Solar Energy News: Solar Panels Now Able to Harness Power from Raindrops, New Hampshire Doubles Net-Metering Cap, Disney World Launches Mickey’s Solar Farm

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A number of exciting developments this past week are keeping the solar momentum strong in what many experts are calling the #YearofSolar. The launch of Disney World’s solar farm, news of New Hampshire’s lifted net-metering cap and the development of solar cells that can generate power from raindrops are three of the headlines you need to know about from this past week’s solar energy news report.

Solar Cells Able to Convert Power from Raindrops

The concept that rainy days are the enemy of solar power may no longer be true now that Chinese scientists have developed a solar cell that can harness energy from drops of rain. Their innovative solar cell is made with a layer of graphene that makes rain stick to a panel’s surface, allowing water ions to convert into electricity. While these early iterations of the new cell do not yet have a high efficiency rating, further development could correlate gloomy, rainy days with reliable solar panel performance.

Net Metering Cap Doubles in New Hampshire

The solar industry applauded the New Hampshire Senate this week for passing a bill that will double the state’s net-metering cap to 100 megawatts (MW). The bill, now awaiting the signature of Governor Maggie Hassan, marks the second net-metering cap increase this month after the Massachusetts cap was lifted last week. As net metering battles continue to roll on across the U.S., industry stakeholders hope that these recent successes will dictate a changing momentum around net metering.

USC Boosts Renewable Presence with New PV Installation

Last month’s solar installation at the University of Southern Carolina (USC) is starting to shine now that solar panels are powering the school’s Wrigley Marine Center. The 23 kilowatt solar energy system consists of 88 panels that are already averaging 98 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day thanks to the system’s prime location on sunny Catalina Island. The PV installation was donated to USC by national electric contractor Helix Electric and reflects the school’s ongoing effort to drive sustainability on campus.

Disney World Launches Mickey Mouse-Themed Solar Array

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Duke Energy and Walt Disney World Officials announced the launch of a 5 MW solar farm this week. The massive solar system mirrors the head shape of Disney icon Mickey Mouse and is located just outside of Epcot park in Orlando, Florida. The 23-acre farm officially went live Tuesday in a public launch event with Duke Energy but has been generating power since mid March.

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