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Solar News

More Growth in Solar's Future: No Surprises
07-25-2015

A new study, released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, charts the growth of solar energy over the coming decades and the results show a massive expansion in renewable power. The study expects $3.7 trillion in new solar investment between now and 2040; effectively, a third of all new power will come from solar energy over the course of the next 25 years. Theses solar gains will have an outsized effect on the energy market as countries, especially developed ones, continue to make large efficiency leaps. Unlike previous solar expansions, the present boom is not powered by government incentives such a rebates or subsidies, but rather by consumers. As the price of solar installations continues to fall, the technology will appear an attractive power source to everyone from large utilities to individual homeowners.

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White House Launches Nationwide Community Solar Program
07-08-2015

The Obama Administration launched a revolutionary plan to increase solar energy usage within the United States as part of a nationwide initiative to address climate change while promoting clean energy initiatives. The plan primarily focuses on increasing access and exposure to solar energy in low- to moderate-income communities across the country while creating jobs in the solar energy sector. Focusing on rounding out the solar energy industry to increase the access every American has to it is a central idea of the initiative. The new plans build upon President Obama's already established goals to train 75,000 workers in the solar industry by 2020. Even with this exponential growth over the past few years many Americans still do not have access to the benefits that Solar provides, lacking the capital needed to invest in their own projects or the necessary information about how to make the transition to solar energy. The new initiatives address these issues that have hindered growth of certain aspects of the industry while building upon past successes to help every American have access to the tools they need to get ahead.

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State Laws Impose Limits on Community Solar
07-08-2015

Most residential roof space is not optimal for solar panels. Only 22-27% of residential buildings in the U.S. are viable for solar panel installation, according to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This has inhibited the access of many communities to renewable energy sources that they demand. Community solar projects give those American homeowners or renters an opportunity to volunteer to invest in solar energy generation, whether it be for clean power or a financial benefit. These projects can be owned by a utility, a group of community investors, or a non-profit organization. While these community solar projects are growing in popularity nationwide, a recent string of limitations has popped up in response to utility companies and local governments. These limitations decrease the effectiveness of these programs.

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Oil Rich Kingdom Turns to Solar to Calm Energy Concerns
06-26-2015

Looking to the future as demand for energy increases and oil reserves decrease, Saudi Arabia has made huge strides towards solar energy. Prince Turki bin Saud Bin Mohammad Al Saud is pushing solar from within state-run entities and companies to achieve a greater level of energy security for the country. While Saudi Arabia currently has a capacity of less than 50 megawatts of solar power-only 0.1 percent of German solar energy capacity-this new push from within the government coupled with competitive solar energy prices will act as the catalyst for solar-power development, propelling them forward to become a leader in the field of solar technology.  While this shift in national energy consumption is a step in the right direction for the environment, this factor was not the main concern for the Saudis as they continue to push forward with plans to invest in solar panels and other solar technology.

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Clearer Skies and Greener Clouds: Amazon Backing Solar Energy
06-10-2015

The futurist aspect of the technology sector is not wholly equal across the board: an astounding amount of energy is needed not only to run online servers themselves but also to keep where the servers are stored frigid and dry with air conditioning. And this energy does not necessarily come from renewable energy resources. Some cloud-computing firms, such as Apple, Yahoo, or IBM, are attempting to remedy this problem by going green when it comes to energy consumption; others, such as the online retailer Amazon, have lagged behind in adoption of greener energy policies. Nevertheless, that lag is about to change: Amazon recently announced its plans to back the construction of a 1,000-acre, 80-megawatt solar-energy farm - called Amazon Solar Farm US East - which will be the largest such farm in Virginia and one of the largest east of the Mississippi; the energy generated by the farm will be used to supply power to its Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers in the region.

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Devastated Nepal Turns to Solar Power
05-11-2015

Last month, Nepal was hit by the worst ever earthquake (recorded at 7.8 on the Richter scale) killing thousands and leaving tens of thousands of others homeless. The homeless have taken shelter in the tent settlements. The electric transmission lines have gone down, and after sunset the people are plunged into darkness. Cooking and any other activities are near impossible after dark. Solar lights and other solar energy products are effective to provide immediate relief to victims of earthquakes and other natural disasters.

