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The third quarter of 2013 saw the second-highest installed PV capacity in U.S. history, with 930 MW installed in Q3 2013, according to a new report.
The latest U.S. Solar Market Insight™ report, from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research, also predicts that in 2013 the U.S. will install more PV capacity than Germany (the world leader in solar) for the first time in over 15 years.
The 930 MW figure is a 20 percent jump on the last quarter, and 35 percent more than the same quarter in 2012.
The report also found that the home solar market had it’s biggest quarter ever, with 186 MW of installed capacity, though the utility segment still represents over 50 percent of new installed PV capacity.
All in all, the report forecasts a 27 percent year-on-year increase in annual PV installations, up to 4.3 GW in 2013. By year’s end, there will be over 400,000 installations in operation across the U.S., and potentially over 50 percent growth in residential solar installations year-on-year.
“Without a doubt, 2013 will go down as a record-shattering year for the U.S. solar industry,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “We’ve now joined Germany, China and Japan as worldwide leaders when it comes to the installation of new solar capacity.”
“When it comes to preparing for America’s future, clean, dependable and affordable solar energy has become the ‘Little Engine That Could,’ defying expectations and powering economic growth – and, frankly, we’re just scratching the surface of our industry’s enormous potential,” he continued.
However, the non-residential market has had a difficult year, thanks, in part, to challenges to net metering and other legislation in key states. But SEIA and GTM Research predict a rebound in 2014.
“Solar is the second-largest source of new electricity capacity in the U.S. this year, trailing only natural gas,” said Shayle Kann, vice president of research at GTM. “As solar continues its march toward ubiquity, the market will require continued innovation, efficiency improvement and regulatory clarity. But already the groundwork has been laid for a mainstream solar future.”
Other highlights include:
almost 31,000 individual home installations completed in Q3 2013, bringing the cumulative total in the U.S. to 360,000.
52 utility PV projects completed in Q3 2013, with a total capacity of 539 MW
- compared to Q2 2013, the national average system price fell 4.2%, from $3.13/W to $3.00/W, representing a 16.4% decline from $3.59/W in Q3 2012.
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SunEdison will build New York City’s largest solar power installation on the site of what was once the world’s largest landfill site.
Freshkills landfill covers 2,200 acres on Staten Island, and was closed in 2001. Since 2006, officials have worked to convert the landfill to a park.
And in a few years, about 47 acres of the park will house New York City’s largest solar energy installation. Construction on the project will begin in 2015, and the installation will be built by SunEdison.
“Freshkills was once the site of the largest landfill in the world. Soon it will be one of the City’s largest parks, and the site of the largest solar power installation ever developed within the five boroughs,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“[W]e will increase the amount of solar energy produced in New York City by 50 percent and it is only fitting that Freshkills, once a daily dumping ground, will become a showcase urban renewal and sustainability.”
The 10 MW installation, which will have between 30,000 and 35,000 solar panels, is an important part of reaching the city’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30-percent by 2030. Those 10 MW are enough to power around 2,000 homes.
“SunEdison applauds New York City’s innovative approach to environmental sustainability,” said Attila Toth, SunEdison’s General Manager.
“The solar systems we intend to build at Freshkills Park will be tangible proof of the Mayor’s commitment to renewable energy, and will serve as a model of public private partnerships by providing economic benefit to both the city and businesses located within the five boroughs,” he continued.
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The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has found that “soft costs” make up 64% of the cost of home solar.
Soft costs are those other than the cost of the solar panels themselves, like financing and installation.
The findings come from two NREL reports that look more closely at the costs associated with third-party financing – like solar power purchase agreements (PPEs) and leasing.
One of the reports, “Benchmarking Non-Hardware Balance-of-System (Soft) Costs for U.S. Photovoltaic Systems, Using a Bottom-up Approach and Installer Survey – Second Edition,” analyzed non-hardware business process and installation costs associated with PV solar systems.
Using data from 55 home solar installation companies (accounting for around 27 MW during the first half of 2012) and 22 commercial solar installation companies (66 MW over that time period), the researchers found that soft costs made up 64% of the total price for home solar systems.
That figure is up from 50% of the total price, the finding from the first edition of the study, released in 2012. And the results were similar for commercial solar installations, with soft costs representing 57% of the total cost for small (<250 kW) commercial systems (up from 44%) and 52% of the total costs for large (250 kW or larger) commercial systems (up from 41%).
