SolarTown attended the GW Solar Institute’s Fifth Annual Symposium. The theme of the symposium was “Going Global,” although the panel that we attended was more of a celebration of solar’s arrival on the world stage. Since the discussion had the feel of preaching to the choir, one solar advocate in the audience suggested that the Institute should have invited a few more skeptics to generate more lively discussion. Representatives of three powerhouses in the solar industry participated in the panel discussion. They represented the survivors in an industry that has seen considerable consolidation—meaning that a lot of companies have lost their shirts betting on solar. Some have sold their solar divisions, others have filed for bankruptcy. Survivors in the industry shakeout see opportunity. The panelists did not see the recent upheaval in the solar industry as anything “unnatural.” The industry is still at its infancy, and the recent industry shakeout is part of a natural business cycle. Solar still comprises less than 1% of the energy production in the U.S., despite huge growth in the industry. The opportunity lies ahead for those companies that survive.
Posts Tagged ‘solar panels’
First they were in outer space, then they invaded our homes and businesses, and even our backyards. Now solar panels are getting into our most sacred possessions, right next to our automobiles. Solar panel roofs are providing shade for cars through the U.S. and at the same time these panels are producing a lot of electricity. Solar panels are particularly well-suited for certain applications, and solar carports should be right on top of the list. We could be talking about the Mars Rover, where the next Shell gas station is no closer than 30 million miles away. But here we are talking about solar carports, which are relatively new areas of huge potential for the solar industry.
The solar energy industry experience a lot of highs and lows during 2012. The biggest development has been the continued growth of solar energy in the United States. As recently reported, if you compare the third quarter of 2012 with the third quarter of 2011, you would see that there was a 44% growth in the amount of solar photovoltaics (PV) installed in the United States. By anyone’s measure that is a huge growth rate. In our first blog post on the solar energy year in review, we discussed the huge price reduction in solar panels, dwindling incentives, and the effect of competing energy sources particularly natural gas on the adoption of solar energy in the U.S. In this blog post, we can’t avoid talking about some of the troubling issues facing the solar energy industry. We will discuss the Department of Energy loan program and tariffs.
Have you ever closed your eyes and wondered what a solar utopia would look like? If you are like me, you would think of sandy beaches, a lot of sun, a healthy native population. Maybe you wouldn’t see solar collectors or solar panels in such obvious places. You need not dream any more. The three tiny islands that comprise the New Zealand territory of Tokelau, Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo, have recently achieved something no other place in the world has accomplished: complete and total freedom from fossil fuels.
You may have heard of flower power in the 1960s and now in the 2010s we have solar power—that you can wear. You may already have purchased from us a solar bag or solar backpack, but soon you may be able to purchase solar couture. Several companies have come out with solar-powered articles of clothing meant for outdoor adventurers. This solar innovation is coming from an unlikely source, the designer and stylist behind Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress, Nicola Formichetti. Formichetti will be releasing his new line of solar-powered clothing online in mid-2013. Not only will his designs allow their wearer to make a unique fashion statement, they will also charge the wearer’s cellphone.
Just a few feet from a tree that had fallen in the storm, I saw some other workers who had nothing to do with the clean-up—they were installing a solar panel system. They had somehow managed to maneuver around the fallen trees and the strange traffic patterns as the signal lights all over the city were not working. I am particularly interested in this installation, for if you are an avid reader of this blog, you will know that not far away in the neighborhood of Cleveland Park, the historic preservation committee voted down a solar energy system on a home not far from where I live. Our neighborhood, however, is not part of a historic preservation district so the homeowners have a freer hand in placing a solar panel system on their homes.We also carry at SolarTown other off grid products that will allow you to weather the storm. A solar refrigerator can be used to maintain your food, and one model of a solar fridge allows you to maintain medicines. If you are digging out any everyone on your street doesn’t have power, if you had a solar oven, you could prepare your food so long as the sun is out. And of course, if you can’t live without your computer, we have solar bags or small portable solar backup systems to provide just enough juice for your computers or handheld devices.
SolarTown moved last year to Columbia Heights, a community within Washington, DC, and home to many of the District’s up and coming small businesses. Columbia Heights is often overlooked, but it is on the rise. It is also in a historically underutilized business zone also known by its acronym HUBZone. The government set up HUBZones to stimulate hiring and economic activity in some of the economically depressed areas of the country. Now I know what you are thinking, poor SolarTown is living in a bad part of town. No, no, no. Don’t be afraid to visit us. Columbia Heights may be underutilized but it’s not a bad part of town.
SolarTown visited a middle school in Washington, DC today. We let the kids borrow a solar oven for the next month so that they can cook up their favorite foods. On SolarTownKids, we have an activity to make your own solar cooker. If you are the parent of a school age kid, you might ask your child to cook you up some food with a solar cooker. And if you have a favorite solar activity to share on SolarTownKids, let us know.
New Look for SolarTown Learning Center: Learn the Ins and Outs of Solar Policy and Solar Energy ProductsMonday, January 30th, 2012
One of our primary goals at SolarTown is to educate consumers on solar energy in general and solar energy products in particular. We know that you have perused the over thousand solar energy products that we are selling. We hope that you have also spent some time at SolarTown’s Learning Center to learn about solar power products. We know that our customers like our Learning Center, but as the number of articles has ballooned, it has become more unwieldy to navigate. We have put in a new interface to allow you to click on the category that you are looking for.
Look here for the top ten solar gifts for this holiday season. You are getting nervous as the holiday season approaches and you don’t have any ideas of what to get your eco minded friends and relatives. Please do not fret as we are offering all kinds of green and solar gift ideas for every budget and for every taste. A solar gift for the holidays is just what you are looking for. You will notice some repeats from previous years, just more efficient and better quality. The basic technology has not changed very much in decades. We continue to think that solar landscape lights make terrific gifts. The quality and brightness of our selection of solar powered lights continues to improve every year so take a look at our featured products or just browse our solar lights and garden section. Check out these and other solar gift ideas.