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June 28 News: Could Los Angeles Rooftops Be Covered In Solar Panels Soon?

This week, Los Angeles started the biggest urban rooftop solar program in the country, with the goal of powering 30,000 homes. [LA Times]

Called Clean L.A. Solar, the program allows the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to pay customers to generate solar power across the city’s vast expanse of flat roof space.

The goal of the effort, the brainchild of the Los Angeles Business Council, is to generate 150 megawatts of solar electricity, or enough to power about 30,000 homes. The council hopes to attract investments totaling $500 million from a growing list of companies that want to invest in L.A.’s push to go green by setting up large clusters of rooftop solar panels.

While this program is beginning, another rooftop solar provider is looking at a way to allow customers to be independent from utilities by generating their own power. [LA Times]

Lyndon Rive, chief executive of San Mateo, Calif.-based SolarCity Corp., said in an interview this week that his rooftop solar company plans to roll out a system that would allow customers to generate power by panels during daylight hours and store the energy in battery packs at night.

This would let customers sidestep a net metering arrangement that most of the state’s utilities have in place. Under such an arrangement, the “meter” tracks how much energy a customer consumes and how much excess energy is sent back into the power grid. Customers then pay the utility for the electricity they use over a 12-month period beyond the amount their solar systems generated. They can also get credits for any energy they don’t use, which in California roll over month to month for up to a year.

Because the State Department’s report about Keystone is shortsighted on the project’s environmental impact, six advocacy groups have asked for a new review of the project to more accurately examine if it “significantly exacerbates the climate problem.” [Washington Post]

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To economists, addressing climate change is simple: tax fossil fuels in proportion to the amount of carbon they release. [NPR]

If there really is a so-called “War on Coal,” then coal exports — which have doubled in the last 4 years — are certainly not losing many battles. [New York Times]

Headline of the week: “Brain-eating amoebas thrive in US lakes as global warming heats waterways.” [The Verge]

Paul Krugman’s column today makes the case: “We really can invest in new energy sources, divest from old sources, and actually make the economy stronger. So let’s do it.” [New York Times]

China is prepping a raft of distributed solar generation pilot projects to be constructed across the country. [Clean Technica]

If the U.S. really stops financing coal plants in other countries, this is a big deal. [Washington Post]

Sinovel, a Chinese wind company, was indicted yesterday for conspiring to steal wind energy technology from American company AMSC, which caused $800 million in damages. [New York Times]

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Far too many Canadian cities are not prepared for climate-related extreme weather events like the disastrous floods that ripped through Alberta. [CBC News]

The future of the renewable energy sector in the U.K. is uncertain, despite rising subsidies for wind farms. [Guardian]

New research at MIT holds out the possibility of ultra-thin solar cells that pound-for-pound generate 1000 times more power than conventional cells. [Solar Love]

Under a new European Union proposal, ships using EU ports would have to measure and report annual CO2 emissions. [Reuters]

Wildfire fighting in the American West is cutting into budgets to prevent future fires, furthering a cycle of climate change, austerity, and flame. [New York Times]

A new study to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters determined that global warming has increased Australia’s chances of seeing extremely hot summers by a factor of five. [Climate Central]

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India, which is burning coal at the fastest pace in 31 years, could soon top China as the world’s largest coal consumer. [Bloomberg]