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Chu Announces Funding for SunShot Solar Energy Manufacturing Projects

Department of Energy head Stephen Chu yesterday announced over $110 million in funding to support the development of advanced solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing techniques.

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Next 10 Years: Cost of Solar Will Drop by Half, U.S. Will Build 5 Nuclear Power Plants

Bloomberg New Energy Finance this week is having its annual conference in New York. Among the tidbits making their way through the Interwebs, I found the following particularly interesting:

(1) Michael Liebreich, chairman of the research group, noted in a talk that he expects the cost of developing a solar power project to drop by half in the next decade, worldwide. New Energy Finance numbers suggest the cost of large solar photovoltaic (PV) projects to decline to from around $3.00 per watt today to $1.45 per watt in 2020.

A reduction of that magnitude would make solar energy more competitive with fossil fuels.

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More Solar Power Coming to Sacramento, California

Posted by Adam Sewall In Monday, April 4 2011 under: Solar Power Info, SolarCity, Sacramento, California Solar

SolarCity, a fast-growing company that provides solar lease options to homeowners in many parts of the country, today announced it plans to install more than 8,000 solar panels for the City of Sacramento, California.

At 1.9 megawatts (MW), the solar panel installation would be the largest such facility in the city and would produce around 2.6 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) in the first year of operation -- enough to power roughly 235 typical American homes.

“This project is a triple win for Sacramento -- it will save taxpayers money by lowering the city’s energy costs, reduce pollution by generating renewable power, and create more local jobs to install the panels,” said [Sacramento] Mayor Kevin Johnson. “It’s our goal to become a greener city and generating clean energy on our facilities is keeping with that commitment.”

Go Sacramento!

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Special SPF Sun Block Electrifies Skin in Tests, Paves Way for Body Solar Panels

Posted by Adam Sewall In Friday, April 1 2011 under: DermaVolt, Solar PV Panels, Solar skin, Solar Technology, April Fools' Day

It seems April Fools' Day this year got very popular with corporate America and media outlets:

From a new “body controlled” email system to the purchase of Pluto to a royal wedding–themed car, companies and media outlets have been busily pranking this April Fools’ Day, lightening up an otherwise grim news flow focused on violence in Libya and the ongoing disaster in Japan.

The MarketWatch story linked to above references the day's gags from Google, Groupon and Virgin, among others. We here at GetSolar would just like to inform our readers that we were hip to the April Fool's thang way back in 2009:

A Spain-based firm, Derma-Volt, is developing a suntan lotion that, when applied, will cause the underlying surface to generate electrical current.

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Non-Nuclear Clean Power to Double by 2020, Report Says

A report out Monday sees non-nuclear clean energy sources growing two-fold over the next ten years, via USA Today.

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Solar Power Advantages and Limitations: Why You Should Install Solar Panels

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, March 31 2011 under: Solar Commentary, Solar PV Panels

Over the past year, we've witnessed terrible accidents in "the big three" energy sectors: the Massey coal mine explosion in West Virginia, which killed 25 miners; the explosion of the drill rig Deepwater Horizon, which killed eleven and caused billions of dollars of damage; and the on-going nuclear crisis in Japan, which is prompting many to reassess the probability that a similar disaster occur here in the United States.

If anything is clear, it's that there are risks associated with the extraction and production of energy -- and that all sources of energy come with costs and benefits.

With that in mind, let's take a quick look at the benefits and costs solar photovoltaic (PV) energy.

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China May Double Solar Goal, U.S. Falls to Third in Clean Energy

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, March 30 2011 under: china, United States, Energy Policy, Cost and Financing, Germany

Faced with the on-going nuclear crisis in Japan -- the costs of which could make the March earthquake and subsequent tsnuami the most expensive natural disaster the world has ever seen -- nearby China may be moving to double its target for solar photovoltaic (PV) power capacity over the next five years.

Citing unnamed sources, China Securities Journal today reported that the country's solar target might be raised to 10 gigawatts (GW) of PV by 2015, up from the current target of 5 GW. For comparison, global solar PV capacity was about 40 GW in 2010.

This news comes after a report released yesterday found that, in terms of clean energy investment, the United States has slipped to third place behind China and Germany.

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Obama Talks Energy: Cut Imports, Use Alternatives, Boost Production at Home

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, March 30 2011 under: Obama, Natural Gas, oil, Nuclear Power, Energy Policy

Wrestling the energy boogieman has become a perennial rite of passage for U.S. presidents, dating at least as far back as Nixon.

Fittingly, President Obama today was at Georgetown University, where he outlined a broad initiative to cut oil imports, boost domestic production of oil and gas, and increase the use of cellulosic ethanol and natural gas to power vehicles.

With gas prices topping $4 a gallon in some parts of the country, like southern California, and the summer driving season not that far off, the president's comments couldn't come a moment too soon.

"In an economy that relies so heavily on oil, rising prices at the pump affect everybody," the Obama said in what the White House billed as a significant energy address.

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California's 33% Renewables Standard Hangs in the Balance, Assembly to Vote Today

Regular readers (among others) will know that California is the nation's clean energy leader. The state has on the books a law requiring that a fifth of all electricity come from renewable sources by 2010. A 2009 executive order by former Governor Schwarzenegger raised that target to 33 percent. But, thanks to procedural nuances, the Governator's move could technically be rolled back. In order to still, the new (higher) renewable energy standard must pass formal legislative muster.

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Pace of Solar Panel Installations to Match Apple's Sales Growth

Posted by Adam Sewall In Tuesday, March 29 2011 under: Solar Industry News, Solar PV Panels, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Apple

I'll be the first to admit it: solar panels aren't as cool as the iPad. I mean, at the end of the day, all they do is turn sunlight into clean, predictably priced electricity, right? The iPad, meanwhile, can do just about everything short of raising your children. (To be fair, I think they're working on an app for that.)

But just because solar panels aren't as cool as the iPad doesn't mean they're insignificant.

Case in point: new analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggests that solar-panel installations may grow by more than 50 percent in 2011, a rate that would match Apple's sales growth after the Cupertino, Calif.-based company launched the iPad in 2010.

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