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Reproduced from Barbose, et. al, 2019, "Tracking the Sun"; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new Energy Department report lays out how solar PV systems are getting bigger and better over time.

Why it matters: The Tracking the Sun report underscores how an important part of solar's growth and evolution isn't just the increasing number of systems, but also their design and scale.

What they did: The annual Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory analysis explores distributed systems — the stuff installed at homes and businesses, as opposed to centralized utility-scale projects.

Where it stands: One conclusion is that system sizes have been growing and getting more efficient. In the residential sector, the median system has nearly tripled this century to 6.4 kilowatts as of last year.

  • "Those trends partly reflect increasing module efficiencies, as many residential systems are space-constrained based on available roof area," they note.

In the commercial and industrial space, the median system went from 7 kilowatts in 2000 to 47 kilowatts in 2018.

  • Larger systems have become more common as "a broader set of non-residential customers become comfortable with the technology and as developers and investors seek out projects offering higher returns."

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U.S., Canada and U.K. accuse Russia of trying to steal coronavirus vaccine research

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin\TASS via Getty Images

Hackers associated with Russian intelligence services are trying to steal information from researchers involved in coronavirus vaccine development, according to a joint advisory by U.K., U.S. and Canadian authorities published Thursday.

The big picture: This isn't the first time a foreign adversary has been accused of attempting to steal COVID-19-related research. U.S. officials in May announced an uptick in Chinese-government affiliated hackers targeting medical research and other facilities in the United States for data on a potential cure or effective treatments to combat the virus.

M&A activity falls despite early coronavirus fears

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In April, several prominent Democrats proposed a moratorium on large mergers and acquisitions. Their argument was that the pandemic would embolden the strong to pounce on the weak, thus reducing competition.

Fast forward: The moratorium never materialized. Nor did the M&A feeding frenzy.

More than 32 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits

Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

More than 32 million Americans are receiving some form of unemployment benefits, according to data released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

Why it matters: Tens of millions of jobless Americans will soon have a smaller cash cushion — as coronavirus cases surge and certain parts of the country re-enter pandemic lockdowns — barring an extension of the more generous unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of the month.