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Who Needs Nukes? Japan Plans a Massive Shift to Solar Power

Japanese officials are set to unveil a new "Sunrise Plan" tomorrow, requiring all new buildings to be covered by solar panels by 2030.

The Japanese public is less enthusiastic about nuclear power these days. Responding to the Fukushima crisis and public concerns earlier this month, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan declared the nation's plans for nuclear power expansion officially dead.

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Making Solar Sexy: SMIT's Amazingly Versatile and Attractive Solar Panels

The SMIT team's new Tensile Solar Structures are lightweight, modular energy-generating systems, inspired by fabric architecture.

There are few designers out there doing as good a job making solar sexy as the SMIT team. We've covered this brother and sister team before (who, full disclosure, are friends of mine), when they were debuting their clever Solar Ivy designs, which went on to be featured at the MOMA's 2008 "Design and the Elastic Mind" exhibition.

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New Study Finds Solar Panels Are "Contagious"

A new study finds that you're more likely to install solar panels if other people in your zip code have them.


Are you more likely to install solar panels if your neighbor has them? A new study (PDF) out of Stanford says that you are. More specifically, it finds that for every 1 percent increase in the number of installations in a particular zip code, the time until the next adoption of solar decreases by 1 percent. Or, as Vote Solar's Adam Browning put it: Solar is contagious!

So just how quickly can solar power spread as this snowball effect gets rolling? John Farrell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's New Rules Project projects the trends forward:

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