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First Solar Series 6 is World’s First EPEAT-Rated PV Module

Global ecolabel registry extends coverage, enabling identification of environmentally-preferable PV

World’s First EPEAT-Rated Photovoltaic Solar Module

The Series 6 photovoltaic (PV) module, designed and manufactured by U.S.-headquartered First Solar, Inc., is the world’s first PV product to be rated in the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registry for sustainable electronics.
The Series 6 photovoltaic (PV) module, designed and manufactured by U.S.-headquartered First Solar, Inc., is the world’s first PV product to be rated in the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registry for sustainable electronics.
The Series 6 photovoltaic (PV) module, designed and manufactured by U.S.-headquartered First Solar, Inc., is the world’s first PV product to be rated in the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registry for sustainable electronics.

PORTLAND, Ore. and TEMPE, Ariz., Oct. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Green Electronics Council (GEC) today announced that the Series 6 photovoltaic (PV) module, designed and manufactured by U.S.-headquartered First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR), is the world’s first PV product to be included in the launch of the EPEAT Photovoltaic and Inverters product category.

EPEAT is the leading life-cycle based Type-1 ecolabel used by public and private sector institutional purchasers globally. To be the first PV product included in the new EPEAT PV Modules and Inverters category, First Solar Series 6 sustainability benefits have been verified by a reputable third-party international certification firm.

The EPEAT ecolabel allows easy identification of credible sustainable electronic products from a broad range of manufacturers, and the online EPEAT Registry lists those products. Designed to help institutional purchasers, EPEAT is used by national governments, including the United States, and thousands of private-sector institutional purchasers worldwide as part of their sustainable procurement decisions. The GEC, which manages EPEAT and ensures its integrity, has launched the new EPEAT PV modules and Inverters product category in recognition of the tremendous growth of the solar sector.

“The EPEAT PV Modules and Inverters category provides those tasked with buying renewable energy the means to specify that the hardware used is truly sustainable,” said Nancy Gillis, CEO of the Green Electronics Council. “We are thrilled that First Solar is leading the solar industry towards more sustainable practices by becoming the first PV module manufacturer to have its products included in the EPEAT Registry, giving its customers confidence that they are purchasing an environmentally-leading product from a socially-responsible company.  By launching at the Silver tier, First Solar has shown their commitment to sustainability.  GEC calls upon the other PV module manufacturers to follow their lead.”

Series 6 was awarded an EPEAT Silver rating, certifying that it has exceeded the required stringent environmental and social criteria of a Bronze rating. EPEAT addresses the full product life cycle, including managing substances in the product, manufacturing energy and water use, product packaging, end-of-life recycling, and corporate responsibility. EPEAT also requires manufacturers to commit to continuous improvement in environmental and social responsibility, including labor and human rights, across their operations and supply chain. This helps ensure that PV modules and inverters, and their components, are not produced using forced labor and that fair and safe labor practices are adhered to.

“With solar PV expected to be the fastest-growing renewable energy technology from now to 2050, the sector

Without nuclear power, the world’s climate challenge will get a whole lot harder

The Covid-19 crisis not only delivered an unprecedented shock to the world economy. It also underscored the scale of the climate challenge we face: Even in the current deep recession, global carbon emissions remain unsustainable.



a sunset in the background: White steam billows from the Cattenom nuclear power plant, at sunset in Cattenom, eastern France, on June 2, 2020. - Cattenom is the ninth largest nuclear power station in the world. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BERDA / AFP) (Photo by SEBASTIEN BERDA/AFP via Getty Images)


© Sebastien Berda/AFP/Getty Images
White steam billows from the Cattenom nuclear power plant, at sunset in Cattenom, eastern France, on June 2, 2020. – Cattenom is the ninth largest nuclear power station in the world. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BERDA / AFP) (Photo by SEBASTIEN BERDA/AFP via Getty Images)

If the world is to meet energy security and climate goals, clean energy must be at the core of post-Covid-19 economic recovery efforts. Strong growth in wind and solar energy and in the use of electric cars gives us grounds for hope, as does the promise of emerging technologies like hydrogen and carbon capture. But the scale of the challenge means we cannot afford to exclude any available technologies, including nuclear power — the world’s second-largest source of low-carbon electricity after hydropower.

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The power sector is the key to the clean energy transition. It is the single largest source of global emissions because most electricity is generated from fossil fuels. By significantly expanding the amount of electricity produced from low-carbon sources, we can help to reduce emissions not only from power generation, but also from sectors like transport, where low-carbon electricity can now fuel cars, trucks and buses.

This is a major undertaking. Low-carbon electricity generation will need to triple by 2040 to put the world on track to reach energy and climate goals. That is the equivalent of adding Japan’s entire power system to the global grid every year. It is very difficult to see how this can be done without a considerable contribution from nuclear power.

Nuclear power generated a near-record amount of electricity in 2019, second only to 2006. But the nuclear power industry risks going into significant decline in the absence of further investment in new nuclear power plants and extending the lifetimes of existing ones.

Today, nuclear power plants generate 10% of the world’s electricity. But they produce almost a third of all low-carbon electricity. The steady flow of power they produce is vital for ensuring reliable energy supplies in many countries. That became clear during the recent lockdowns, when nuclear and renewables were the most resilient sources of power generation globally. No nuclear power plants had to shut down because of Covid-19.

Some nuclear projects in Europe and North America, where 20% of electricity comes from nuclear, have been plagued by financial and project management difficulties. But China, India and the United Arab Emirates are among countries with successful new-build programs. In some countries, nuclear power plants that could have operated for years to come were shut down because of policy decisions by governments or unfavorable market conditions. In many of those cases, fossil fuels filled a considerable part of the gap in the power supply, increasing the emissions challenge we now face.

