The UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech kicked off today, just three days after the Paris climate change agreement entered into force.
It's Official: Paris Agreement Becomes International Law https://t.co/rNE0OPlDex @climateprogress @tcktcktck— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1478310308.0
At the opening, Morocco's Foreign Minister and newly-elected COP22 President Salaheddine Mezouar underscored his country's willingness to host the conference as a demonstration of Africa's commitment as a whole to contribute to global efforts to tackle climate change. "It emphasizes Africa's desire to take its destiny in hand, to reduce its vulnerability and strengthen its resilience," he said.
President Mezouar pointed to the groundswell of momentum building around the world. At the same time, he acknowledged the fact that the Paris agreement does not yet put the world on track towards the goal of a maximum global average temperature of 1.5 to 2 degrees, as agreed by the international community in Paris last year.
Addressing government delegates he said: "I would like to invite you over the coming 11 days to be more ambitious than ever in your commitments. All over the world, public opinion must perceive change. It has to be a change at all levels, from local projects through to those that cross international borders and it must create genuine win-win partnerships."
Together with Ségolène Royal, French environment minister and president of last year's Paris UN Climate Change Conference, Salaheddine Mezouar handed out solar lanterns to all delegates in the room, as a symbol of the transformation to clean technology which is essential to achieve the Paris agreement goals. The delegates then held up the lights in a show of solidarity.
[email protected] & @RoyalSegolene present globe & delegates hold up #solar lanterns in honor of #ParisAgreement &… https://t.co/SaIk97J93N— UN Climate Action (@UN Climate Action)1478517765.0
In her opening address Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change said that whilst early entry into force of the Paris agreement is a clear cause for celebration, it is also a timely reminder of the high expectations that are now placed on governments:
"Achieving the aims and ambitions of the Paris agreement is not a given. We have embarked on an effort to change the course of two centuries of carbon-intense development. The peaking of global emissions is urgent, as is attaining far more climate-resilient societies."
#COP22 heralds new era of internat'l #ClimateAction https://t.co/J9vrGZnL8X @PEspinosaC outlines 5 key areas of act… https://t.co/etk8wXRdmS— UN Climate Action (@UN Climate Action)1478525347.0
Espinosa underlined five key areas in which work needs to be taken forward, notably on:
- Finance to allow developing countries to green their economies and build resilience. Finance is flowing. It has to reach the level and have the predictability needed to catalyze low-emission and climate-resilient development.
- Nationally determined contributions—national climate action plans—which now need to be integrated into national policies and investment plans.
- Support for adaptation which needs to be given higher priority, and progress on the loss and damage mechanism to safeguard development gains in the most vulnerable communities.
- Capacity building needs of developing countries in a manner that is both tailored and specific to their needs.
- Fully engaging Non-Party stakeholders, from the North and from the South, as they are central to the global action agenda for transformational change.
"Our work here in Marrakech must reflect our new reality. No politician or citizen, no business manager or investor can doubt that the transformation to a low-emission, resilient society and economy is the singular determination of the community of nations," she said.
By Patricia Espinosa and Salaheddine Mezouar
Humanity will look back on Nov. 4, as the day that countries of the world shut the door on inevitable climate disaster and set off with determination towards a sustainable future.
The Paris climate change agreement—the result of the most complex, comprehensive and critical international climate negotiation ever attempted—came into force today.
The agreement is undoubtedly a turning point in the history of common human endeavor, capturing the combined political, economic and social will of governments, cities, regions, citizens, business and investors to overcome the existential threat of unchecked climate change.
Its early entry into force is a clear political signal that all the nations of the world are devoted to decisive global action on climate change.
Next week's UN climate change conference in Marrakech represents a new departure for the international community and the first meeting of the Paris agreement's governing body, known as the CMA, will take place during it on Nov. 15.
This is a moment to celebrate. It is also a moment to look ahead with sober assessment and renewed will over the task ahead.
How are you celebrating the entry into force of the historic #ParisAgreement on #ClimateAction today? #COP22 @UN https://t.co/inJYERlP8P— UN Climate Action (@UN Climate Action)1478251026.0
In a short time—and certainly in the next 15 years—we need to see unprecedented reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and unequalled efforts to build societies that can resist rising climate impacts.
The timetable is pressing because globally greenhouse gas emissions which drive climate change and its impacts are not yet falling—a fact which the Marrakech meeting must have at the front of its concerns and collective resolve.
The World Meteorological Organization has now confirmed that the average global concentration in the atmosphere of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, reached the symbolic and significant milestone of 400 parts per million for the first time in 2015 and broke new records in 2016.
This means that the world is not nearly on track to meet the Paris agreement's primary goal to limit global warming well below 2 C and as close to 1.5 C as possible to prevent dangerous climate tipping points, beyond which we may lose the ability to control the outcome.
[email protected] Chief Ban Ki-moon calls for action as #ParisAgreement enters into force on November 4, 2016. https://t.co/zOnZ9ZZbYp— UN Climate Action (@UN Climate Action)1478190368.0
Paris delivered a gift of hope for every man, woman and child on the planet. Yet today's celebration can also rest on the assurance that the policies, technology and finance to achieve these goals not only exist, but are being deployed as never before.
