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Jun. 17, 2011

The Longest Day

by Carl Flatow

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I recently received an email from a representative of the company Applied Materials, “the world’s largest manufacturer of equipment to make solar photovoltaic panels.” The writer suggested that the upcoming summer solstice (June 21 in my neighborhood in the Northern Hemisphere) is a great time to focus on the sun. According to her email, “In 2010, solar power cost the same as grid power (usually coal) in 16 countries, including Italy, Spain and Denmark. In three years, 33 more countries, such as Australia, Japan and Germany, will be able to provide solar power at the same or less cost as grid power….” This is great news to me, as a believer in the importance of renewable energy to our future, and someone who would love to put solar panels on the roof of his home.

Let us not forget how slightly less obvious collectors of solar energy help us even more as we drift through this period of maximum sunshine — green plants. My tomatoes plants are beginning to fruit, the coveted wild purslane has reappeared in my garden (and in the cracks in the sidewalk) and my bees are pretty busy harvesting their resources and growing their colonies and their winter stores of honey.

Celebrate the longest day!

About Carl Flatow

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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