In this week's Newsletter: Looking at a battery-powered future, check out an underground railroad stop in Chelsea for Black History Month, sustainble investing and much more!
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The Future Will Be Battery Powered

One of the objections that we hear from time to time about the potential for renewable sources of energy to power our world is that they are intermittent- electricity generated by wind or sunshine needs to be used immediately, and neither the wind nor the sun can be counted on to deliver uninterrupted energy. While wind turbine design and solar panel efficiency have both improved tremendously over the past five years, the real holy grail of the renewable energy revolution is a better battery.

Despite the hype, even the Tesla solar battery is merely the same old lithium-ion battery in a sleek new package. And while researchers around the globe are in a space race-type competition to find the next battery technology, there are two main requirements that will need to be met in order to win the race.

The next generation batteries will have to be cheap, and they will have to be reliable, probably under a variety of conditions and over a significant period of time.And while we aren't quite at the finish line yet- in order to be competitive, utility-grade battery storage would gave to drop in price from about $700 per kwh to $100. 

Does that sound like a pipe dream? If so, please keep in mind that a decade ago, most people thought solar would never be competitve with coal. Today it is.

You can read more about the future of batteries and battery storage on Grist.org here.

Black History Month Walking Tour of Chelsea Includes Underground Railroad Stop

February is Black History Month, and while there is every reason in the world to celebrate black history every month, there are some special events going on now that emphasize the many contributions that African-Americans have made to New York City.

While most people may think of historically black neighborhoods like Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant to be the centers of black city life, Chelsea had a big part to play in the city's African-American history during the 19th century. To make more people aware of that history, local advocacy group Save Chelsea is giving guided tours of the neighborhood, inculding the Hopper-Gibbons House (pictured above) which was a stop on the Underground Railroad, the Church of St. Vincent de Paul (one of the founders was a freed Haitian slave) and other places that contributed to black culture in the late 1800s in NYC.

You can read more at DNAInfo.com here. To sign up for the tour, please register here no later than 4pm on Saturday February 25. The tour will be held on Sunday, February 26, from 12-2pm, and is pay-what-you-wish.

Investing in Sustainability

Investing for retirement is something everyone should probably make part of their financial planning, if they can. But investing can be tricky, and there are lots of index funds stuffed with stocks that might make an environmentalist feel a little queasy about investing, including fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Making money is very nice...but for some, not at the expense of our planet.

This article from the New York League of Conservation Voters has some great tips and tools you can use to make sure your investment portfolio is a green as it can possibly be. Good luck, and happy investing!
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Upcoming Events at Solar One

2/24
TOMORROW! Final Fridays Micro Film Series: Bag It the Movie: Is Your Life Too Plastic?
Solar 1, 24-20 FDR Drive Service Road East south of 23rd St at the East River, 6:30pm, $10 donation includes popcorn and 1 drink
Space is limited but a few seats are still available. RSVP to dina@solar1.org.

Other Events


2/25
Late Winter Thaw Bird Walk
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 175-10 Cross Bay Boulevard bet Sutter & Liberty Aves, Broad Channel, Queens, 10am-1pm, free

23rd Annual Bronx Parks Speak Up
Lehman College Faculty Dining Room, Music Building, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard bet Valentine & Briggs Aves, Bronx, 11am-5pm, free

2/26
How To Activate Your Inner Activist: A Conversation About Finding Your Voice
Hub Seventeen, 114 Fifth Avenue bet W. 16th & W. 17th Sts, Manhattan, 1:30-3pm, $15 suggested donation

2/27
NY4P: Boro x Boro – Bronx
Bronx Lebanon Hospital, 1650 Grand Concourse bet E. 173rd St & Mt. Eden Parkway, Bronx, 6-8:30pm, free

2/28
Harbor School Awards Dinner
New York Yacht Club, 37 West 44th Street bet 5th & 6th Aves, Manhattan, 6-10pm, $400+

3/2
HudSONAR Research Project and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
Sarah Lawrence College, Center for the Urban River at Beczak, 35 Alexander Street bet Ashburton & Wells Aves, Yonkers, 7-9pm, free
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