McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams
View cart 0 items

Solar News

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.

 Read More...
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.

 Read More...
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.

 Read More...
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.

 

 Read More...
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.

 Read More...
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.

 

 

 Read More...
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.

 Read More...
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.

 Read More...
Attention Inventors: Google's Inverter Challenge
08-05-2014

Inverters are big and bulky and ripe for a change. You can't get away without using them as they are essential for transforming incoming DC currents to AC currents used to power everyday items. Google wants to remedy this by hosting a competition called the Little Box Challenge. Applicants will construct a much smaller inverter under specific requirements with the goal for cheaper and more easily accessible inverters for solar panel systems. Google has recently become more involved with energy management efforts and has invested in manufacturing companies whose products may be used to make these inverters. With the prize being $1 million dollars and a relationship with Google there may be hope for the new inverters to hit the market in the near future. The challenge concludes in July 2015 so there is still time for input. If you like inventing things in your garage, then this challenge is for you.

 Read More...
Iran's Solar Aspirations Take Off
08-04-2014

Iran is usually in the news for its misguided nuclear ambitions, but recently Iran has been in the news for sprucing up its solar image. Iran is home to the world's fourth largest proven oil reserves and the world's second largest natural gas reserves. Now Iran is starting to cut its teeth on the fledgling solar industry. Iran wants to substantially increase its solar capacity, from about 100 - 200 megawatts to 5,000 megawatts from solar and wind in the next five years. It has allocated $60 million for next year alone to bolster its solar energy industry.  Although Iran has stated its proposed program is for peaceful purposes, sanctions have cut into refining and production due to western fears. While it is easy to be skeptical towards the country's intentions behind its new-found interest in solar energy, one has to admit that solar energy is a natural for a country like Iran with remote populations and lots of sun. What's interesting to watch is how far the Islamic Republic's cuts on subsidies for gasoline will extend. Countries investing in solar like Iran are a telling sign of what may be in the near future for governments who are willing to spend now to save later especially during a time where foreign-manufactured solar panels continue to drop in price.

 Read More...
Love Lost in Hawaii: Energy Monopoly Deters Solar Energy
07-29-2014

Just as news arrives that solar panel systems are being installed in record numbers and at reduced prices all over the world, Hawaii is sticking out like a sore thumb. After having continuous years of solar energy growth, Hawaii has hit a brick wall with a 90% drop in sales in 2013. The Hawaiian Electric Company may be to blame due to unreliable, out of date grids with overvoltage safety issues and unnecessary restrictions while making it more difficult for customers to own photovoltaic systems. Looking towards the future, more focus must be put on balancing the politics as well as efforts to improve engineering and design of solar energy systems and their effect on the grid. Solar and other renewable energy may be part of the solution to ending fossil fuel dependence and getting back on track in Hawaii to meet the demand for solar power should be a priority.

 Read More...
A New Solar Energy Hazard: Solar Glare
07-24-2014

Solar glare is creating difficulties for birds, bats and pilots. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station located in Nevada and jointly owned by NRG Energy, Google, and BrightSource Energy uses mirrors to reflect sunlight towards a central collecting tower so that a liquid can be boiled and the steam used to power a turbine. The mirrors are good for creating heat, but they also create glare, increasing bird deaths and decreasing airplane pilot vision in the area. The airspace above the valley is usually very busy so pilots need to be able to scan the skies for other aircrafts. In order to save wildlife, dogs are being used at the plant to find carcasses of birds and bats, which will be studied to provide information for other solar projects, such as the projected Palen Solar Electric Generating System in Blythe, California. While you may have already noticed that your dog is perfect for the job, the issue of glare distractions still needs to be discussed at length for wildlife and human safety.

 Read More...
Need a Job? Choose Solar Over Coal
07-16-2014

On the route to a clean energy future, more jobs have become available in renewable energy industries such as solar and wind power while the coal industry has seen the opposite. According to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, solar industry jobs are now outpacing coal mining jobs.  According to one source, in the U.S., the coal industry employs 87,000 people while clean energy industries employ 360,000. If you are looking for a job in the energy market, you may want to start studying your watts and volts and not your bituminous coal attributes.

