Stay current: the week’s best solar links

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We’ve rounded up our top reads of the week about solar and the future of the energy — so you can stay current.

-The U.S. solar industry had a record breaking year in 2015, building an unprecedented 7.3 gigawatts of new capacity. Photovoltaic power beat out natural gas capacity gains for the first time, with residential installations ranking as the fastest growing segment. [Utility Dive/Herman Trabish]

-The world needs to keep 80 percent of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground to avoid a climate change disaster, writes environmentalist Bill McKibben in a new essay. Is it possible? McKibben sees positive signs, including the falling price of solar. [Yes Magazine/Bill McKibben]

-Solar providers like SolarCity have installed panels on a variety of superstores. But far more potential remains: the nation’s big-box stores and shopping centers could host 62.3 gigawatts of rooftop solar—enough to meet the electricity needs of seven million U.S. households, according to a new study by Environment America. [PV Magazine/Ian Clover]

-Jordan, a country that has bore the brunt of the refugee crisis brought on by Syria’s civil war, is boosting solar development to help satisfy the spike in new power demand. [PV Magazine/Ian Clover]

-The clean energy industry cheered when Congress extended tax credits for solar and wind power last December. Now, a federal study puts some real-life, data-driven relevance to the legislators’ action: it will mean dramatically more renewable energy deployment and reduced carbon emissions from the power sector, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. [The Hill/Devin Henry]

Quote of the Week:

“Solar energy isn’t just good for the polar bears, it’s good for the middle class and the working class,” says Shalini Kantayya, director of “Catching the Sun,” a new documentary about the economic and other benefits of solar power. [The Guardian/Luke Buckmaster]

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