According to NREL, for home solar systems “the greatest soft costs were supply chain costs ($0.61/watt), installation labor ($0.55/W), customer acquisition ($0.48/W), and indirect corporate costs ($0.47/W), such as maintaining office management and accounting functions.”
The second report “Financing, Overhead, and Profit: An In-depth Discussion of Costs Associated with Third-party Financing of Residential and Commercial Photovoltaic Systems” analyzed costs associated with developing, financing, constructing and arranging the financing for third-party owned systems.
The report found that “third-party ownership added $0.78 per watt for residential systems and $0.67 per watt for commercial projects,” but also that solar leasing and PPEs could lower the long term levelized cost of energy and that companies offering third-party ownership options accounted for around 70% of the nation’s solar market share.
“The two new reports, along with previous reports, provide a comprehensive look at the full cost of installing solar, while delineating and quantifying the various contributors to that final cost,” said NREL analyst Barry Friedman.Report finds PV costs fell by 17 percent in 2010
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Spectrolab has set a new efficiency record for non-concentrated solar cells, with its III-V cells having a conversion efficiency of almost 39%.
The cells can convert 38.8% of incoming sunlight to electricity, beating the April 2013 record of 37.8% conversion efficiency. The new record has been verified by the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Spectrolab is a subsidiary of Boeing and used the company’s semiconductor bonding technology to develop this multi-junction solar cell. Spectrolab claims this new technology could be used to provide power for spacecraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.
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China’s National Energy Administration has forecast that the country’s connected solar power capacity will reach 10 GW by the end of the year.
That’s an increase of 200 percent from a year ago, as reported by state news agency Xinhua, with an additional 3.6 GW added in just the first ten months of 2013.
That means the country will reach it’s goal announced earlier this year and is on track to 35 GW of installed capacity by 2015. The focus on solar is part of China’s plan to reduce energy use per unit of GDP by 16 percent from 2011 levels.
According to Xinhua, “China has taken a number of measures, including increasing investment in clean energy to boost the share of non-fossil fuels in its power structure.”
And Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Charlie Cao told Bloomberg that “the proportion of renewables in the total power capacity will keep rising before 2030 on government support and declining costs.”China’s Energy Administration raises PV installation target
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A team of Caltech researchers have been developing a solar-powered toilet for years, and now have backing from global plumbing giant Kohler.
In August 2012, environmental science professor Michael Hoffmann and his colleagues won the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reinventing the Toilet Challenge, which aims to tackle the problem of sanitation for the 2.5 billion people around the world without access to sanitary toilets.
The Caltech team’s toilet can safely dispose of human waste for just five cents per user per day, without a septic system or an outside water source.
This toilet uses PV solar to power an electrochemical reactor, which breaks down water and human waste into fertilizer and hydrogen. The hydrogen can be stored as energy in fuel cells and the treated water can be reused to flush the toilet or for irrigation.
The team have used the Reinventing the Toilet Challenge grant money to keep developing the system, and now have support from one of the world’s leading plumbing and bathroom product companies. Kohler will provide the Caltech team with design expertise and plumbing products, as well as technical support when the system is trialled in India.
“I am thrilled to have the support of Kohler Co. as we move forward with the Gates Foundation to provide better sanitation options in the developing world,” says Michael Hoffmann, Caltech’s James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science.
“It is exciting and certainly an honor for us to work with the Caltech team, who are true pioneers of their time,” says Rob Zimmerman, Kohler Co. sustainability marketing manager.
“Kohler is known for pioneering innovative products and helping to advance technology, and through the Gates Foundation challenge, we get the opportunity to support others in their efforts to push traditional systems to a new level.”Australian team developing low-cost solar paint
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The cost of producing polysilicon and wafers, key components of solar PV panels, will drop to 20 cents per watt next year – a six percent decline.
And PV wafer production costs – including both polysilicon manufacture and wafer processing – have fallen over 16 percent per year for the past five years.
These are the key findings of the latest Polysilicon and Wafer Supply Chain Quarterly report from NPD Solarbuzz, which analysed data from the top seven polysilicon producers as well as top wafer manufacturers.
“Wafer costs are only a third of what they were five years ago, and even though the rapid pace of cost reduction is starting to decline, the severe oversupply and extremely low selling prices are forcing polysilicon and wafer makers to continue to find ways to lower costs to previously assumed impossible levels,” said Charles Annis, vice president at NPD Solarbuzz.
