A leading light in the U.S. solar market

Residential solar adoption is increasing at a rapid clip, catalyzed by a number of factors, including consumer demand for renewable energy, the falling price of solar panel installation and upkeep, and availability of federal tax credits. Already a $10 billion industry, the runway for growth is long: Only 2% of U.S. residents are currently deploying solar, and demand is rising.

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Upward trends during 2020 are illustrative of the industry’s resilience. According to energy research and consultancy, Wood McKenzie, in the second quarter of 2020, the U.S. solar market installed 3.5 GW of solar PV capacity — a 52% increase year over year, and the largest second quarter ever.


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“This year has been challenging for nearly every industry, but even with all the uncertainty renewable energy is gaining ground and homeowners are switching to solar,” says Tom Werner, CEO of SunPower, a leading solar technology and energy services provider. “It’s clear that consumers care about their impact on the climate, and they care about reducing the size of their electricity bills.”

SunPower expects 30-50% growth in its residential and new homes businesses in 2021.

Innovation in storage and supply

2020 has been a pressure year for traditional power infrastructure in the U.S. Heatwaves and wildfires in California triggered rolling blackouts and public safety shutoffs.

“The traditional electricity grid is in need of updating for improved resiliency,” says Werner. “So we are taking the power plant and putting it right in people’s homes.”

SunPower’s new SunVault™ storage system, combined with its SunPower Equinox® system, allows homeowners to capture energy directly from the sun and store it for use when they need it most. The storage system is contained in two sleekly designed boxes, typically installed in the garage.

SunVault is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to harnessing technology to improve the solar energy offering. SunPower’s intelligent software will soon touch everything from grid integration to electricity bill optimization, delivering a user-friendly customer experience from the day of activation. Controlling from where, when and how you use your energy will soon be as easy as online banking or scrolling a news feed.

“Our application gives homeowners control over the electricity stored,” Werner continues, “this allows you to offset costs at peak times and gives you the opportunity to store energy for use during an outage. In some cases when your solar system produces more energy than you need, you can sell your excess energy back to the grid, helping to take pressure off the grid during peak times.”

SunPower-Maxeon split

2020 has been one of SunPower’s most significant years since going public in 2005. In August, it spun off Maxeon Solar Technologies, the manufacturing and international sales arm of its business, creating two independent publicly-traded companies.

This strategic milestone means SunPower stays focused on developing its positions in the U.S. distributed generation, storage and energy services segments, while Maxeon will focuses on manufacturing high quality, high efficiency panels and sales and installation outside

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Great White May Be Leading Scientists to a Shark Nursery, As 15-foot Predator Located Off Bahamas

A 15-foot-long great white shark has been tracked to near the Bahamas and researchers believe the female could soon reveal the site of a great white shark nursery.

The shark, known as Unama’ki, is being tracked by research non-profit OCEARCH, who monitor hundreds of marine animals—ranging in size from whales to turtles—around the globe.

“When we first met Unama’ki, we knew she had the potential to lead us to a site where she might give birth. Today on the #OCEARCH Global #SharkTracker she’s in the Bahamas, roughly 50 miles northeast of Guana Cay on the edge of the Blake escarpment,” the non-profit said in a Tweet on Friday.

OCEARCH researchers first captured and tagged Unama’ki—who weighs around 2,000 pounds—in September, 2019 off the coast of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Since then, the shark has traveled more than 12,500 miles, having swum almost the entire length of the North American east coast, entering the Gulf of Mexico, heading out deep into the Atlantic Ocean and reaching as far north as Newfoundland before finally heading south towards the Bahamas, near where she was located on October 29.

Researchers said it was “curious” that Unama’ki was making a similar journey to that previously made by two other large, mature, female, white sharks, known as Luna and Lydia.

“Could she be pregnant, and moving into a calmer area?” OCEARCH asked on Twitter. “We’re hoping she exposes a new #greatwhiteshark nursery to us next spring or summer.”

Another shark, known as Mary Lee, was previously tracked making a long journey into the open ocean before returning to shore near Long Island, where a white shark nursery has been found, OCEARCH Founding Chairman and Expedition Leader Chris Fischer previously told Newsweek.

OCEARCH researchers locate sharks using SPOT (Smart Position and Temperature) tags, which are mounted on the top of the shark’s first dorsal fin. Scientists receive an alert, known as a “ping”, when a tracking satellite overhead detects the fin breaking the surface of the water.

In addition to SPOT tags, OCEARCH researchers also try and fit sharks with both an acoustic tag and a Pop-off Archival Satellite Tag (PSAT.)

Acoustic tags record a shark’s location by communicating with receivers stationed on the bottom of the ocean, while PSATs collect data on depth, temperature and light levels, automatically detaching from the animal at one point between six months and a year.

Collecting this type of data while also taking biological samples from the sharks they capture, provides OCEARCH researchers with valuable new insights to these powerful marine predators.

great white shark Unama'ki
The great white shark Unama’ki aboard the OCEARCH research vessel.

