Solar-powered street lights in Texas, Smart Grid for Maui, and the Solar Decathlon 

A couple stories caught my eye over the weekend. In Irving, Texas, the city council approved switching to solar-powered LED street lights, according to  a Dallas Morning News story. The story says the lights will save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, don’t need direct sunlight to charge, and, once charged, can power the lights for up to six days. Meanwhile, Scientific American reports that in Maui – the land of nearly perpetual sun – there are plans to test new smart grid technology in the luxury resort of Wailea. Hawaii has set an ambitious goal to by 2030 have 70 percent of its energy come from renewable sources. The island state faces some hurdles in integrating that technology, but they also have some serious motivation as Hawaii remains the nation’s most fossil-fuel dependent state, with imports supplying about 90 percent of its power needs.

Also, who can pass up the Solar Decathlon going on this week in Washington D.C. Twenty teams from colleges and universities across the country are competing to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house. Check out some of the designs on the contest website here or go to their facebook page here.

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