The research firm credits this decline in cost – for polysilicon producers – to factors like increased productivity, using less power at production facilities, implementing new technologies and even relocating their plants to areas with lower electricity prices.
“At the same time, wafer makers are also reducing costs by increasing the multicrystalline ingot size from Gen 4/5 to Gen 6/7, reducing slurry consumption and increasing recycling, adopting diamond wire sawing for monocrystalline applications, and benefiting from rising conversion efficiencies as crystallization quality continues to improve,” added Annis.
According to NPD Solarbuzz, these lower production costs, coupled with strong demand, should “create a substantially more optimistic opportunity for best-of-class polysilicon and wafer makers in 2014.”Solarbuzz: global PV market grew 40% in 2011
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SolarCity, one of the country’s largest solar installation and financing firms, is teaming up with BMW to help homeowners affordably power their BMW electric vehicles.
Owners of BMW i series electric vehicles will get ten percent off SolarCity’s home solar installations as part of BMW’s “360° Electric” package
SolarCity offers solar leasing, with flexible financing options that include no upfront installation costs and 20 years of locked-in solar energy rates.
“This partnership makes the more sustainable fuel option—emissions-free solar electricity—also the more affordable one,” said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive. “By making renewable energy far more accessible and affordable for its customers, BMW is helping to bring clean transportation into the mainstream.”
“Experience with our MINI E and ActiveE field trials has demonstrated that driving electric is a lifestyle, where customers gain a keen understanding of their driving habits beyond driving and are often inspired to find ways to live more sustainably,” said Rob Healey, BMW’s EV Infrastructure Manager.
“With help from SolarCity, BMW i customers will have the opportunity to maximize the commitment to sustainability,” he continued. “This reinforces the entire concept behind the BMW i3, which is engineered and produced by the most sustainable manufacturing process in the automotive industry.”
It’s not the first time BMW i has worked with a solar company – earlier this year, the company announced a partnership with SOLARWATT to develop solar-powered car ports for the vehicles.
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The U.S. solar PV project pipeline is now over 43 GW, indicating that the country will become the third largest solar market in the world, after China and Japan.
The capacity of projects in the pipeline – which includes projects in the “pre-planning” stage right through to those “being installed” – has grown by 7 percent over the past year. The additional 43 GW capacity is enough to power six million homes.
According to the latest report from NPD Solarbuzz, United States Deal Tracker, growth is coming primarily by projects up to 30 MW, compared to the previous trend of large projects (>100 MW) dominating growth.
“The increase in new solar PV projects being planned or under construction is driving double-digit annual growth forecasts for PV adoption within the United States,” said Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.
“Large-scale PV projects exceeding 20 megawatts continue to dominate the pipeline, in terms of installed capacity, stimulated by state-based renewable portfolio mandates. Projects of all sizes have become increasingly viable, due to declines in solar PV system pricing in the past year,” he continued.
According to the report, more projects are closer to completion as developers look to take advantage of the US Investment Tax Credit of 30 percent.
“With just three years remaining until the full tax credit incentive rate declines, solar PV project developers in the United States are now planning to complete projects, or have a significant portion under construction, prior to the 2017 deadline,” said Christine Beadle, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.
“This deadline is causing a shift in focus to smaller projects that can be completed on shorter timescales,” she continued. Over the past 12 months, the number of <30 MW projects in the pipeline has grown by 33 percent.North American PV installations reach quarterly high in Q4 2011
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A solar-powered LED light manufacturer is helping alleviate poverty in Pakistan by donating LED lights to villagers, reducing reliance on toxic kerosene lamps.
The program is called Pehli Kiran, which means ‘First Ray of Light,’ and is run by LEDtronics.
Pehli Kiran is part of LEDtronics’ Global Citizenship initiative, which aims to help “impoverished families worldwide with opportunities for better health, safety, education, and more via donations processed through the American Fund for Human Development.”
“We are taking our thirty-plus years of experience and expertise in the LED industry and using it to help those in need around the world,” said Pervaiz Lodhie, Global Citizenship Co-founder.
“Through our nation-building initiatives, we provide the underprivileged with hope and opportunity for better lives. Doing so not only leads to socio-economic development in their area, but also to a stronger, closer and better world for all,” he continued.
