2017 is no different than 2016 in more than just a few ways, but one significant similarity is the call to have environmental issues at top of mind. Society wants to see a change in polices nationally and around the world, to help protect the planet for those who live on it now, and those who will be on Earth in the future. A major environmental focus is on sustainable energy, such as wind and geothermal. Another type of sustainable energy that has been making headlines lately is solar! Solar panels harness the power of the sun's rays for the purpose of generating electricity. Here's a look at some of the most impressive uses of solar energy across the globe.
Mandalay Bay Convention Centre - Las Vegas
Image via Mandalay Bay
The state of Nevada has really been embracing cleaner forms of energy, with a plan to get a quarter of its electricity from clean power by the year 2025. The Mandalay Bay Convention Centre, which is covered in solar panels, is definitely an example of a big step in the right direction. The convention centre is the largest solar roof found in the U.S., with 26,000 panels in total.
Vertical Village - Dubai
Image via Graft Lab
Another impressive use of solar panels can be found in Dubai. The Vertical Village is completely blanketed in solar panels. The residential, hotel, and entertainment facility was designed to decrease solar gain, while also maximizing on solar production to help generate energy.
Kamuthi Solar Power Project - Tamil Nadu, India
Image via Adani Enterprises
In November, India unveiled the world's largest solar power plant, found in Kamuthi. The 2,500 acre site took 8 months to build, and cost a total of $US679 million. The 648 megawatt capacity plant has 2.5 million solar panels, and can power an amazing 150,000 homes! As one of the world's largest contributors to green house gas emissions, this is an incredible effort made by India.
Topaz Solar Farm - California
Image via First Solar
Another incredible power plant using solar panels is the Topaz Solar Farm found in sunny California. Topaz took 3 years to build, and cost $2.5 billion and has a 550 megawatt capacity made possible through its photovoltaic power station. Taking up 9.5 square miles in the Carrizo Plain, Topaz Solar Farm uses 9 million solar panels to send power to California's grid.
Tesla's Gigafactory - Nevada
Image via Tesla
If you've watched Leonardo DiCaprio's latest environmental documentary, Before the Flood, then you're most likely completely fascinated with Tesla's Gigafactories. These factories would be mass producing lithium-ion battery cells, a sustainable energy source, that could support 1.5 million electric vehicles annually. The Nevada Gigafactory announced that thanks to an investor handout, the massive factory could be operated entirely on clean energy, using solar panels! The plan is for a 70 megawatt rooftop, which would be 10 times larger than the world's current largest array.
These innovative uses of technology in the effort towards becoming a more sustainable planet not only are incredibly impressive and inspiring, but they also give us hope for the future of the environment!