 

 Read More...
Effects of the Anti-Dumping Tariff One Month Later
07-15-2014

The tariffs imposed on China earlier this summer have already begun to affect the global solar market. A number of new trends have emerged that appear to result from the new duties. Some of these are expected effects, such as a rise in the price of solar panels, and the shift away from panels manufactured in China and Taiwan. Others are a bit more worrisome, such as the shift of manufacturing from China to other countries that can produce extremely cheap solar panels. It remains to be seen whether the new tariffs can help US solar manufacturers become more competitive, as many have hoped.

 Read More...
Solar Lights Shining in Your Yards and in Africa
06-20-2014

Solar lights are lighting up backyards and frontyards, pathways and sidewalks. As the technology improves to provide brighter light, consumers are adapting solar energy for their homes and businesses. And if they are used for home use in the U.S. and Europe, in rural Africa, they may be the only light available. Solar lights becoming cheaper has been a boon for developing communities in rural Africa. The Kenyan government has been installing solar panels at primary schools across the country, transforming the schools into community renewable energy hubs.

 Read More...
Solar Power Shines in Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup
06-16-2014

Whoever you are rooting for in the World Cup, you have got to be impressed by the booming presence of solar panels on many of the stadiums that are home to the matches. Brazil's hosting the world cup has brought solar power to prominence--despite some of the controversy over the skyrocketing costs for the World Cup in Brazil. New solar arrays have been and will continue to be installed on the roofs of the World Cup stadiums. They will continue to provide clean electricity to their communities even once the festivities have ended. Solar panel juggernaut Yingli Solar has a heavy presence at the games, seeking to raise awareness about the global solar market as well as its share of this dynamic market. The event is a display of the feasibility and practicality of solar power generation.

 Read More...
California Utility Attempts to Suppress Energy Choice
06-13-2014

California utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is currently attempting to push legislation through the California legislature that would help utilities maintain utility control over California's energy market. The current system allows cities and counties to make decisions regarding their power supply. For instance, they might switch from coal to solar or other renewables. Currently, citizens are automatically switched to the new providers by city or county choice, and must make the conscious decision to opt out. Under the proposed new law, customers would have to choose to opt in, and given what we know about human behavior, we are likely to see many fewer people adopt a different source of supply such as renewable energy under the proposed change to the system.

 Read More...
Escalating Solar Trade War: Consumers Can Expect Higher Solar Panel Prices
06-06-2014

The US government will be imposing tariffs on Chinese solar panels following a recent decision by the Department of Commerce (DOC). The tariffs are a response to accusations of dumping and subsidy leveled against China by the US subsidiary of German firm SolarWorld. The entry of subsidized Chinese firms into the market has squeezed many US solar manufacturers out of the market. However, it has also caused an astronomical drop in consumer prices for solar panels, leading to explosive growth in the US solar sector. The tariffs, while beneficial to US solar manufacturing, would increase consumer prices of solar panels, and may stunt the growth and expansion of solar markets in the US.

 Read More...
Obama Administration Takes Action on Climate Change--Big Time
06-04-2014

Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new rule mandating that power plants cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. Some critics believe that the target is easily attained and does not go far enough, as a thirty percent cut will have little impact on global climate change given the growth of developing nations such as China and India. Others believe that the rule will have a devastating impact on US energy costs and competitive advantage. But the rule is not without its proponents, who hail the rule as at least a step in the right direction, and an affirmation of the United States' commitment to fighting climate change. The rule could even reduce energy costs in the long run as we switch to locally produced power, and renewable energy technologies such as solar panels.

 Read More...
White House Home of Solar Energy Once Again
05-29-2014

After an interlude of almost 30 years, solar panels are once again gracing the home of the president of the United States. We are not sure why it took so long, but solar energy has followed a circuitous path of intrigue and can you believe it, politics. President Jimmy Carter originally placed solar thermal collectors on the White House. As with many of Carter's policies, Reagan couldn't wait to undo the policies of his predecessor. The collectors were not trashed but some of them found their way to Unity College in Maine.As we reported in 2010, President Obama had planned to install home solar panels not just on the grounds of the White House, but also on the White House itself. The plans have been in the works for some time, but only recently did he get around to implementing these plans. There were some that pointed out correctly that the 6.3 kilowatt array was tiny compared to the White House's consumption of energy, around 2% according to the Daily Caller. But since the U.S. solar energy comprises less than 1% of our energy consumption, it still is more than most.

 Read More...

Community