Solar PV

pathways to grid evolution

The Shift Toward a Decentralized, Distributed Electric Grid Is Already Underway

The electricity sector is headed for a dramatic transformation at the edge of the grid, where utility meets customer. Like the evolution of markets such as telecommunications and computing, the phases of change will be varied and complex. Successful companies — be they utilities or third-party service providers — will recognize and adapt to market-specific

Leigh Seddon Howard Dean

In This State: Leigh Seddon’s 35 years in the solar power biz

Leigh Seddon, you could say, made hay while the sun shone. For 35 years he has been a solar enthusiast, visionary, entrepreneur and consultant – in short, one of Vermont’s chief proponents of harnessing sunshine to create electricity. He has seen solar grow in Vermont from the simple photovoltaic systems installed by off-grid back-to-the-land types

Fenix

Investors back startup that sells offgrid battery & solar panels

Batteries paired with solar panels aren’t just intriguing customers in the U.S., Europe and Japan looking to ditch their utilities. People are slowly adopting batteries and solar panels in offgrid markets, too, using their cell phones to make reoccurring micropayments and using solar energy to replace kerosene lanterns. This week startup Fenix International — which is based in

pathways to grid evolution

The Shift Toward a Decentralized, Distributed Electric Grid Is Already Underway

The electricity sector is headed for a dramatic transformation at the edge of the grid, where utility meets customer. Like the evolution of markets such as telecommunications and computing, the phases of change will be varied and complex. Successful companies — be they utilities or third-party service providers — will recognize and adapt to market-specific

Steven Chu future of energy

Will Falling Oil Prices Kill Wind and Solar Power?

SA Forum is an invited essay from experts on topical issues in science and technology. SA Editor’s Note: As leaders from business, politics and science convene this week at the World Economic Forum conference in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss pressing matters of the day, Scientific American is publishing a series of interviews with leading scientists, produced in conjunction

Business

parking lot solar

The best idea in a long time: Covering parking lots with solar panels

America is a nation of pavement. According to research conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, most cities’ surfaces are 35 to 50 percent composed of the stuff. And 40 percent of that pavement is parking lots. That has a large effect: Asphalt and concrete absorb the sun’s energy, retaining heat — and contributing to the “urban heat island

crowdfunding-energy

How Crowdfunding and Distributed Generation are Changing Everything

Last year, the Edison Electric Institute released a report titled, “Disruptive Challenges,” which identified current and future serious threats to the  electric utility system. The report identified a number of factors causing the major changes in the electricity industry: Recent technological and economic changes are expected to challenge and transform the electric utility industry. These

corporate funding for solar

Total Corporate Funding Increases 175 Percent to $26.5 Billion in the Solar Sector

Mercom Capital Group llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, released its report on funding and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity for the solar sector in 2014. Total corporate funding into the solar sector encompassing venture capital/private equity (VC), debt and public market financing increased 175 percent in 2014 with $26.5 billion, compared

520-solar-ebook

Looking for a Solar Job? Ecotech’s E-Book Surveys the Landscape

Despite projections that solar will continue to grow, even the most inspired students don’t want to jump in the field without knowing more about what the industry has to offer — and what it takes to make a successful installer, field technician, power utility technician or engineer. That information is the focus of a solar careers

parking lot solar

The best idea in a long time: Covering parking lots with solar panels

America is a nation of pavement. According to research conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, most cities’ surfaces are 35 to 50 percent composed of the stuff. And 40 percent of that pavement is parking lots. That has a large effect: Asphalt and concrete absorb the sun’s energy, retaining heat — and contributing to the “urban heat island

Mid Valley Solar Array

Colorado Utility Leads the Way for Community Solar

An electric cooperative on Colorado’s Western Slope was the first utility in the U.S. to give community-owned solar a chance in 2010. Four years and 2.6 megawatts (MW) later, it was a decision that helped revolutionize the way individuals and businesses go solar nationwide. A member-owned cooperative, Holy Cross Energy (HCE) provides electricity to more than 55,000

solar-house-panels

The Relationship Between SREC Prices and Solar Leasing

Several forums, including this one, covering residential solar developments have commented on the volatility of SREC markets in some states. But few have yet to note the potentially tremendous impact on solar leasing, and residential solar adoption in general, in those SREC states experiencing severe fluctuations in pricing. You may have read how the New

Research

Policy/Politics

cost of solar

Maine Legislature Considering Measures to Lower Solar Power Costs

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine could increase the use of solar power for electricity, heating and cooling homes under measures before the state Legislature this year. Among the proposals under consideration, allowing more cooperation between individuals to generate solar energy, and providing rebates to lower costs and improve affordability. Advocates for solar energy in Maine say

Climate Watch

fossil fuels

New study revisits old news: keep fossil fuels in the ground

If Nature publishes it, will people finally listen? That may be what researchers from the University of London are hoping, because the international science journal has published a new study telling us what we’re already supposed to know—that we need to leave most of our fossil fuels in the ground if we want to keep climate change under control. Bill McKibben’s told us

Storage/Batteries

car battery solar

Turning Lead Car Batteries into New Solar Panels

Solar photovoltaic technology is being revamped daily with new materials and techniques that make harvesting energy from the sun cheaper and more efficient than ever. A research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led by Angela M. Belcher and Paul T. Hammond, has recently developed solar cells made out of organolead halid perovskite that

Inverters

markt_pv_new_3-phase_microinverter

New 3-phase microinverter for large scale applications

Microinverter expert APS is now shipping its new 3-phase YC1000 inverter, which can handle 277/480 grid voltages and up to four PV modules per unit. Up to eleven units can then be linked in a single 15 A circuit. The maximum output of one YC1000 lies at 900 W and additionally it has integrated ground

Student Solar

520-SunPower-Solar-Planels

Sweetwater Schools Make Major Commitment to Solar Power

The Sweetwater Union High School District in Chula Vista announced installation of solar power systems at 21 schools that will offset 60 percent of normal electricity demand. San Jose-based SunPower Corp. installed solar shade structures in school parking lots, taking advantage of underutilized space and providing needed shade. One ground-mounted system was installed at Mar Vista Middle School in San Diego, and a rooftop system

Heating & Cooling

131008-solar-heating

In Focus: Solar Heating and Cooling

The greatest country on Earth, as it likes to bill itself, America is currently shut down, thanks to political intransigence and public ignorance. You’d think saving over $60 billion and creating thousands of jobs might wake it out of its gridlocked stupor. That’s what the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) says the United States could

Hot Water

promise-energy-hot-water-solar

Promise Energy: Solar Hot Water Rockstar

Promise Energy is a newcomer to southern California’s solar hot water market, but the company has wasted no time building a strong business. Promise, which is just a year old, has focused on solar hot water installations for multi-family affordable housing complexes in Los Angeles and San Diego, said spokesman Andy Mannle. “Solar hot water

Passive

passive-solar-home

Passive Solar in the Home

While solar power has become prevalent in the mainstream construction business in the past decade, passive solar design has been used around the world for thousands of years. Ceramic tiles and stones walls in the Mediterranean made it possible to keep homes cool even under the scorching heat of the summer sun. Likewise, small window

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