The Pehli Kiran program is simple – the company donates solar-powered LED lights to villagers, worth about $2.33 each.
These lights reduce the need for kerosene lamps, which require costly and toxic kerosene. The LED lights allow for more hours of light for parents to work, increasing household income, and provides light for children to improve their education.
And so far, almost 1500 families have benefited from the program, saving about $10,000 by moving away from kerosene lamps. LEDtronics also estimates, in aggregate, these families have increased annual income by over $450,000, with a total expected increase of over $2.2 million based on a five-year life expectancy of the LEDs.
“Pehli Kiran gives poverty-stricken families freedom from darkness, illiteracy, poverty, hunger, and disease,” said Lodhie.
“But this is just the beginning. With the launch of our Global Citizenship website and social media venues, we hope more people will learn about these charitable programs, make donations and help impoverished families worldwide lead better lives,” he said.PV Charger Powers Smartphones & Provides Light to Those in Need
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The 2013 Freeing the Grid report card has found California, Massachusetts, Oregon and Utah to be the states where it is easiest for homeowners to go solar.
The report ranks all 50 states on net metering, which allows solar users to sell excess electricity back to the local grid, and interconnection, the ease with which homeowners can go solar and “plug in” to the grid.
Vote Solar and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), who compiled the report, argue that these two factors are critical to “make sure energy customers get fair and consistent treatment from their utilities when they want to generate their own power,” especially now that solar is more affordable than ever.
“Effective energy policy and a hefty dose of ingenuity have achieved something remarkable: renewable resources are now at the scale and cost necessary to allow them to be a real and growing part of our energy landscape,” said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar.
“Families, schools and businesses are going solar in record numbers nationwide, even as incentives decrease. Now that we’ve built this new energy economy, it’s critical that we keep the way clear for Americans to keep going solar with strong net metering and interconnection policies,” he continued.
In terms of net metering, two states improved their grades from last year – Minnesota and the District of Columbia – and no state saw a decline in grade, with over two-thirds of U.S. states having a good ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade in this important category.
“This is an exciting transition as renewables edge closer to mainstream status. However, policy design on the frontiers of our fast-changing clean energy marketplace can be a challenge to get right,” said Jane Weissman, president and CEO of IREC, a point quite relevant to the interconnection grades of states, where only half of the states received A or B grades.
And four states achieved A grades in both categories: California, Massachusetts, Oregon and Utah, signifying that they “lead the nation in allowing customer participation in the renewable energy market.”Massachusetts tops solar states list
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According to the latest NPD Solarbuzz Quarterly report, global solar demand reached a Q3 record of 9 GW in the third quarter of 2013.
That’s up 6 percent from Q2 2013, and almost 20 percent higher year-on-year, and when combined, demand from Q2 and Q3 exceeded 17 GW.
“The record levels of mid-year demand in 2013 have been critical to the overall recovery of the solar PV sector,” said Michael Barker, a senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.
“Restored confidence in end-market growth is allowing leading solar PV manufacturers to pursue aggressive shipment strategies within both established and emerging territories, despite previous concerns that trade wars could dampen growth,” he said, referring to the tariffs and countervailing duties that have been imposed across the U.S., Europe and China.
The report also noted that the price of PV is moderating after a solid decline over the past few years. Module prices fell 12 percent between Q2 and Q3 2012, compared to just a one percent decline over the same period in 2013.
Global solar PV revenue is forecast to be around $65 – $75 billion for 2013, compared to $68 billion in 2012, and $92 billion in 2011. In 2011, PV system prices were up to 50 percent higher than in 2013; the bounce back in revenue expected this year is testament to strong demand.
The research firm predicts that next year, global PV demand will reach around 45-55 GW, with over half coming from the Asia Pacific region, and ten percent from emerging regions.
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NRG Solar has launched a new freestanding solar canopy, which not only provides shade and shelter, but also generates electricity.
The canopy can be customized to suit a variety of uses, with four models that vary in height from eight to ten feet, with output of 2.4 to 7.2kW. The solar canopy can be grid-tied or off-grid, and because it is a freestanding, modular structure, the canopy has a faster installation time.
Plus, according to the manufacturer, it can withstand winds of up to 150mph, and can provide off-grid power during outages.
“In the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, NRG began to take a more urgent look at providing a solution that could meet basic power needs in the event of a grid emergency,” said Tom Doyle, president and CEO of NRG Solar.
