SANTA YNEZ, CA - MARCH 30: A hilltop solar panel array is viewed at sunrise along Happy Canyon Road on March 30, 2018, near Santa Ynez, California. Because of its close proximity to Southern California and Los Angeles population centers, combined with a Mediterranean climate, the coastal regions of Santa Barbara have become a popular weekend getaway destination for millions of tourists each year. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

Starting January 1, 2020, all new homes built in California will be outfitted with solar panels. The new rule will apply to all homes, apartment buildings, and condos three stories or under.

The California Energy Commission voted unanimously for the housing mandate, which also includes new insulation and air filter requirements for newly built homes. More than 80,000 new homes are built every year in California. The requirements are expected to add $9,500 to the cost of a home, or $40 a month on a 30-year-mortgage. However, the energy savings to the homeowner will save $80 a month, making the measure not just energy smart but money smart.

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[DIGEST: Business Insider, China Merchants New Energy, Forbes, PV magazine]

A giant, 248-acre sized panda is now providing power to a grid in northwest China. Yes, while Tokyo has its life-sized Gundam statues guarding Tokyo Bay, China now has a solar farm in the shape of China’s adorable national treasure, and it will be the first of many more.

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[DIGEST: WSJ, Forbes, Telegraph, Business Insider, Wired, NYT, Futurism]

The Trump administration cut 23 key environmental protections rules in its first 100 days in office and is reopening a review of fuel-efficiency standards for autos, a first step in lowering vehicle efficiency standards and increasing consumer dependence on oil. Meanwhile, activities at Tesla labs may soon send gas-powered cars the way of the covered wagon. This small but mighty electric automaker is rapidly growing and setting new standards for efficiency, power, and low emissions. This summer, a game-changing new release could transform the auto industry, and eventually the entire power grid.

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August 09, 2013 - Pete Johnson of Gemini Rope Access Solutions, inspects the blades of a 3MW Alstom wind turbine by repelling down the blades. The turbine is undergoing testing at NREL's National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Dennis Schroeder / NREL)

[DIGEST: Gizmodo, Digital Trends BBC, NYT, CNBC, QZ]

Renewable energy has been steadily expanding its market share over the past decade, and as technologies have improved and costs have come down, output has gone up — way up. The record-breaking test run of a new giant wind turbine in Denmark is another indicator that green energy is ready to become a dominant force in the global energy mix.

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[DIGEST: NYT, Bloomberg, Financial Times, BBC, The Guardian, Fortune]

Despite the Trump administration’s plans to expand oil pipelines across the U.S. and expand drilling practices into the National Parks system, fossil fuels may be rendered obsolete sooner rather than later — leaving industries (and countries) that don’t prepare for innovation in trouble.

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