Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett has been under fire for a home insulation scheme gone wrong in which as many of 400,000 properties may have received below-grade insulation-and three installers have died of electrocution. And now, the safety of solar panel installations in the country has been called into question as well.
While it doesn’t have the ring or the fame of the Indy 500, the World Solar Challenge can make one promise the Greatest Spectacle in Racing can’t: every single car in the competition is low-emission—because every single car in the competition is powered by the sun. Part of the bigger Global Green Challenge, which also includes a race that pits production vehicles—such as the Tesla Roadster and Honda Civic—against each other, the World Solar Challenge is a competition that sends solar racecars through roughly 1,880 miles of Australian desert, savannah and jungle in a low-emissions race to the finish.
In another example of the “victim-of-its-own-success” phenomenon recently plaguing solar, as of October 15 the Australian government abruptly suspended its wildly popular AUD $480 million (US $441 million) National Solar Schools Program, an initiative which offered grants of up to $50,000 to each eligible school that was installing a solar system.