Solar PV

floating-solar

Floating Solar Panel Project Due in 2016 from California Power Company

Sonoma County, Calif.’s new public electricity supplier is turning to the sun and water — the airspace over treated sewage ponds, specifically — to generate power for local homes and businesses. Under a deal signed Thursday with a San Francisco-based renewable energy developer, officials with Sonoma Clean Power, now the default electricity provider in Sonoma

Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente to inject solar power into its daily rounds

One of the largest not-for-profit healthcare providers in the U.S., Kaiser Permanente has announced it is to make a series of major wind and solar energy purchases as it seeks to lower its nationwide greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. In two separate announcements, the healthcare leader revealed plans to generate as much as half of

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

solar installation

By the Time You Read This, They’ve Slapped a Solar Panel on Your Roof

Solar is so cheap, the problem now is how to pay for it. Prices for panels are down more than 65 percent in five years, to less than 70¢ a watt. What’s next? One word, Ben: financing. Building a solar generating facility—either a massive one in a desert or a tiny one on the roof—involves serious up-front

floating-solar

Floating Solar Panel Project Due in 2016 from California Power Company

Sonoma County, Calif.’s new public electricity supplier is turning to the sun and water — the airspace over treated sewage ponds, specifically — to generate power for local homes and businesses. Under a deal signed Thursday with a San Francisco-based renewable energy developer, officials with Sonoma Clean Power, now the default electricity provider in Sonoma

Business

Why more conservatives are backing solar power

When it comes to renewable energy, Barry Goldwater Jr. is willing to admit that the Democrats did something the Republicans should have done a long time ago. Barry Goldwater Jr. speaks against a proposed tax to be levied against residential solar leasing companies, June 4, 2014, in Phoenix. “Conservative support for green energy has always been there, but the

re-volv crowdfunding

RE-volv Continues to Grow its Solar Seed Fund

Last month, we profiled RE-volv, an innovative solar funding platform that had just launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring solar to a worker-owned cooperative grocery store in outer San Francisco. RE-volv’s mission brings a twist on both solar financing and crowdfunding: As I wrote last month, the non-profit purpose is: To create a self-sustaining solar

lease-or-buy

When going solar, should you lease or buy?

As the cost of solar technology drops, more and more homeowners are considering buying or leasing rooftop solar panels. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy projects that 900,000 homes will feature solar installations by the year 2020. Properly sized, a solar photovoltaic system can reduce your energy costs by 50 percent or more, and

solar diversity

Grid Alternatives Grabs $5M to Build a More Diverse Solar Workforce

In an effort to bring more equality to the solar workforce, solar manufacturing giant SunEdison announced Friday that it is giving a $5 million contribution to Grid Alternatives, the largest nonprofit solar installer in the United States, and whose work includes providing job training to women, minorities and other underrepresented groups in the industry. Through this partnership, the U.S.-based

Why more conservatives are backing solar power

When it comes to renewable energy, Barry Goldwater Jr. is willing to admit that the Democrats did something the Republicans should have done a long time ago. Barry Goldwater Jr. speaks against a proposed tax to be levied against residential solar leasing companies, June 4, 2014, in Phoenix. “Conservative support for green energy has always been there, but the

community solar

How the Solar Industry is Coming Together to Expand Community Solar

Community solar farms (made up of PV panels purchased by offsite owners) have been saviors for renters and apartment dwellers without control of their own rooftops. But with less than a dozen U.S. states with enabling legislation on the books — and a smattering of utilities and third parties that have pushed through projects —

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

brian-korgel

Researchers use nanotechnology to increase solar power efficiency

Researchers at UT are working to improve the efficiency of solar panels, which could lead to lower energy costs in Texas, according to Brian Korgel, chemical engineering professor. Korgel spoke at the UT Energy Symposium on Thursday about increasing access to solar and nanotechnology in Texas. Korgel’s team is replacing silicon slabs in solar panels

Policy/Politics

net metering opposition

How regulators and legislators make it harder for you to use solar power

When homeowners or businesses install solar panels, state laws ensure utility companies pay for unused electricity that is routed back into the power grid – a practice known as net metering. Currently, 43 states and the District of Columbia have implemented net metering policies, some of which are more favorable than others, but all of

Climate Watch

inhofe snowball

Watch Inhofe Throw a Snowball on the Senate Floor to Disprove Global Warming

During rambling remarks Thursday afternoon, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, used a snowball as a prop on the Senate floor. The apparent purpose of this stunt: to show the recent spate of cold weather in the Northeast is a sign that human activity isn’t causing climate change.

Storage/Batteries

Tesla battery factory

Tesla charges ahead at the grid storage market

Now in the electric car maker’s most recent earnings call this week, Tesla showed just how far along the company has actually come towards selling batteries for the power grid market. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on the call that Tesla has already been “bidding on a lot of RFPs [request for proposals],” for utilities

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

solar decathalon

Raise the (Solar) Roof: Students Building Solar-Powered Home

Flip a light switch, turn on the TV or open the refrigerator — you probably don’t think twice about the electricity powering your home. A team of UT Austin students, on the other hand, has spent two years imagining how to power our homes and keep our day-to-day lives running on light from the sun.

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

Get more out of your solar power system by using water as a battery

When the sun shines at its brightest, many of Australia’s 1.3 million homes with rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar panelsgenerate more electricity than they use. When this happens, excess electricity is exported to the grid. In the old days (say, about 2009), most householders would be pretty happy with this, given that in Victoria, for example, it would

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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