Polish village heals post-WWII blues with hand-painted homes

February 6, 2017 by  
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The small village of Zalipie, Poland leaves a big, bright, and beautiful impression on travelers. Everywhere you look you will see hand-painted floral designs on homes, barns, bridges, wells, and chicken coops. The tradition began a century ago, but only within the last few decades was it transformed into an annual contest to turn the tiny town into a living piece of art, and heal post-WWII blues at the same time. 100 years ago, locals would touch up their homes for the holidays by painting over soot stains caused by their wood-burning stoves. Often, this would not completely cover up the marks, so people got creative. The practice of painting flowers began informally and blossomed into a town tradition over the years. And the designs spread outside the home to the exterior of buildings and even backyard and community structures. Related: Poland unveils glowing bright blue bike lane that’s charged by the sun The trend continued over the decades, and then a new annual contest was created to bring up the spirits of the local community after WWII . The Malowana Chata (Painted Cottage) competition officially became an event in 1965 and still continues today. The media have improved from cooking fat-based paints to more hardy materials and the villagers have worked hard to preserve as much of the original artwork as they can. Zalipie is only an hour and a half outside of Krakow, so visitors traveling by car can easily enjoy the breathtaking blooms. Via Mental Floss Images via Flickr  (CC BY-ND 2.0)  ( 1 , 2 , 3 ), Wikimedia ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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Polish village heals post-WWII blues with hand-painted homes

China is now the largest producer of solar power in the world

February 6, 2017 by  
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One way China is working to battle climate change -causing carbon emissions is by developing a vast army of renewable energy projects. Even as the country struggles with pollution , it has made great strides on clean energy . They’re now the largest producer of solar energy by capacity in the world, adding 34.54 gigawatts of the country’s installed capacity of 77.42 gigawatts last year alone. The country’s National Energy Administration (NEA) announced over the weekend that in 2016, installed photovoltaic capacity in China more than doubled. Their data revealed the jump to 77.42 gigawatts after the country added 34.54 gigawatts. The provinces in which capacity increased most include Shandong, Henan, and Xinjiang, which is also one of the provinces with the largest overall capacity. Gansu, Inner Mongolia, and Qinghai join Xinjiang in that latter category. Related: China to spend $361 billion on renewable energy projects by 2020 And China’s not stopping here. Based on the NEA’s solar energy development strategy, between 2016 and 2020, they aim to add over 110 gigawatts of capacity. Solar power plants in China generated 66.2 billion kilowatt-hours in 2016, amounting to one percent of total power generation in the country, according to NEA. Currently 11 percent of generated power in the country originates from non-fossil fuel sources, but China hopes to bump that number up to 20 percent by 2030. To help attain that goal, they plan to pour over $360 billion into renewable energy projects, including solar, wind, nuclear, and hydropower. As the country still relies heavily on air-polluting coal , such an investment could help China work towards cleaner skies again. It will boost the economy too, creating more than 13 million jobs, according to the NEA. Engadget notes there are a few countries that edge China out in terms of solar energy relative to population size, such as the United States, Germany, and Japan. But with regards to capacity, China claims the prize. Via Reuters and Engadget Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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China is now the largest producer of solar power in the world

Chinese fishery installs immense floating solar farm for extra income

February 6, 2017 by  
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A fishery in eastern China now doubles as a solar power station. An immense array of photovoltaic panels has been installed across 300 hectares to generate not only clean electricity , but additional money for the fishery. Lines of solar panels stretch over the waters of a fishery in Cixi City, which is in the Zhejiang Province in eastern China . People’s Daily Online reports with a 200 megawatt (MW) capacity, it is the biggest solar power station constructed on a fish farm in the country. The panels will be connected to the state grid and will provide the fishery with an annual income of 240 million RMB, which is around $34 million. Fish should still be able to thrive in the waters underneath the panels; People’s Daily Online says the panels will provide shade, but PV Magazine also noted they were intentionally spaced out to allow sunlight to filter through, which is necessary for the fish to grow. Related: $11 million floating solar testbed in Singapore will be the largest in the world The huge station can generate enough power for 100,000 households, and could maybe even replace 7.4 tons of coal, according to People’s Daily Online. The solar panels should generate an impressive 220 million kilowatt-hours of electricity every year. PV Magazine reports there’s a similar 120 MW installation in China in the Jiangxi Province, but clearly the Cixi City project is much larger. The new solar system certainly wasn’t cheap; it cost 1.8 billion RMB, or $260 million. But Electrek reports the floating solar farm will pay for itself in about seven or eight years. The fishery turned renewable energy plant could offer a model for other fisheries or coastal areas around the world; PV Magazine reports construction just finished in late 2016, so it’s time to see how the fish farm functions with solar panels atop their pond. Via Electrek , People’s Daily Online , and PV Magazine Images via Max Pixel and screenshot

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