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Home Solar Panels Light Up Remote Areas and Outer Space
04-24-2015

Home solar panels are showing up in cities, in towns, on your remote cabins, and not surprisingly on Indian Reservations. It may be surprising to some that in the 21st Century there are large swatches of land belonging to Native Americans that have no access to electricity. The power of the sun can radically change the landscape without adding to the carbon footprint of these areas and allowing the animals to live and graze in a clean environment. And in that remotest of remote areas in outer space, there would be no space program, there would be no celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Telescope without the massive array of 25 foot solar panels. From Indian Reservations to outer space, the power of solar energy has profoundly affected the world in which we live.

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Solar Arrays Resting on False Hopes in Oregon
03-31-2015

For some the solar bonanza has meant embracing clean technology to better the world. For others, it has meant just another way to cash in on the latest trend. The Oregonian/Oregon Live has been busy digging up some allegedly unscrupulous practices that may give solar a bad name. The article describes in detail how taxpayers in Oregon have footed the bill for $12 million in tax credits for a $27 million solar project completed in August 2011. The project had lofty; goals to provide power for the Oregon University System. These solar arrays, about 5 megawatts, built on these tax credits "rest on a foundation of falsehoods and false hopes," according to the news story.

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Home Solar Panels: From Sea to Shining Sea
02-11-2015

Texas is not known as the bastion of liberalism; yet even in the Lone Star State solar is beginning to take root. And it's not because Texas homeowners are trying to protect the environment. Homeowners in Texas and throughout the country are installing home solar panels because it is good for their pocketbooks. In Idaho, solar energy is also making substantial headway. Florida is also trying to jump on the bandwagon. From sea to shining sea in the United States, solar energy is taking root in blue states, in red states, and everything in between.

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Solar Panels Up in Flames: What About My Warranty?
01-09-2015

Some solar companies may not outlast the year! Businesses providing solar technology and products have not been able to prosper and survive in the market. Panels from overseas may be to blame while other uncertainties in the market are coming to light. Insurance and warranties may be bought for products such as panels when the sale is completed. The big question is what those warranties represent when the company has gone bankrupt or bought out.

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Solar Lights in the City of Peace
12-11-2014

Solar lights have recently been placed on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City as part of a vigil to call for progress on an international agreement on climate change. People of many faiths gathered to bring attention to the Lima Climate Change Conference. The Conference, according to reports, is not about attempting to avoid climate change--it is too late for that. Instead, they are effectively focused on preventing things from turning from bad to devastating. Solar energy is not the total solution, but solar lights have already had a significant impact on the lives of those living in a refugee camp in Rwanda. Solar energy is but one piece of the puzzle to address the world's energy needs. For some in a refugee camp in Rwanda, just that little bit of energy can have a life-changing impact.

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All Politics is Local: Neighbors Squabble over Home Solar Panels
11-28-2014

If you ever had to put up a fence on a common border with your neighbor, you will know how sensitive any kind of improvement to your property can be to your neighbors. What can neighbors argue about? Almost everything. So it should come as no surprise that there are petty and some not so petty arguments about homeowners placing home solar panels on their roofs.The good news for those promoting solar power is that as much as some neighbors may argue about solar panels, the trend is that when one homeowner places solar panels on their roof, then other neighbors may be persuaded to follow suit.  Once academic journal published a study that indicated that if your neighbor goes solar, you are more likely to want to place solar panels on your roof as well. Neighborly battles can be divisive and contribute to hard feelings all around. But if solar panels can influence neighbors to work together, that will contribute much to neighborly harmony and good will.

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Further Price Cuts in Home Solar Panels Not Expected
11-07-2014

Supplies for polysilicon used for manufacturing solar panels have stabilized and prices are not expected to decline further. The material, used in crystalline silicon PV cells was in oversupply in 2013 and some suppliers of polysilicon were forced to shutter their doors. Production was at a maximum which lead to this surplus. With demand and supply relatively steady, prices have now stabilized. What this means for consumers who want to put home solar panels on their roofs is that prices are not likely to go down any further, although not everyone agrees.

