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CORDIS Express: Solar power!

This week’s edition of CORDIS Express takes a look at research projects exploring solar energy, as well the sun’s impacts on our atmosphere and on us!

The sun is the source of life on Earth. Our orbit around the sun dictates our daily and seasonal rhythm. Although the sun has been providing us with energy to survive since the beginning of time, we are now beginning to directly harness its energy to provide electricity on a large scale. Solar energy is growing in importance. In fact, electricity from solar power rose from just 0.3 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2002 to reach a level of 71.0 TWh in 2012, some 252 times as high as 10 years earlier. Over this 10-year period, the contribution of solar power to all electricity generated from renewable energy sources rose from 0.1 % to 10.5 %. Tide, wave and ocean power contributed just 0.07 % of the total electricity generated from renewable energy sources in the EU-28 in 2012. Under Horizon 2020, close to EUR 6 billion will be dedicated to energy efficiency and to secure, clean and low carbon technologies and to smart cities and communities. The EU insists that a particular emphasis should be on accelerating cost reductions and market uptake of low carbon technologies (including solar as a renewable energy source). However, the sun is more than a source of power, and there is much about its influence on earth that we have yet to fully understand. For example, the sun is the primary external driver of natural climate change. It’s also thought that solar storms may impact the Earth's magnetosphere or even ionosphere, thus threatening life on our planet as well as reliability of communication and navigation systems. This week’s edition of CORDIS Express takes a look at a range of research projects examining the sun as a source of energy, as well as the impact that it has on our atmosphere and earth-bound species (including us humans!). - Heat and electricity directly from the Sun - Measuring the impact of sun exposure - Understanding the variability of solar And Stellar Radiative fluxes - Predicting space weather events - Trending science: Europe eclipsed!

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