“We believe in bringing renewable energy solutions—like the NRG Solar Canopy—to customers in new and innovative ways that extend beyond the rooftop so customers are not limited in their approach to energy independence,” he continued.
The solar canopy can, if connected to the grid, offset some of a household’s energy use, or be used to charge equipment like cell phones and lights. NRG Solar is touting the canopy as a backup power source, or as an alternative to rooftop solar (for example, if a roof is shaded). The optional battery packs can also store power to last for days.
These specifications mean that the canopy can be used not just for homes but also for other structures that may require power during outages – for example, hospitals and universities.
For now, the canopies are being trialled at NRG offices and at select Starwood Hotels, “customized to match the look and feel of each resort, and purposed in diverse ways including luxury pool cabanas, a golf starter shack, shaded recreation areas, and covered food and beverage areas,” according to a statement from NRG.
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A new study from the Center for American Progress has busted the myth that solar is for the rich, finding that the middle class is the biggest adopter of the technology.
The study, Solar Power to the People: The Rise of Rooftop Solar Among the Middle Class, looked at utility data from the three biggest markets for solar in the U.S. – California, New Jersey and Arizona.
And the findings are surprising: over 60% of solar installations are happening in zip codes with median incomes of $40,000 to $90,000 per year.
The report also found that areas with median incomes of $40,000 to $90,000 are also seeing the most growth in adoption of home solar.
The findings are important in the current debates about net metering, Center for American Progress Research Associate Mari Hernandez writes. Utilities across the country are attempting to limit implementation of the scheme which allows solar users to sell back any excess electricity generated by their PV panels back to the grid.
Because of utilities’ size and pricing models, net metering can make purchasing electricity from the grid more expensive – providing an incentive to go solar while also taking customers away from utilities.
According to Hernandez, utilities have based their stand against net metering on the argument that the program forces lower income earners to subsidize the rich: only wealthy people can afford to install home solar panels, but net metering makes grid electricity more expensive for those who can’t afford to go solar.
“Middle-class homeowners are leading the rooftop solar revolution,” writes Hernandez. “This finding will have far-reaching implications as utilities across the country consider revising their solar programs and rate structures, which benefit lower- and middle-class people—who are increasingly installing solar—and not just wealthier people.”
“Regulators and policymakers should consider how net metering and other solar policies support the growth of rooftop solar among middle-class homeowners and how they can continue to expand the use of a clean, renewable energy resource,” she concludes.Solar firms launch new lobby group to protect net metering
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According to the 2013 Solar Means Business report, Walmart is the leader among American companies going solar, with 89 MW of installed capacity at 215 locations.
The report was compiled by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Vote Solar Initiative (Vote Solar), and reveals the top 25 corporate users of solar in the country, which are: Walmart, Costco, Kohl’s, Apple, IKEA, Macy’s, Johnson & Johnson, McGraw Hill, Staples, Campbell’s Soup, U.S. Foods, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kaiser Permanente, Volkswagen, Walgreens, Target, Safeway, FedEx, Intel, L’OREAL, General Motors, Toys “R” Us, White Rose Foods, Toyota, and Dow Jones & Company.
Together, these 25 corporations alone have 445 MW of installed solar capacity, 48 percent more than in 2012, across 30 states and Puerto Rico.
According to SEIA and Vote Solar, these 25 companies have around 1000 solar installations all up, and 117 million people – or a third of the country’s population – live within 20 miles of one of these solar installations!
“The list of companies moving to clean, affordable solar energy reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the most successful corporations in America,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch.
“These iconic brands are leading the way when it comes to efforts to reduce our nation’s dangerous dependence on foreign energy sources. They’re also helping to create thousands of American jobs, boost the U.S. economy and improve our environment,” he continued. “At the same time, they’re reducing operating expenses, which benefits both their customers and shareholders.”
“For years, the promise of solar was always ‘just around the corner.’ Well, solar has turned the corner, and found itself on Main Street, USA. These companies – titans of American business – may have vastly different products, business models, and geographic locations, but they all have something in common: they know a good deal when they see one, and they are going solar in a big way,” said Adam Browning, Executive Director of Vote Solar.
Many of these companies have plans to use 100 percent renewable energy, or to be carbon neutral, in the coming years, and solar is playing a key role.