Some countries have made the sovereign

New species of aquatic mice discovered, cousins of one of the world’s rarest mammals

New species of aquatic mice discovered, cousins of one of the world's rarest mammals
An illustration of one of the newly-described species of stilt mouse, Colomys lumumbai, wading in a stream to hunt. Credit: Velizar Simeonovski, Field Museum

Ninety-three years ago, a scientist trapped a mouse in a stream in Ethiopia. Of all the mice, rats, and gerbils in Africa, it stood out as the one most adapted for living in water, with water-resistant fur and long, broad feet. That specimen, housed at Chicago’s Field Museum, is the only one of its genus ever collected, and scientists think it may now be extinct. But in a new study in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, researchers have verified this semi-aquatic mouse’s closest cousins, including two species new to science.


“These two groups of mice have been confused with one another for a century,” says Julian Kerbis Peterhans, one of the paper’s authors and a researcher at the Field Museum who’s studied these rodents for over 30 years. “They’ve been so elusive for so long, they’re some of the rarest animals in the world, so it’s exciting to finally figure out their family tree.”

“It’s underappreciated how little is known about the biodiversity of small mammals, especially in tropical parts of the world. We’re not discovering a whole lot of new lions, tigers, and bears, but there’s an incredible potential for discovery of new species of small mammals because they’re tough to find,” says Tom Giarla, the paper’s lead author and an assistant professor of biology at Siena College in New York. “And they’re sort of underappreciated animals—they’re really cool when you start to learn about their ecology. These are semi-aquatic mice, so they’re not just your average, everyday rodents.”

There are two main kinds of mice that the researchers focused on: Nilopegamys and Colomys. Nilopegamys (meaning “mouse from the source of the Nile”) is the genus that’s only known from one specimen collected in 1927; the genus Colomys is a little easier to come by, but still difficult to find. While Nilopegamys has only been found in Ethiopia, Colomys have been found throughout the Congo Basin and into the western part of the African continent.

New species of aquatic mice discovered, cousins of one of the world's rarest mammals
Specimens of the stilt mice studied in this paper– the already-known species C. goslingi on the left, and the new species C. lumumbai on the right. Credit: Giarla et al

Colomys‘s name roughly translates to “stilt mouse” for its elongated feet that let it wade in shallow streams to hunt for water-dwelling insects like caddisfly larvae. “These mice are long-footed, kind of like a kangaroo. They sit up on their haunches, and they wade through shallow streams with their whiskers on the water’s surface detecting movements, like sonar,” says Kerbis Peterhans. They have unusually large brains in order to process this sensory information from their whiskers when they hunt. They’re cute, too, he says: “When I caught my first one some 30 years ago, it was the most beautiful African mouse I’d ever seen, it had water repellent fur that’s very thick and lush and

How an Expedition to the Galapagos Islands Saved One of the World’s Largest Natural History Museums | Science

In the spring of 1905, eight researchers from the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco set sail on a mission to complete a major comprehensive survey of the Galapagos Islands, something that no other institution had yet to accomplish. For 17 months, well-trained specialists in the fields of botany, geology, paleontology, entomology, malacology (the study of mollusks), ornithology and herpetology went on a collecting spree. They gathered multiple specimens of plants, birds, mammals, insects and reptiles. While they suspected that the collected specimens would help solidify Darwin’s theory of evolution and inform the world about Galapagos wildlife, they couldn’t have imagined that when they returned home, their city would be recovering from a catastrophic earthquake and conflagration that nearly destroyed their own institution.

“The Galapagos expedition was kind of a way to prove themselves. In the vein of, ‘We’re this scrappy little West Coast institution and we want to compete with the other globally recognized leaders in biodiversity research,” says Rayna Bell, the Academy’s assistant curator of herpetology. “To do that we’re going to do this large comprehensive survey of the Galapagos.”

Last month, the Academy kicked off a two-year endeavor to digitize the bulk of its Galapagos collection, much of which comes directly from the 1905-1906 expedition. Consisting of 78,000 biological specimens, it’s the largest amassing from the Galapagos on the planet. It includes Darwin’s finches, a large variety of aquatic lizards, and more than 260 preserved giant tortoises. At the time collecting these specimens was both normal and legal, though Bell says that’s no longer the case. “Basically, the islands are now a living museum,” says Bell, protected in part by the Ecuadorian government’s Special Law of Galapagos. “It’s difficult even securing research permits to go there.”

The Academy’s Galapagos collection encompasses a specific moment in time, and plays a large role in the study of evolution. It also provides a starting point for researchers, scientists, conservationists, and even the general public to see how the archipelago has adapted, changed and even stayed relatively the same over the last 100 years.

For the next 24 months, Academy staff members and their affiliates will both CT and surface scan multiple representatives of each species from all of the islands on the Galapagos collection into 3-D digital images that will provide virtual access to both researchers and the public alike. The images will be placed online in batches beginning in 2021.

“Many research collections aren’t actually searchable online,” says James Gibbs, co-leader of the Galapagos Tortoise Restoration Initiative at the Galapagos Conservancy in Virginia. “The California Academy of Sciences is. Now, add to that the ability to see and with these visualization techniques, explore these specimens up close, swivel them around, and study them almost as if they were in your own hands?”

While the digitization remains mostly for researchers, teachers, students and really anyone will soon be able to pull up a 3-D images of say, a Galapagos land iguana, and study everything from its distinguishing facial angle