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…)
Solar’s high price tag once limited its use to those willing or required to pay more for cleaner power — but that’s quickly changing. A dramatic drop in panel prices means we are now in a new era of solar: one in which solar technology costs are no longer the major barrier to scale. (more…)
Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that it is not only necessary to do the right thing, but to do it in the right way also. Sustainability is all too often just a fluffy word that implies doing the right thing, it is important to make sure we are doing it the right way.
The growth of the solar industry may soon face the reality of not having enough skilled workers to satisfy demand, suggests a recent report by The Solar Foundation and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Despite a dragging economy overall, installed solar capacity has increased dramatically in the past few years. In (more…)
Kristen Ardani of the National Renewable Energy Labs studies soft costs in US PV markets, and she recently joined us for a webinar to present her findings, in advance of a full report (to come in a few weeks). A pdf of the presentation is here (pdf) or watch the full recording in all its glory. (more…)
Warning: This is not your standard data presentation. You won’t find any spreadsheets here.
What you will find is some of the coolest visual representations of solar data to date. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)’s OpenPV project is an incredible resource and visually astounding tool to boot.
And where does it source it’s information from? People like you. Help OpenPV gather critical data by adding your own info.
Check out some of these screenshots:
OpenPV is a free, open-sourced database of real American solar project info sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. It has data on over 160,000 solar systems across the country – where they are, how big they are, how much they cost, and more. It’s all illustrated in a snazzy Visualization Gallery with handy charts and graphs. From projects in your zip code to an overview of national market trends, OpenPV holds the answer to so many solar questions.
Do you have a solar system or access to data on solar systems in your area? Add your own info and help NREL build this free national solar information center.
Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.
Solar thermal energy technology has taken an important step further with a new collaboration between 3M’s Renewable Energy Division and Gossamer Space Frames. The companies yesterday unveiled a new parabolic trough solar collector technology designed to reduce costs and equipment for concentrated solar power systems. CSP is a solar system whereby (more…)
March 31st is Earth Hour, the day when between 8:30 and 9:30 pm people all over the world switch off the lights to make a symbolic gesture representing the need to be frugal with electricity and, we hasten to add, to switch to alternative energy. Symbolic actions are great, but they should lead to real action. (more…)
The photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing process typically requires solar cells to be heated to extremely high temperatures. Traditional methods for heating involve utilizing conventional electric or infrared furnaces to heat the cells for long periods of time.
The heating process allows for the fabrication of the (more…)
When I meet people and tell them what I do at Xcel Energy (environmental communications manager), they often get excited and volunteer that they have seen the wind farm off state Highway 93, outside of Golden, Colo. And being a know-it-all, I’m quick to correct them that it’s not really a wind farm, but the (more…)