Renewable energy sources — such as the Eolo wind park about 75 miles south of the Nicaraguan capital, Managua — generate about half of the country's electricity. Officials predict that figure could rise to 80 percent within years.
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Elizabeth Ebinger in Maplewood, N.J., bought her solar panels, while neighbor Tim Roebuck signed a 20-year lease. Both are happy with the approach they took, and both are saving money on energy bills.
A worker installs solar panels atop a government building in Lakewood, Colo. The industry has added more than 80,000 jobs since 2010, according to The Solar Foundation.
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Vera Cole is president of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association, a group arguing against proposed rules in Pennsylvania that would put stricter limits on how much grid-connected solar power homeowners can produce on their property.
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In Del Norte, Colo., Public Works Supervisor Kevin Larimore shows off solar panels that provide electricity for the town's water supply. Despite generating its own solar energy, the town is still at risk of a blackout if its main power line goes down.
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Solar sponge: The top layer of graphite soaks up the sun's energy in tiny holes. When drops of liquid fill the holes, the water quickly evaporates. (The beaker looks hot, but the water below the sponge is cool as a cucumber.)
Courtesy of George Ni/MIT
The Solar Impulse takes off from Moffett Field NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., Friday, as a team member rides an electric bike alongside the plane.
The Solar Impulse, a solar-powered plane, flies over Switzerland. The makers will be journeying across the U.S. this spring, hoping the flight helps challenge assumptions about what solar technology can do.
Courtesy of Solar Impulse