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Solar-Powered LED Lighting Brightens Developing Countries
10-21-2014

Light emitting LEDs in TV screens, LED bulbs for your home, and the back light of phones have been around for many years already. But when three scientists who won the Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month started working on blue light-emitting diodes, or LEDs in the 1990s, not many could ever imagine what changes it could bring to the underdeveloped world. LEDs powered by solar energy can bring light to over a billion of the world's population without access to electricity. A new company is making signs made of a light-weight corrugated plastic  and cuts them to size, puts a small solar panel on one side and three strips of stick-on LED lights on the other. Light! What the organization is doing is reminding us that everything in our daily life can be reused. Even a seemingly small item could be transformed into something that means a lot to those in poverty.

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Solar Installer Vivint's IPO: Opportunity and Risks
10-13-2014

Why is it that everybody has heard of SolarCity but few outside the solar industry have heard of Vivint Solar? That changed on October 1 when the New York Stock Exchange welcomed Vivint to the ranks of publicly-traded companies. Vivint Solar is the second largest installer of solar panels in the United States. The initial public offering was at $16 per share, valuing the Blackstone Group LP -backed company at $1.68 billion. Don't you wish you had some of the action? Now that the share price has dropped to 12, maybe not. What happened and is there some defect in Vivint's business model? As more solar energy companies go to the public markets, Vivint may be a cautionary tale or may be viewed as a great investment opportunity.

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Trouble for Solar in Ohio
09-30-2014

New legislation in Ohio is impeding the renewable energy market . Now there are no incentives for renewable energy to replace conventional or for companies to complete in-state projects. The market for renewable energy credits (RECs) and solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) has softened considerably and prices have dropped. Advocates of the new legilsation say that they want to review money usage and renewable energy benefits, but unfortunately this may set back Ohio from reaching its goals for years to come. The people of Ohio who don't like lagging behind in future renewable energy project completion will need to speak up and get involved if they are to reverse this trend.

 

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Solar Panels Make Landfills Come to Light
09-15-2014

All over the world space and land constraints are encouraging people to become innovative thinkers when it comes to repurposing areas. The U.S., the UK and Japan are all making plans to convert used and filled landfills into expansive solar panel farms. By collaborating and making deals with strong solar companies the areas are likely to save money and space and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time. Two towns in Connecticut are having the solar projects funded by outside sources, with no direct cost to residents. While in the UK the solar project will couple the collection of methane with the installation of solar panels for additional sustainable practices. The Japanese government is hopeful that its project will make reaching their renewable energy goal more attainable. This innovative project idea needs to be implemented in other areas as global population and energy demands continue to grow.

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Solar Investing: Big Potential, Big Risks
09-03-2014

More and more Fortune 500 companies are now seeking to reduce their carbon emissions by adding solar power. Verizon Communication Inc., the largest U.S. wireless carrier, is investing almost $40 million to triple its use of solar energy this year. While solar technology is proven and promising, the solar industry is still full of risks for investors. SolarWorld is experiencing a deflated stock price even after winning the trade case against Chinese solar module makers. As the US solar market matures and a level playing field is established for both domestic and foreign production, some formerly hidden business problems will become more clear. All solar companies are not equal. Investors should learn the particularities of each individual company and how that company is positioning itself in the market before taking the leap and investing in solar companies.

 

 

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Floating Solar Panel Farms Offer Solution to Land Constraints
09-02-2014

In Japan where land is limited, floating solar panels could make renewable energy goals attainable. Two companies Kyocera Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation have plans for implementation of a huge solar system on the surface of two reservoirs to start operating April. One of these systems will be 1.7 megawatts and the other 1.2 megawatts. This could help Japan become less dependent on nuclear power and set an example for out-of-the-box clean energy production.

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Solar Panel Installations Challenges: Bad Workmanship, Utilities, Permitting
08-26-2014

You may have heard that installing a solar home panels on your roof is relatively painless, but not always depending on what part of the country you live in and who your installer is. With the huge growth in the industry, there are some issues that you, the consumer, should be wary of and try to minimize the pain. In this article, we share some of the recent stories on some of these challenges, including having an installer who doesn't know what he or she is doing, utilities placing impediments before homeowners wanting to go solar, and problems in obtaining a permit to install the solar panel system.

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