Wing-Chi Poon, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The United States is moving in two different directions on energy.  While the Trump administration moves to shore up the ailing coal industry, new renewable energy installations are announced all the time. 

Robert Arthur Stayton says the political bickering over energy and carbon overshadows (pun intended) the move toward solar power. 

He points up the ongoing move in his book Power Shift: From Fossil Energy to Dynamic Solar Power

Book and interview are from 2015, but still timely and relevant today. 

Ray Ok, CC BY 3.0,

Converting farmland to solar power collection does not necessarily mean the end of its use as farmland. 

A growing number of farms are able to continue growing certain types of crops, on the same land occupied by solar panel arrays.  And right next to each other, too. 

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a federal agency, monitors and assists the development of these mixed-use farms. 

Craig Miller/KQED

Marveling at the nearby homes with solar panels will soon become a thing of the past in California. 

Because the state will begin requiring solar panels on all new homes constructed in 2020 and beyond. 

That puts California out in front of states in requiring clean energy distribution across the landscape. 

The California Solar & Storage Association is understandably happy about the change. 

freethesun / Flickr

Placing a bunch of solar panels in a rural area is often referred to as a "solar farm."  But it's not like actual farming can go on around the solar arrays, and that's what troubles 1000 Friends of Oregon

The land-use group works to make sure property owners and planners comply with Oregon land-use law. 

And the group took exception to a solar farm approved for use on farmland near Medford, appealing the approval and getting it overturned. 

Oregon Department of Transportation

Maybe you're totally sold on solar power, but you can't afford to install panels on your house. 

There IS an option for you, and that is community solar installations. 

Oregon law allows groups of people to buy shares in a solar installation on public or shared property. 

It's a way to get the benefits of solar for the planet, without the burden of shouldering all the upfront costs alone. 

Oregon's "Solar City" Project

Jan 20, 2016
Craig Miller/KQED

We have neither flying cars nor all of our energy needs provided by the sun. 

The future is taking a while to arrive.  But efforts are underway to make more use of the sun's power. 

Ashland and Eugene are among five Oregon cities joining Environment Oregon in the "Solar City Project," setting aggressive targets for the installation of solar facilities over the next several years. 

Tom Banse/Northwest News Network

Wouldn't it be nice to get a check from your electric utility instead of a bill? That's exactly what happens for a select few homeowners in the Pacific Northwest whose solar-powered houses generate more electricity than they use over the course of the year.

A "Power Shift" Toward Solar Energy

Aug 3, 2015

The source of global warming is up there, but not visible: the greenhouse gases that are warming up the planet.

The solution is up there, too: energy from the sun.  So says Robert Arthur Stayton in his book Power Shift: From Fossil Energy To Dynamic Solar Power

He shoves aside the concerns about expense and economic dislocation, and paints an optimistic picture of a future in which we get 100% of our power needs met by the sun. 

Let The Sun Shine (And Lower The Electric Bill)

Apr 10, 2014
Pink Sherbet Photography

A broad definition of "rural" can help businesses in our region let the sun shine in. 

Meaning those businesses can get help installing solar power systems. 

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), covers up to 25 percent of the cost of new solar-electric systems for small rural businesses. 

Solar Water Heat For Low-Income Californians

Oct 18, 2013
Pink Sherbet Photography

When you're struggling to make your monthly rent payment, you're generally not thinking about things like solar water heating. 

But the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) is thinking along those lines. 

A History Of Solar Energy-A LONG History

Oct 1, 2013
Pink Sherbet Photography

Don't be too impressed with solar panels on your roof.

Photovoltaic technology may be relatively new in human history, but a lot of lower tech preceded it. 

Civilizations as far back as ancient China found ways to make maximum use of the sun's power in their homes and lives. 

Rogue Valley Green And Solar Tour

Sep 18, 2013
Pink Sherbet Photography

Solar power has been around for decades now, but it's still a mystery to many people.