“As we work toward our ambitious goal to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy, solar energy continues to be an important part of our renewable energy portfolio,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, vice president for energy, Walmart. “With our size and scale, Walmart is in a unique position to encourage innovation and accelerate the adoption of cost-effective, clean energy alternatives, including solar power.”
“Solar energy has played a significant role supporting our corporate goal of promoting the use of 125 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020,” said Rob Threlkeld, General Motors manager of renewable energy.
You can see the solar installations from the top corporate users on this interactive map.Walmart announces new PV installations in Hawaii and Ohio
Over the past week, Walmart installed solar PV modules at stores in Hawaii and Ohio, moving closer toward its goal ...Walmart to install 100th solar power project
Yesterday, Walmart announced another six solar panel projects for stores in Colorado, bringing the total number of solar installations at ...8 more Walmart stores go solar in Massachusetts
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Dutch company Kaal Masten has developed the world’s first fully solar-powered street lights.
The stand-alone lighting column, called the Spirit, does not require connection to mains power and took three years to develop.
The column is modular and can stand up to 60 feet tall, making the Spirit excellent for areas that require lighting but may not have an electricity connection, like rural roads, car parks or motorways.
The Spirit uses only solar PV and LED technology, so it consumes zero electricity, and all components are fully recyclable.
“This is the future of public lighting. Firstly because of the stand-alone nature of the column; governments and other managers of open spaces are no longer dependent on the mains network in order to realise top quality lighting, and therefore safety,” said Jos van den Hurk, director of Kaal Masten.
“In addition, sustainability plays a significant role; the CO2 footprint for public lighting will be substantially reduced as a result.”
The creators of the Spirit say it will work in all types of weather, including snow, thanks to a lithium battery in the base of the pole.
The first Spirits will be installed at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.South Africa Unveils Its First Solar Plant
South Africa delivered on its promise of going green as the mayor of Ekurhuleni City unveiled its PV power plant—the ...PV Charger Powers Smartphones & Provides Light to Those in Need
A portable compact solar charger - capable of charging virtually any type of smartphone or tablet - has been developed ...Walgreens to build the country’s first net zero energy store
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This summer, telecommunications company AT&T will install 25 solar-powered outdoor cell phone charging stations across New York City. The initiative, ...
IKEA will soon sell solar panels across all 17 of its UK stores, in a move that shows the Swedish flat-pack furniture giant’s support for environmental sustainability.
IKEA plans to offer the standard black 3.36 kilowatt system in store as well as a consultation and installation service, with panels made by Chinese solar manufacturer, Hanergy Holding Group Ltd. The system is predicted to cover its costs in just seven years.
“We want to make a greener, more sustainable way of life attractive and easy for as many people as possible, so in addition to our collaboration with Hanergy, we’re dedicated to expanding our range of sustainable products that help customers save energy, water and sort waste fourfold by 2020,” said Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability IKEA UK and Ireland.
For $9,200, customers will also receive ongoing energy and monitoring services. The UK’s financial incentives as well as average electricity prices makes the UK is a great market to trial the uptake of solar en masse, and will serve as a testing ground before IKEA expands its solar offering elsewhere.
According to IKEA, most customers would go solar to reduce their energy bills, but find the upfront cost too high. For this reason, IKEA & Hanergy will also offer flexible financing options.
“We know that our customers want to live more sustainably and we hope working with Hanergy to make solar panels affordable and easily available helps them do just that,” added Yarrow.IKEA brings solar panels to almost 85% of U.S. stores
On January 12, IKEA announced plans to install PV panels on another 5 stores. The PV installations, planned for stores ...Over 85% of IKEA stores in the U.S. have solar panels
This week, another solar installation went live at an IKEA store, this time in Stoughton, Massachusetts. The 590 kW system ...IKEA adds 2.5MW solar capacity
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The largest solar thermal plant in the world has connected to the grid for the first time.
The first of three units of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System achieved the “first sync” which the project owners – NRG Energy, Google, and BrightSource Energy – called a major milestone that proves the viability of the technology.
The $2.2 billion concentrating solar power project is located in California and will power over 140,000 homes using large mirror-like heliostats that track the sun and create electricity using a steam generator.
Local utility PG&E has a power purchasing agreement for the electricity from units 1 and 3, whereas the power from unit 2 will be solar to Southern California Edison. Testing for units 2 and 3 will occur in the coming months.