The Paris agreement swept into force on an unprecedented wave of action and pledges to build a global renewable energy industry, clean up existing power, production, construction and agricultural sectors and re-engineer economies and societies to be more resilient to the climate impacts already in the system.
Our collective ability to enact rapid change has changed for good because of the Paris agreement and particularly for the following reasons:
- In Paris, governments formally accepted to lead climate action and presented a global set of national plans for immediate action, pledging never to lower efforts and to raise their ambition over time. They are now accountable and have the means to drive change even faster through more, stronger, climate-friendly policies and incentives.
- Within a few short years—ideally no later than 2018—governments and parties will have completed the details of a rulebook which will measure, account for and review global climate action. This will ensure transparency on all sides needed to accelerate climate action by making sure that everyone is involved in the effort and is delivering to the best of their abilities.
- Furthermore, governments agreed to strengthen adequate technology and financial support to developing nations so they can build their own sustainable, clean energy futures.
- Finally and importantly, non-party stakeholders are showing increased interest and commitment to lowering the carbon emissions and supporting governments and parties in their fight against the dire effects of climate change.
We expect the Marrakech COP 22 conference to accelerate work on the rulebook and to see emerge a definable pathway for developed countries to materialize the flow of USD $100 billion per year by 2020 in support of climate action by developing ones.
Very large-scale reallocations of investment are necessary. UN estimates show that achieving sustainable development will require USD $5-7 trillion a year, a large slice of which must fund the transition to a low-carbon, resilient world economy. To fulfill these investment needs, we will need to look at creative funding options, beyond the traditional ones and in which both public and private sector flows are aligned and scaled-up.
Congratulations Earth! The #ParisAgreement enters into force today. Time for serious climate action!… https://t.co/rBRjolF7lU— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace)1478233996.0
This, too, is happening but needs to speed up. UN data show global financial flows over the past few years ratcheting up to the point where one trillion dollars a year should be achievable in the near future. This means governments, the multilateral and the private sector raising and allocating tens of billions of dollars at a time towards climate investments.
The foundations of the Paris agreement are solid and other key features of humanity's new home are starting to rise. Yet, we cannot and we must not rest until the roof is in place. This November in Marrakesh we will make sure it will be in place, sooner rather than later.
Patricia Espinosa is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary. Salaheddine Mezouar, is the president of COP22 and minister of foreign affairs and cooperation of the Kingdom of Morocco.
Installing solar panels is a great option for homeowners who want to reduce their power bills, and the payback period can be just a handful of years with favorable conditions. However, renters and apartment owners cannot use a typical solar power system due to the lack of space, and renters in particular must also negotiate with their landlords. A miniature solar system that is portable and easy to install can be a better option in these cases.
Rooftop solar systems can greatly reduce your electric bills, and you can add solar batteries to store solar energy for use at night. However, because most systems are tied to the power local grid, you must meet many technical requirements and get a permit to put solar on your property. The initial investment and paperwork are not a problem when installing solar panels in a home you own, but they're a limiting factor for renters.
If you don't own your home or apartment, you may have little incentive to invest in improving someone else's property. Even if your landlord gives you permission to install solar panels, the decision only makes sense financially if you plan to rent for a very long time — longer than the solar payback period. Also, consider the following factors:
- When your lease ends, your landlord may not be willing to purchase the solar panels you installed.
- Moving rooftop solar panels to another home is difficult, and you will need a professional installation and another permit for the new property.
There are many types of miniature solar systems that can be installed without the complex requirements and permitting procedures of more permanent structures. These systems are an excellent option for renters, since taking them to another property is as simple as relocating your TV.
Solar Benefits for Non-Homeowners
Solar panel systems offer a common benefit, regardless of their size: they generate electricity from sunlight, reducing the amount of electricity you must pay your utility company for each month. Solar power also lowers the environmental footprint of your home, especially if you live in a region where most of the grid electricity comes from fossil fuels.
Homeowners get a few extra benefits when they install a traditional solar system, including:
- Their property becomes more valuable, and many states don't charge increased property taxes for the portion of home value that corresponds to solar panels.
- Homeowners also qualify for the 26% federal solar tax credit as well as any additional incentives from state governments or utility companies.
- There are permitting and grid connection requirements to meet, but once the solar PV system starts operating, it provides electricity for decades with minimal maintenance.
While mini solar panel systems may not be eligible for these perks, they have their benefits compared with rooftop systems. For example, they are much easier to install, with no permitting involved, and any maintenance is much simpler. Small-scale solar systems also have a lower price, and they are easily relocated.
The power bill savings achieved by a rooftop solar system are much higher, but that's because they're much larger. Many homeowners use solar PV systems that have capacities at or above 6 kW (6,000 W), while miniature systems often only generate up to 100 W. As you might expect, the corresponding cost of solar panels is very different: A 6 kW solar system can cost around $18,000 (before incentives) to install, while a miniature 100 W system might cost less than $300. However, each dollar invested is earned back multiple times over in both cases.
