The solar energy industry has been a hot topic of late. Now that global warming is widely recognized to be a very serious environmental issue, many people believe that solar power will be a big part of the solution. Solar panel installations around the world have already been growing at a rapid pace and that trend is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. Governments around the world have instituted a variety of policies, including feed in tariffs, in order to support solar energy growth, and companies continue to invest billions of dollars in more efficient solar PV and thermal technologies. Solar electricity provides a number of benefits that other clean technologies simply cannot claim, and it is becoming increasingly likely that we will depend on solar energy for our future electricity needs.
According to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), soft costs accounted for 63.5% of total costs of residential solar installations, 56.7% for small commercial systems ( < 250kW) and 52% for large commercial systems ( ≥ 250kW) in 2012. The report, entitled, Benchmarking Non-Hardware (more…)
An Australia-based solar start-up company was recognized at the U.N. climate change talks in Warsaw for its work replacing highly polluting kerosene lamps with solar lighting in low-income regions of India. The company, Pollinate Energy, trains members of local communities to install household solar-powered lights in India’s slums, where families (more…)
In a victory of David vs Goliath proportions, policymakers in Arizona stood up for its citizens by rejecting an attempt from the state’s largest utility to squash rooftop solar. Five months after Arizona Public Service (APS) sought approval to slap hefty new fees on its customers that go solar, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) voted last week to (more…)
Despite strong sun and plenty of public support for the idea of energy self-reliance, the American southeast has not traditionally been a hot spot of solar adoption. That looks to be changing. With solar’s low cost now making it a real competitor with traditional fossil power, local citizens are increasingly calling on state leaders to put more of their homegrown sunshine to (more…)
One of the big questions about solar power is how to supply sun-driven electricity at times of peak demand. Demand spikes in the early morning, before the sun is high enough to hit solar panels, and in the early evening, when solar panels operate at only at half efficiency in the low light. Cost-effective storage has been a major issue to be solved. (more…)
Record growth in rooftop solar and other distributed clean energy resources has prompted a national conversation about the future of the electricity business. While utilities increasingly view customer investment in distributed solar as an existential ‘disruptive threat,’ much of that threat is actually a product of the regulatory structures under which (more…)