Last month, for the first time ever, the UK generated more energy from solar than coal

Solar Power
Alex Lang/Flickr
The United Kingdom just passed a huge milestone in its renewable energy program – in May, for the first-ever calendar month, the UK generated more solar power than coal power. The difference wasn’t slight either. In fact, about 1,336 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity came from solar compared to the 893GWh generated by coal, according to research by analysts at Carbon Brief. That means a renewable source created over 50 percent more of the country’s power than coal.

The May milestones was preceded by a month earlier when, on April 9, UK solar energy plants produced more energy in a single day than their coal-based counterparts.

Each of these milestones is facilitated by an increase in solar energy capacity in the UK, according to Carbon Brief, but a steady collapse in coal energy (which has been falling since 2012) has proven to be a more immediate factor. Last year, coal energy generation fell to it’s lowest point in 55 years. However, coal still managed to make up 10 percent of the country’s electricity supply throughout the year.

And the UK isn’t alone in it’s sustainable energy milestone.

Recently in Chile, solar energy production has been so efficient that the country’s infrastructure couldn’t keep up. Between January 1 and April 30, the South American country had 113 days in which it essentially gave away electricity for free. Matters were worse (or better) in Germany last month when clear skies and strong winds generated so much renewable energy that the price of power dipped into the negatives. That same month, Portugal ran on renewable energy for four days straight. Across the pond, Denmark generated 42 percent of its electricity in 2015 from wind turbines.

The UK isn’t there quite yet, and it’s millstones are mostly symbolic, according to Carbon Brief, but the country’s recent achievements are promising.

Smart Home

Amazon has a huge team dedicated to enhancing Alexa and Echo

An Amazon executive on Tuesday, November 13 revealed the huge size of the team that's tasked with developing the Echo, the company's smart speaker, and Alexa, the digital assistant that powers it.
Computing

The MacBook is smaller, the MacBook Air is faster, but which is better?

This year, Apple's MacBook Air got a powerful internal upgrade, but the redesign makes it slimmer and lighter. So should you get the MacBook Air over the MacBook? We'll compare both notebook's major features and help you decide.
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Emerging Tech

This fully autonomous $400 drone folds like a book, follows you like a paparrazzo

Having a drone that could follow you everywhere while taking high-quality images without crashing has been a flight of fantasy. With ZeroZero's Hover 2, not only can you have a fully autonomous 4K selfie drone, you can have it for $400.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.
Smart Home

This alarm clock uses targeted light and sound to wake you, but not your partner

The Wake v2 isn't like your typical bedside alarm. Instead, it wakes you by shining a soft light directly into your face, thereby not disturbing the person sharing a bed with you. Pretty smart, huh?
Emerging Tech

Believe it or not, this fire-proof exoskeleton isn’t designed for space marines

A company called Levitate Technologies has developed a fire-resistant upper body exoskeleton that’s capable of lowering exertion levels by up to 80 percent when you carry out manual work.
Emerging Tech

Intel’s new ‘neural network on a stick’ aims to unchain A.I. from the internet

To kick off its first developer conference in Beijing, Intel unveiled the second generation of its Neural Compute Stick -- a device that promises to democratize the development of computer vision A.I. applications.
Emerging Tech

Frogs regrow ‘paddle-like’ limbs when placed in a bioreactor

Frogs have partially regrown amputated limbs thanks to a bioreactor at Tufts University. By jump-starting tissue repair, the bioreactor helped the amphibians regenerate a bigger, more complete appendages than they usually do.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

China says it has developed a quantum radar that can see stealth aircraft

Chinese defense giant China Electronics Technology Group Corporation claims that it has developed a quantum radar that's able to detect even the stealthiest of stealth aircraft. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Glass orb packs all the constellations in the night sky into fancy desk ornament

Ever wanted to know more about the star constellations? A stunning new Kickstarter campaign, taking the form of a fancy desk ornament that re-creates the night sky in a glass orb, aims to help.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.