Tag Archives: electricity


Solar + Batteries: are we all going off-grid?

Solar + Batteries: are we all going off-grid?

For over a hundred years, power plants have been built in a very specific way: large, centralized facilities usually located far from where actual energy consumption takes place. These plants typically have been owned by big corporations (mostly utility companies) on which consumers rely to get electricity. More important, these centralized plants have made the


Will California’s SB 43 Bring Solar for All?

When it comes to solar power, how do we ensure participation and access? Sachu Constantine of the California Center for Sustainable Energy posed this question at a recent Agrion event on the California Shared Renewable Energy Program. Large portions of consumers don’t have access to solar and other renewables. Whether they rent, have a shaded roof,


China Raises Solar Target (AGAIN)

Everything China does it outsized, including the 12 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity it added last year, bringing the cumulative total to 20 GW. Now, the government is raising the target once again, this time to 70 GW of solar by 2017, which would more than triple capacity in just three years. “The new solar target set for 2017 will be easily attained


IKEA Goes Big on Solar

In an unprecedented move for a furniture retailer of the likes of Ikea, the company is now actively entering the solar market and stands to make a huge impact in the spread of solar energy in the UK. As the world’s largest furniture retailer, Ikea has store locations worldwide with a massive surface area to work with, a


Google + SunEdison = Residential Solar Installations

This morning (April 23) SunPower and Google announced that they partnered on a new, $250 million fund to finance rooftop solar arrays on homes across the U.S. While the tech giant has created funds to support home solar installations in the past, the fund with SunPower is primarily funded by the solar company and not the search


Panasonic Achieves 25.6% Solar Cell Efficiency

Panasonic Corporation announced that it has achieved a conversion efficiency of 25.6% (cell area: 143.7 cm²) in its HIT (heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer) solar cells, a major increase over the previous world record for crystalline silicon-based solar cells. The previous record for the conversion efficiency of crystalline silicon-based solar cells of a practical size (100


In Focus: Energy Storage by Rail

A new way of storing energy could soon take off – energy-storage-by-rail, developed by Advanced Rail Energy Storage North America. The first project is set for Nevada which would help stabilize the regional power grid so it can handle more renewable energy.   It’s a low-tech approach to large-scale energy storage. When rates are low a train drives uphill and then, when


Solar on Every U.S School!

This morning the National Solar Schools Consortium launched at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Conference in Boston. The goal of the newly formed organization is to put solar on roof of every school from kindergarten to high school. That would be almost 140,000 schools if you look at how many schools the National Center for Education


Africa: Set for Solar Revolution

The future of renewable energy in Africa is looking brighter all the time. The African Renewable Energy Fund (AREF) has raised $100 million for the development of grid-connected renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa. Though many countries in sub-Saharan Africa remain drastically underdeveloped, which has caused the region to have the world’s lowest electricity access rate at 24 percent,


Solar: 100GW by 2018

In 2018 the annual deployment of photovoltaics is anticipated to grow to 100 gigawatts a year. That’s according to NPD Solarbuzz’ latest Marketbuzz report, which said that by then PV will be a $50 billion worldwide market. The report anticipates that the solar PV industry will grow to 3 percent of the world’s energy supply in 2018, assuming that


How Clouds Affect Solar Panel Arrays

How do clouds affect solar panels? Sandia researcher Matt Lave has been working to understand that drawback and determine just how much clouds affect solar power plant output. Typically, sunlight is measured using a single irradiance point sensor, which correlates nicely to a single photovoltaic (PV) panel. But that doesn’t translate to a large PV


Community Solar in the U.S

Presentations about solar energy have a definite rhythm. Initially, the audience is curious about renewable energy and midway through as they receive more information, the feeling turns to palpable excitement. But inevitably, by evening’s end, some of the excitement has dimmed. About 75% of people who want solar can’t get it, according to the National Renewable


Investors Flock to Commercial Solar Projects

Good news for commercial solar projects: According to a new report by Mercatus, an enterprise-level investment analysis and decision-making platform serving as the core “operating system” for solar energy investors, investor interest in commercial solar projects has more than doubled in the last 12 months.  The Mercatus Year-End Solar Investment Analysis is based on data from over 1,400


The Problem With Solar Permitting

Experience any roadblocks while trying to pull a permit for a photovoltaic (PV) system in your city?   Paying too much?  You’re not alone.  Getting your PV system a permit can be a daunting task for both customers and installers. According to report by Clean Power Finance, about 23% of PV installations cost more than expected.   More