Lighting makes up nearly 19% of global electricity demands.

Spain has announced it will be introducing a solar tax so that solar panel users will contribute to the cost of maintaining the country’s electrical grid, since they use it as a backup supply. The tax will apply to solar power systems with a capacity of over 10 kilowatts.

The EnergySage Solar Marketplace Intel Report says more than 1 million homes in the US should have solar panels by February 2016. The average size of a US home solar system, according to the report, is just under 8 kilowatts. A typical home needs 100 square feet of roof space to generate 1 kilowatt of electricity.

The International Energy Agency says renewable energy will represent the largest single source of electricity growth over the next five years, driven by falling costs and aggressive expansion in emerging economies such as China and India. China is estimated to account for 38% of future renewable capacity to be added worldwide, followed by India at 9% and Brazil at 5%.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance research finds the cost of generating electricity from onshore wind is cheaper today than coal and natural gas in some parts of the world and solar is not far off. Onshore wind is now fully cost-competitive with both gas-fired and coal-fired generation in the UK and Germany. In the UK, onshore wind comes in on average at $85/megawatt-hour (MWh), compared to $115/MWh for both combined-cycle gas and coal-fired power; in Germany, onshore wind is at $80/MWh, compared to $118/MWh for gas and $106/MWh for coal. In China, onshore wind is significantly cheaper than gas-fired power, at $77/MWh versus $113/MWh, although still much more expensive than coal-generated electricity, at $44. In the US, coal and natural gas are still cheaper, at $65/MWh, against onshore wind at $80/MWh and PV solar at $107/MWh.

With the Volkswagon diesel engine emissions scandal continuing to blossom, Sweden’s Volvo Car Corp announced that it will start offering plug-in hybrid versions of all its upcoming models and will have an all-electric car by 2019.

Royal Dutch Shell announced it will start installing a network of hydrogen fuel pumps in Germany next year. By 2023 there should be 400 locations across the country where drivers can fill up on hydrogen “in a few minutes”.

The International Monetary Fund reported last week that Saudi Arabia is draining its financial assets so fast that they will be gone in five years unless crude oil prices rebound or Saudi government spending is drastically cut.

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