Masslive: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker Signs Solar Net Metering Bill

A year after a Massachusetts utility first hit a cap on the reimbursements paid to solar energy producers, Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday signed a law to lift the cap.

"This legislation builds upon the continued success of the Commonwealth's solar industry and ensures a viable, sustainable and affordable solar market at a lower cost to ratepayers," Baker said in a statement.

Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton said the new law will allow for more solar development while reducing costs to ratepayers.

Los Angeles: Despite Tesla Frenzy, Electric Car Sales Are Far From Robust

Despite the buzz surrounding the Model 3 and Tesla's two existing vehicles, the top-selling Model S sedan and the recently introduced Model X sport utility vehicle, electric-car sales remain a drop in the bucket for the U.S. auto industry.

Pure electric cars such as those sold by Tesla -- that is, not counting hybrids that use batteries and a conventional internal-combustion engine -- totaled 71,064 last year, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Assn., a trade group in Washington.

That amounted to only 0.4% of the record 17.4 million cars sold in the United States in 2015. Throw in the hybrids, and the electric-car industry's sales totaled 498,426 last year, but that still was a mere 2.9% of the market.

Bloomberg: Paris Climate Deal Seen Taking Effect Two Years Ahead of Plan

The global climate change agreement brokered in Paris in December by 195 nations will come into effect two years earlier than originally planned, the top United Nations climate diplomat predicted.

“You heard it here first: I think that we will have a Paris Agreement in effect by 2018,” Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, said during a question-and-answer session after delivering a lecture Monday at Imperial College London.

The prediction suggests that countries may initiate efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions earlier than expected, and increases the chances of meeting the pact’s ultimate goal of limiting the increase in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since industrialization began.

South China Morning Post: Solar Power Breakthrough by Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Researchers at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University claim they have created the most efficient solar cells of their kind in the world.

After three years of research, Professor Charles Chee Surya from the university’s Department of Electronic and Information Engineering claimed on Tuesday their hybrid solar cells can convert up to 25.5 percent of solar energy, beating the previous record of 22.8 percent set in Switzerland last September.

Researchers estimate the efficiency boost can reduce the cost of generating solar power from HK$3.90 per watt to HK$2.73 per watt.

Washington Post: Sanders Calls for National Fracking Ban

Sanders’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, bolstered by private polling, sees the fight over fracking (hydraulic fracturing of rocky shale to access natural gas) as an issue where former secretary of state Hillary Clinton would struggle to win New York Democrats. In a new ad, released after the Binghamton speech and narrated by actress Susan Sarandon, Sanders builds on his opposition to fracking by calling for a national ban.

"Do Washington politicians side with polluters over families?" asks Susan Sarandon in the 30-second spot. "They sure do, because Big Oil pumps millions into their campaigns. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate for president who opposes fracking everywhere."