Penn State: Could Solar Cells Used in Space Ever Be Used on Your Rooftop? 

A team of international researchers has figured out how to make a concentrated PV (CPV) system out of ultra-high efficiency solar cells similar to those used in space.

To enable CPV on rooftops, the researchers combined miniaturized gallium-arsenide photovoltaic cells, 3-D-printed plastic lens arrays and a moveable focusing mechanism to reduce the size, weight and cost of the CPV system and create something similar to a traditional solar panel that can be placed on the south-facing side of a building's roof. They report their results today (Feb. 5) in Nature Communications.

Wired: If We Want to Keep the Gadgets Coming, Let’s Mine Greenland

Global supplies of rare earths are more uneven still: China controls more than 95 percent of rare-earth-metal exports. That could change though, not least because China is about to run out. Current projections estimate China’s domestic appetite for rare-earth metals will top 130,000 metric tons as early as this year, a number exceeding China’s current total rare-earth-metal exports. Even with existing stockpiles and untapped reserves within its borders, it will be difficult for China to continue to provide the world with an affordable supply of these indispensable elements.

Unfortunately, options for tapping new supplies are extremely limited. In the U.S., mining operations are finding it difficult to revive dormant mines profitably. In Australia, rare-earth-rich Mount Weld is mired in a political game of hot potato with Malaysia over whether the ore would be refined there and whether the radioactive result would be allowed back into Oz. No, the best possible source for the next batch of squirmy-electroned elements is Greenland.

Associated Press: Dominion Plans 400 MW of Solar for Virginia

Energy provider Dominion Virginia Power is planning to develop multiple large-scale solar projects in the state totaling 400 megawatts of electricity.

The subsidiary of Richmond-based Dominion Resources Inc. said today the projects estimated to cost $700 million are expected to be operational by 2020 and will be able to power 100,000 homes.

In its announcement, Dominion noted that solar costs continue to decline and large-scale projects are the most cost-effective way to deploy solar power.

Greater, Greater Washington: How Smart Language Helped End Seattle's Paralyzing Bike Backlash

Instead of "cyclists," people biking. Instead of "accident," collision. Instead of "cycle track," protected bike lane. It can come off as trivial word policing. But if you want proof that language shapes thoughts, look no further than Seattle -- where one of the country's biggest bikelashes has turned decisively around in the last four years.

For several years, instead of arguing about whether biking, walking or riding transit should be improved, the city was arguing about whether driving should be made worse. A winning issue had become a losing one.

Today, the phrase seems to have receded from Seattle's public life. And now the pro-bike, pro-transit policies championed by former Mayor Mike McGinn and continued by his successor Ed Murray are bearing fruit.

EurActive: France to Ax Coal Subsidies While EU Stalls

France has confirmed its plans to cut all export credits for the construction of coal power stations, but has not indicated when this new policy will come into force.

The French Minister for Ecology, Ségolène Royal, and the Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, announced the end of French aid for coal power during the presentation of their environmental roadmap for 2015, ahead of the Paris Climate Conference.