It was a good year for technology research and development, and nothing made the news more often than energy research efforts. Leading the way were efforts surrounding the use and development of solar energy.
But all was not good news; Matthew Oliver, an associate professor in the School of Economics at the Georgia Institute of Technology found evidence that residential solar power was saving consumers less energy than they were expecting. He found that after installing solar panels, consumers tend to start consuming more energy. Energy economists like Prof. Oliver refer to this as the "solar rebound effect," and while the reasons for it are still a matter of ongoing investigation, its implications for US solar policy are important. It means that utility-scale solar, which isn't prone to a solar rebound effect, might be a better investment in terms of reducing the overall carbon footprint of the electricity sector.