“Given the magnitude and complexity of Ivanpah, it was very important that we successfully complete this milestone showing all systems were on track,” said Tom Doyle, President of NRG Solar.
“Ivanpah is the showcase project for BrightSource’s power tower technology and technical expertise. Validation at this scale demonstrates the viability of our technology as BrightSource increases focus on international markets and applications for concentrating solar power,” said David Ramm, Executive Chairman of BrightSource Energy.
“At Google we invest in renewable energy projects that have the potential to transform the energy landscape. Ivanpah is one of those projects,” said Rick Needham, Director of Energy and Sustainability at Google.
Once the 377 MW power plant is fully operational, it will almost double the amount of commercial solar thermal energy capacity in the United States.World’s largest solar thermal plant passes first test
The world’s largest solar thermal power plant recently reached an important milestone, representing the start of the final stage of ...World’s largest solar thermal plant 92% complete
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Spanish firm Abengoa will partner with BrightSource Energy to build the world’s two largest solar power towers in Riverside County, ...
The U.S. solar industry lobby group has proposed a resolution to the trade dispute between China and the U.S.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has put forward what it calls an “industry compromise” to resolve outstanding issues while encouraging the spread of solar and benefiting end users.
“This proposed settlement is a win all the way around,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “It would actually lower costs to Chinese manufacturers for the export of solar cells and modules to the United States, and it would improve U.S. manufacturers’ ability to compete fairly on an even playing field.”
“It would also eliminate current and future litigation risks and costs for both Chinese and American companies,” he continued. “But just as importantly, SEIA’s proposed settlement would benefit American consumers, as well as all consumers of solar energy, by holding down costs.”
Since the trade dispute began, with some U.S. manufacturers alleging that Chinese solar panel producers export PV panels at below cost price, the SEIA has argued against major penalties against Chinese firms because of the potential for increasing the cost of solar panels for American consumers.
This proposal aligns with their past arguments, and opposes any kind of settlement that would increase solar prices.
“While we are encouraged that negotiations to resolve the solar trade dispute are continuing in earnest, the discussions appear to be focused right now on a minimum price and/or quotas,” said John Smirnow, SEIA Vice President of Trade and Competitiveness.
“This is a misguided approach. Any settlement which includes these components would represent a significant step backwards for the U.S. solar industry and the solar industry globally.”
The linchpins of the proposal are:
establishing a Solar Development Institute funded by Chinese manufacturers, which would focus on expanding the U.S. solar market and growing the U.S. solar manufacturing base. The Institute would be a “vehicle for fostering long-term collaboration between the U.S. and Chinese solar industries.”
the end of China’s antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on U.S. polysilicon exports to China
phasing out the U.S. antidumping and countervailing duties
a safeguard mechanism designed to offset any surge of Chinese solar modules into the U.S. market.
Last Friday, China filed a trade complaint with the WTO challenging US countervailing duties against 22 Chinese export products including ...EU, U.S. & China move to resolve solar trade dispute
The EU, U.S. and China have announced a collaborative effort to resolve the ongoing trade dispute over low-priced Chinese solar ...US to impose import duties on Chinese solar cells
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On July 19, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced an investigation into solar products entering the country from South Korea and ...
Internet giant Google has thrown its support behind Solar Impulse, the world record-breaking solar plane.
Google is the official “Internet Technology Partner” of the plane co-founded by Swiss adventurers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.
This year, the duo completed a flight (with pit stops) across the U.S. on the 100% solar powered plane. Their next goal is to fly around the world only using solar power in 2015, and will use Google platforms to share their progress with supporters.
According to Dr. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the partnership is “a unique occasion to promote mutually shared values like pioneering spirit, innovation, engineering excellence and clean technologies allowing to protect natural resources.”
“With Google on board, our reach with the public, younger generations, media and political and business decision makers will be significantly enhanced,” they continued.Duo completes world’s first intercontinental flight on a solar plane
Landing in Rabat, Morocco on June 5, two Swiss adventurers completed the world's first intercontinental solar-powered flight. Pilots Bertrand Piccard ...Solar Impulse sets record for longest solar flight
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Solar Impulse, the photovoltaic solar powered plane from Swiss duo Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, will today depart from San ...Solar plane to fly across the U.S.
The creators of the Solar Impulse, a plane that runs completely on solar power, have announced a cross-country tour called ...