How to Utilize Solar Energy When You Rent
There are several options for renters who want to use solar power. These include:
- Plug-in mini solar systems
- Off-grid solar and battery systems
- Portable solar panels
- DIY solar setups
- Appliance-specific solar panels
Plug-in mini solar systems work exactly like rooftop PV systems — they connect to your residence's wiring and synchronize with the voltage and frequency of your grid power — just at a smaller scale. The power generated by a plug-in mini system is usually enough to power several electronic devices and LED bulbs, but not high-power devices like air conditioners and washing machines.
Here are some things to consider when deciding whether a solar plug-in mini system is right for your rental property:
- Plug-and-play solar panels are not subject to the permitting requirements and interconnection procedures of a traditional rooftop installation, and they can be simply connected to a suitable power outlet.
- NOTE: When using plug-in solar panels, you must make sure that the power outlet used has a circuit with enough capacity to carry the current, as well as an adequate breaker. Otherwise, you can cause an electrical fault.
- Because this type of panel connects to the electrical system of the property, you should ask your landlord for permission before investing in one. You should also ask an electrician to check the power outlet you plan on plugging the panels into to make sure it has adequate capacity.
Off-grid solar panels and solar battery systems are completely disconnected from the grid, which makes them a popular option for remote or rural sites with no electric service. In these types of systems, one or more solar panels are used to charge a battery or solar generator with USB charging sockets and power outlets for small appliances. These off-grid systems are also a viable option for renters, because they are entirely self-contained and don't connect to the utility grid.
Portable solar panels are popular for camping, but they can also be used by renters to power small devices. These are some of the smallest solar panels available, and they only have a few watts of capacity. Their main purpose is charging smartphones, tablets and other tiny USB devices, and many of them have built-in LED flashlights.
DIY solar panel setups are also an option. You can shop online for compatible solar panels, inverters, batteries and solar charge controllers, and then build a custom system according to your needs. However, keep in mind that you must have at least basic knowledge about electricity to safely and successfully install a homemade solar system.
Appliance-specific solar panels are also a viable option for renters. You can find many devices with built-in solar panels, which don't depend on a power outlet to operate. For example, you can install solar-powered outdoor lights for your backyard or balcony, or use a solar air conditioning unit or fan to provide extra ventilation during the hottest hours of the day.
Pros and Cons of Small Solar Units
Miniature solar systems have advantages and limitations like any device. They have a lower cost than traditional rooftop systems, plus they are easier to install and relocate. Just keep in mind that they can't power larger appliances, which means their power bill savings are small.
The following table summarizes the pros and cons of the most common types of miniature solar systems:
|Renter-Friendly Solar System||Pros||Cons||Typical Price|
|Plug-in solar system||
- Easy to install
- Can be plugged into a normal power outlet
- Can only operate when connected to the grid
- You need a dedicated circuit and breaker of adequate capacity
|$1,500 for a 600 W solar system|
|Off-grid solar system||
- Can charge batteries or generators to be used after sunset
- Fully independent from the grid
|- Batteries increase the system cost significantly if you want a high energy storage capacity||$400 for a 100 W solar panel with a 24,000 mAh battery|
- Easy to carry
- Can be used for camping and other trips
|- Limited use: Charging smartphones and other small devices||$100 or less for a foldable 30 W panel|
|DIY Solar||- You can create a custom system that meets your needs||- Basic electrical knowledge is needed to set up a safe system||Variable, depending on the components used.|
- Easy to install
- The solar panel is often included with the price of the device
|- You can only use the solar panel to power one appliance or device||Variable, depending on the appliance|
Miniature solar power systems are designed for small, low-power devices such as LED bulbs and electronic gadgets. If you're a renter and would like to increase your savings beyond what is possible with small solar kits, you can consider joining a community solar project near you.
- These projects normally have two membership options: purchasing a share or paying a monthly subscription.
- In both cases, you will be entitled to a portion of the kilowatt-hours produced by the system, and this portion will be subtracted from your bill.
Another advantage of community solar is that you can move freely to another apartment or home. Since the solar panels are not physically located where you live, you can usually re-assign the electricity savings to your new address.
Products to Help Renters Maximize Solar
There are many brands of miniature solar kits, but you should look for a reliable provider like Sunboxlabs. Since you're dealing with electricity, purchasing high-quality products is strongly advised to avoid accidents. Before purchasing any solar panel or a related component, make sure it has an electrical certification mark such as:
- UL (Underwriters Laboratories)
- ETL (Intertek)
- CSA (Canadian Standards Association)
- CE (Conformité Européenne)
You can look for a solar kit that includes all components, such as this WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Kit. Alternatively, you can buy compatible parts separately, and build your own system. The following are some recommendations:
|Solar System Component||Recommended Product|
|Solar Panel||Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel|
|Battery||Mighty Max 12V Battery|
|Solar charge controller||ALLPOWERS 20A Solar Charger Controller|
|Inverter||BESTEK 500W Power Inverter|
Keep in mind that you will also need wiring to connect all components together, and make sure you read all instructions carefully to ensure safety.