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Solar news: November 2nd, 2018

In this week’s Solar News Roundup, Hyundai and Kia announce solar car roof products, and U.S. electricity sector emissions dropped significantly due to new solar and wind installations.

Hyundai and Kia unveil solar car roof products

A new kind of solar roof may be coming to market soon. This week, automakers Hyundai and Kia announced plans to install “solar roof” devices on car roofs or vehicle hoods beginning in 2019. Both car companies are owned by Hyundai Motor Group.

The companies have planned three separate generations of new solar roof charging systems. The first-generation, product launching in 2019, is meant for hybrid vehicles and will provide additional electrical power. The second-generation system will be designed for traditional internal combustion vehicles and will feature a semi-transparent solar roof. Lastly, the planned third-generation system is still undergoing testing and will be installed as part of the hood and roof of battery electric vehicles.

In a statement this week, Jeong-Gil Park, the executive vice president of Hyundai Motor Group’s Engineering and Design Division, said, “In the future, we expect to see many different types of electricity-generating technologies integrated into our vehicle.” Hyundai Motor Group sees a solar car roof integration as an important part of their future. Innovation in the space may be able to contribute to extended ranges for hybrid and full-electric vehicles, further boosting the value proposition of an electric car purchase.

U.S. electricity emissions down 13% due to solar and wind since 2005

A recent analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) revealed that renewable energy growth from 2005 to 2017 lead to a 13 percent reduction in electricity sector carbon emissions. Total emissions from the electricity sector fell 28 percent in the same time frame, but the remaining 15 percent is likely from switching from coal to natural gas, which produces further emissions in the form of leaked methane during the extraction and transport process.

From 2005 to 2017, wind generation increased by 236 terawatt-hours (TWh) annually, solar increased by 76 TWh, and hydroelectric generation increased by 30 TWh. Nuclear growth contributed 23 TWh, and biomass and geothermal generation also added smaller generating capacities. In total, these “zero-carbon emitting sources” contributed to a drop in 316 metric tons of emissions.


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