than a decade, global solar panel manufacturing has used more electricity than the final products have generated. With most of the shortfall coming from burning fossil fuels, solar power may have added to the very problem it was meant to solve.

That situation now looks set to change. According to Michael Dale and Sally Benson of Stanford University, 2012 likely saw the world’s solar photovoltaic (PV) panels become net electricity generators for the first time (Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, doi.org/k5x).

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News Round-Up: New Moon, Solar Windows and ‘Green’ Algae

Pluto’s fifth moon discovered

PlutoP5

A new moon has been found orbiting Pluto, bringing the number of satellites known around the former planet to five. P5 – the moon’s temporary designation – is between 10 to 25 km across (less than the diameter of London’s North Circular Road), and was discovered by scientists at SETI studying images from the Hubble Space Telescope. The photos show the moon as a speck, even compared to Pluto’s other moons – not surprising, given that Pluto is over 4.5 billion km away. 

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