Solarpunk is a valid belief system – from  cover photot credit: The Economist   “Our special issue explores how the exponential rise of solar power will change the world.”

Goodbye Big Oil, hello Big Solar
Who makes more energy: the seven largest oil companies or the seven largest Chinese solar panel manufacturers? If you guessed the oil giants, you’re wrong. When you break down how many joules of energy each one provides—and factor in resource efficiency—solar comes out on top, especially considering future investments and equipment longevity. Bloomberg

Clean energy investment way above fossil fuel spend
The world is now investing almost twice as much in clean energy as it is in fossil fuels. Investment in renewables, grids, and storage is set to hit $2 trillion this year, with solar seeing more investment than any other energy resource. Another $500 billion needs to be spent every year for clean energy projects if we’re to hit net-zero by 2050. WSJ

Most new US power is solar, and the projects are getting bigger
This year the United States will turn on the largest amount of new power capacity in two decades, most of which will come from solar, for which the average project is six times bigger than it was a decade ago. That trend isn’t slowing down, either. The average project slotted for 2025 is expected to have nearly twice as much capacity as the average project built this year.

Solar is booming in Brazil
The Latin American nation has added about 1 GW of solar every month since 2022, helping it become the sixth-largest solar generator in the world. Public incentives, a production cost decline, and greater ambition to meet the moment got them there, but observers want to see more benefits for disadvantaged groups. Dialogue Earth

Pessimists sound clever; optimists change the world
Over the last two decades, solar pessimists have been spanked by reality over and over, yet somehow they never quit. Because solar became identified with environmentalists and the left, a lot of people decided to downplay it, lest they find themselves on the same team as a bunch of greenies (the horror!). Sadly, they’ve missed out on the coolest thing happening this century. The Economist

“In 2004, it took the world a whole year to install a gigawatt of solar-power capacity; in 2010, it took a month; in 2016, a week. In 2023 there were single days which saw a gigawatt of installation worldwide.”

Germany could be on track to hit its greenhouse gas targets
By far the biggest European energy user, Germany wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2030. It’s an ambitious target, and one that’s difficult to hit given lower-than-expected funding, but a new federal analysis suggests the target is now within reach (for the most part) under current climate policies. Clean Energy Wire

China targets industrial emissions
China has announced plans to trim emissions by 84 million tonnes from its ammonia, cement, oil refining, and steel sectors, its four most carbon-hungry industries. As ‘the sector with the largest reduction potential’ in the country, generating up to 20% of China’s emissions, decarbonizing the steel industryis key to meeting its climate targets.

Offshore wind hits major global milestone
An encouraging new report out of the UK finds global offshore wind capacity has hit 75 GW, rising more than 20% in the past year. China has the most offshore wind projects in the pipeline, at 227 GW, with the UK a distant second at 96 GW, although another 44 GW could be operational in its waters by the end of

US Senate passes bill to support advanced nuclear energy deployment
The Senate voted nearly unanimously Tuesday evening to pass major legislation designed to launch a reactor-building spree. Expanding nuclear power has broad bipartisan support, with Democrats seeing it as critical to decarbonizing the power sector in order to fight climate change, and Republicans viewing it as a way to ensure reliable electricity supply and create jobs.

Defying the ‘slowdown,’ California’s EV sales accelerate
Californians just pushed the state to its best-ever first quarter for zero-emission vehicles, buying roughly 103,000 from January through March of this year. The state government says nearly one in four California car shoppers are now choosing to go electric. All the journalists who wrote about the slowdown will obviously now update their opinions, right?

A new, greener way to make steel
A startup backed by Amazon and steel producer Nucor has produced its first steel plates via a process that dissolves iron ore in a chemical solution, then runs electricity through it at 60°C to separate pure iron from impurities. The breakthrough escalates a potentially lucrative global race to clean up a $1 trillion industry that’s responsible for 10% of global emissions. WSJ

A cleaner, greener way to recycle solar panels
Recycling solar panels is a messy business, given the hard-to-remove components and the toxic chemicals involved. An Italian startup is seeing awesome early results with a new method that tackles those issues, even extracting high-value elements. A larger demonstration facility is now under construction as the company hones in on profitability. IEEE Spectrum

A solar panel broken down yields silicon, glass, copper, a junction box, and an aluminum frame. Credit: Luigi Avantaggiato

What’s the opposite of doom-scrolling?

Did you know that two out of three new cars sold in Shenzhen now have plugs, and China’s fourth-largest city has more EV chargers than petrol pumps? Hyundai has started construction on a massive hub for EV manufacturing in the US state of Georgia, which will create over 50,000 jobs. A big wave of international climate litigation is coming. Remember when the world wasn’t going to have enough lithium? Well, prices are now falling as production catches up. Remember when the world wasn’t going to have enough rare earth materials? A Norwegian mining prospector thinks it’s found continental Europe’s biggest deposit. Coming very soon: cheap American electric vehicles. If you still think hydrogen is the Swiss Army Knife of energy, then you should probably watch this talk. What will Mexico’s new climate-minded president do for the planet? Don’t tell Joe Manchin, but wind technician is still the fastest-growing job in America. ‘Look, these batteries are all very nice, but they’re never going to work for big vehicles in remote areas… oh hold on.’

The new Komatsu PC8000-11 excavator arrives at the Copper Mountain mine in British Columbia. At 9.7 m tall and 10 m wide, it is the largest surface mining excavator in the world—and it’s fully electric.