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Ethiopia aims to plant five billion trees as part of the country's larger reforestation initiative spearheaded by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. youtu.be

By Kimberly White

Ethiopia has set out to plant 5 billion tree seedlings this year. The planting is part of the country's larger reforestation initiative spearheaded by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

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The skyline of Houston at night seen from the Bank of America Center in Houston, Texas. James Leynse / Corbis / Getty Images

By Kimberly White

The City of Houston has committed to 100 percent renewable energy. Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that the city has teamed up with NRG Energy to power all municipal operations with renewable energy beginning in July.

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LL28 / Getty Images

Solar panels can provide electricity for decades, and they have few maintenance needs compared with other energy generation systems. However, regular solar panel cleaning is important to ensure they remain productive. When dust and debris accumulate on the surface of photovoltaic cells, they block sunlight, and less electricity is produced.

The best solar panels come with a power production warranty of 25 to 30 years. Like any device, they lose performance capacity over time. High-quality modules will only lose around 0.5% of their capacity each year, but this is only true for solar panels that are cleaned regularly. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, soiling can reduce panels' annual electricity output by up to 7% in some parts of the U.S.

Rain can naturally wash away dirt and particles from the surface of solar panels, especially if they are tilted. So if you live in a place with regular rainfall, your panels will be less affected by soiling. However, solar panel cleaning services are still recommended two to four times per year to make sure your system stays productive.

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