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Leading AI Education Technology Provider Carnegie Learning Announces Strategic Growth Investment From Madison Dearborn Partners

Majority Investment by Madison Dearborn Enhances Carnegie Learning’s Position as a Leading Provider of Artificial Intelligence and Formative Assessment to the Education Technology Market

Carnegie Learning, Inc. (“the Company”), a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) for education and formative assessment, announced today that it has received a strategic growth investment from funds affiliated with Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC (“MDP”), a leading private equity firm based in Chicago. Under the terms of the agreement, the funds affiliated with MDP (the “MDP Funds”) have acquired a majority stake in Carnegie Learning from CIP Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, which initially invested in Carnegie Learning in 2018. CIP will retain a significant ownership position in Carnegie Learning alongside certain members of the Company’s management team. CIP and Carnegie Learning’s management team, together with MDP, will seek to extend Carnegie Learning’s leadership position in K-12 personalized learning and coaching software, assessments, curriculum and professional learning solutions.

Consistent with this strategic plan, with the support of the MDP Funds, Carnegie Learning announced in September the acquisition of Scientific Learning Corporation (“Scientific Learning”) in its efforts to further strengthen its educational product platform. Scientific Learning is a leading evidence-based online reading and language software provider that offers Fast ForWord® software, which is a remote-ready language and cognitive enhancement program developed by neuroscientists that accelerates learning and reading. Carnegie Learning and Scientific Learning share a foundation in research-based approaches to solving the toughest challenges in education. More information about this acquisition announcement can be found here.

Barry Malkin, CEO of Carnegie Learning, said, “We are excited to partner with MDP as we work together to support students and educators in this dynamic, rapidly evolving learning environment. We expect to benefit from MDP’s extensive resource network in the education technology space and expertise supporting high-growth technology companies like ourselves. Our ability to provide sophisticated, flexible digital solutions, and help administrators and educators ensure the success of their students, is further enhanced by adding Scientific Learning and its powerful reading platform to our suite of solutions.”

Carnegie Learning leverages AI-driven and research-based adaptive learning capabilities to power software that complements its digital and printed instructional materials, which span math, English language arts and world languages. The Company’s blended offering of digital and print solutions is attractive to school districts across the country as they continue to recognize the value that flexible online learning provides. Carnegie Learning also recently launched MATHiaFlex, a brand new supplemental software experience that gives educators the flexibility to customize a student’s learning path on an individual basis, coaching and adapting to each of their unique needs.

Matthew Norton, a Managing Director at MDP and Head of the firm’s Business & Government Software and Services team, said, “We are delighted to support Carnegie Learning in continuing to develop technology solutions that significantly improve learning outcomes for students and provide them with the skills they need to succeed. We believe the Company is well positioned for long-term growth as it continues to meet

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Leading Scientists Urge Voters to Dump Trump

Science has long considered itself to be an apolitical enterprise. But in the midst of a global pandemic and with the 2020 election looming, some scientific institutions and elite journals have suddenly become willing to take a political stance against President Donald Trump and his allies.

On October 8, for instance, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) jumped into the fray for the first time in 208 years with an unprecedented political editorial calling for leadership change. Although it stopped short of endorsing Democratic candidate Joe Biden, the article labeled people running the current administration “dangerously incompetent” and added that “we should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans [from COVID-19] by allowing them to keep their jobs.” This week the journal Nature added similar sentiments in an editorial that did endorse Biden and called Trump’s record “shameful.” A month earlier 81 U.S. Nobel laureates signed an open letter that expressed their Biden support. “At no time in our nation’s history has there been a greater need for our leaders to appreciate the value of science in formulating public policy,” they wrote.

And the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine—a pair of notoriously cautious and conventional institutions—issued a statement in late September denouncing political interference in public health agencies, particularly the Trump administration’s efforts to rush the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine before tests for safety and effectiveness are completed. “Policymaking must be informed by the best available evidence without it being distorted, concealed, or otherwise deliberately miscommunicated,” they wrote. “We find ongoing reports and incidents of the politicization of science, particularly the overriding of evidence and advice from public health officials and derision of government scientists, to be alarming.”

Sociologists say the scientific establishment seems to be making a switch from a long-held condemnation of political interference in science to actually condemning a politician. “In some ways, this is the last stand,” says Dana Fisher, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, College Park. “They have to stand up, at this point, for science because science and its role in society is threatened right now.” Scientific leaders contend that Trump is uniquely unfit for the presidency and has harmed science to an unprecedented degree. But some social scientists worry that aligning the research enterprise with a political party could ultimately backfire, politicizing science beyond repair.

Speaking out against antiscience policies has long been the domain of advocacy groups such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and others. In 2017, for instance, several such organizations backed the March for Science in Washington, D.C., which was sparked by concerns about the incoming Trump administration’s seeming disregard for evidence-based policies that arose during the 2016 presidential campaign. Although journals and institutions such as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine largely stayed out of the debate, “all of the ingredients were there for a showdown at some point,” says political scientist Matthew Motta of Oklahoma State University.

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