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Landfill to Become Solar Power Plant, Solar Powered Backpacks Growing in Popularity

California continues its quest to become one of the world’s largest solar power supporters and generators. Recent deals with Southern California Edison have allowed the company to acquire seven new solar plants throughout the state. The deal will increase the megawatts produced by the company to a whopping 325, quickly making it the largest solar power installation in the United States. The deal will be able to power over 540,000 homes in the area, and the project will hopefully be completed by the year 2016.

An area landfill in the metro-Atlanta area will now become one of the biggest solar power producers in the state of Georgia. Hickory Ridge landfill will become Georgia’s first landfill solar farm, and will use stimulus funding ($2 million) to finance the project. The landfill solar project will have the capabilities to produce 1 megawatt of power, which will be enough to power roughly 400 homes.

Voltaic Systems is now producing and selling solar powered backpacks. The packs, which utilize photovoltaic panels on the rear of the pack, enable hikers, bikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts to charge iPods, cell phones, and even laptops while they are outdoors. Solar panels and chargers for the exclusive backpacks are available separately.

Virginia Highlands Community College in southwest Virginia will be one of the first campuses to have a coffee shop using only organically grown products that are 100% recyclable. The small college of roughly 4,000 students received a grant announcing the coffee shop and its goal of giving students an idea of the possibilities of running a sustainable business. The coffee shop is unique in that it will utilize Energy Star appliances and solar hot water, as well as photovoltaic solutions.