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U.S. Marine Corps Gets Solar In The Field

Posted by Margaret Collins In Sunday, February 28 2010 under: military, Solar PV Panels, Solar Technology

As a distributed power resource, solar energy is not just changing the way Americans see their relationship to electric utilities. It's also making our armed forces more mobile and less dependent on traditional sources of energy, which means less hauling gas around in convoys, which means making our troops safer in battle zones.

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Solar Power Rundown for Friday, February 26

Posted by Adam Sewall In Friday, February 26 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

Here's your daily dose of solar energy news and related info to wrap up the week...

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Outlook Brightens For Arizona Solar

Posted by Margaret Collins In Friday, February 26 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Arizona Solar, SRP, Energy Policy

A bill that could have seriously damaged Arizona's solar industry has been pulled from the legislature, says House Spokesman Paul Boyer. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R) is going to withdraw the bill that would have hit solar with a double whammy: first, by removing the Corporation Commission's ability to set renewable portfolio standards for state electric utilities; and second, by including nuclear and hydroelectric power as renewable energies.

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California Bill Could Offer Statewide Solar Financing Option

Posted by Connie Zheng In Friday, February 26 2010 under: Solar Energy Incentives, California Solar

A new bill in the Golden State could soon give home- and business-owners access to a statewide loan program that would help them finance solar installations and other renewable energy projects. The bill, SBX8 26, would create a program to standardize Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs across California and authorize a $50 million PACE fund to be used as “credit enhancements for qualified PACE financing programs to further lower financing costs.”

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Sailing Around The World With Solar

Posted by Margaret Collins In Thursday, February 25 2010 under: SunPower, transportation, Solar Technology

At a shipyard in Germany today, PlanetSolar unveiled the world's largest solar powered boat: a 30-meter long catamaran that will be powered exclusively by about 38,000 SunPower monocrystalline solar cells. Two sailors will circle the globe in a trip beginning early in 2011--this will be the first circumnavigation to be completed in an entirely solar-powered vessel of any kind. The catamaran will be launched for initial testing as early as next month. This will be the first solar powered ship to cross the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and maintaining an average speed of 8 knots (nautical mph) will make it the fastest solar ship to cross the Atlantic as well.

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Solar Power Rundown for Thursday, February 25

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, February 25 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company Bloom Energy on Wednesday revealed its much-hyped fuel-cell technology, reports the Los Angeles Times. Dubbed the "Bloom Box," the new device combines oxygen from the air with a fuel -- either conventional or renewable -- to generate electricity. The company already has a number of prominent customers, including FedEx, Staples, Walmart and Ebay. At $700,000-$800,000 a piece, the commercial boxes are well beyond the price range for homeowners. But, depending on how quickly the company can ramp up production and drive down costs, the Bloom Box may turn out to be the next big thing in distributed generation. A lot will also depend, explains Jesse Jenkins for Forbes' "The Energy Source," on: the price of fuel inputs; the durability of the fuel cells; and the technology's ability to deliver meaningful, cost-effective emissions reductions. For a layman's look at how the technology works, check out this overview from CSMonitor.

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Solar Sweeps Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards

Posted by Margaret Collins In Wednesday, February 24 2010 under: Solar Industry News, renewable energy

At the Renewable Energy Expo and World Conference in Austin, Texas yesterday, solar energy received accolades from the editors and readers of the Renewable Energy World network of publications. The Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards are intended to recognize projects, people, and companies for "advancing the market for renewable energy in North America".

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Solar Power Rundown for Wednesday, February 24

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, February 24 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

Alright, kids, here's your daily dose of solar- and renewable-energy news...

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Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel To Go Solar

Posted by Connie Zheng In Tuesday, February 23 2010 under: Solar Interest Stories, Solar Power Info, Solar PV Panels, New York Solar

Coney Island, New York’s erstwhile amusement park mecca, is en route to receiving an infusion of modernity via its iconic Wonder Wheel, which is slated to install 32 solar panels atop its 16 swinging cars this summer. The man behind the idea, Deno Vourderis, hopes to bring back the bright lights that once characterized the 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel while simultaneously reinvigorating it with green energy.

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Solar Power Rundown for Tuesday, February 23

Posted by Adam Sewall In Tuesday, February 23 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

Here it is, folks, your daily dose of today's solar energy news and info...

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San Francisco's New Solar Energy Financing Option: What You Need to Know

Posted by Adam Sewall In Tuesday, February 23 2010 under: Cost and Financing, California Solar

As we mentioned early last week, San Francisco is launching a $150-million innovative loan program to help homeowners and businesses finance "sustainable building improvements." Improvements that are eligible will include insulation upgrades, the replacement of old windows, the installation of low-flow toilets and (drumroll please....) the installation of solar electric panels and solar water heating systems!

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Solar Power Rundown for Monday, February 22

Posted by Adam Sewall In Monday, February 22 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

In today's solar energy news: a tale of three states' solar-power aspirations.

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Pennsylvania Invests $5m In 4 MW of Solar Projects

Posted by Margaret Collins In Monday, February 22 2010 under: Commercial Solar, Pennsylvania Solar

Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell announced 13 new solar energy projects in the state today. The projects were made possible by more than $5 million from the Alternative Energy Investment Fund, in turn made possible by federal ARRA funds earmarked for renewable energy. Rendell has helped push Pennsylvania to the forefront of the solar industry, overseeing the introduction of the state's first solar energy rebate program last summer (the Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar program, currently providing up to $22,500 for home solar projects).

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Five Things To Do After You Get Solar

Posted by Margaret Collins In Sunday, February 21 2010 under: solar guide, Solar Homes, home solar

Being an effective solar home owner doesn't end when the solar panels go on your roof: read below to find out how to make sure you maximize your investment in solar energy. If you're just joining us in this series, brush up here on Five Things To Do Before You Get Solar and Five Things To Do When You Get Solar.

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Five Things To Do When You Get Solar

Posted by Margaret Collins In Saturday, February 20 2010 under: solar guide, Solar Homes

Congratulations, you've decided to make your home a solar home. You've reached the decision after careful thought and some essential first steps. The question is, what happens now?

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Five Things To Do Before You Get Solar

Posted by Margaret Collins In Friday, February 19 2010 under: solar guide, Solar Homes

Updated for 2016: This post is as timely as ever, the basics have not changed:  Solar installations can reduce your monthly electric bill, provide you with clean power, protect you from the rising costs of energy over time, and present a strong, reliable investment. But don't just jump right in--make sure you've got your bases covered:

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Solar Power Rundown for Friday, February 19

Posted by Adam Sewall In Friday, February 19 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

Alright kids, here it is: your daily infusion of solar energy news and info...

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California Raises Solar Net Metering Cap

Posted by Connie Zheng In Friday, February 19 2010 under: Net Metering, Energy Policy, California Solar
California Raises Solar Net Metering Cap
In a nearly unanimous decision yesterday, the California Assembly passed a bill that would allow a greater number of people in the state who produce their own solar power to sell the excess electricity to their utility company. (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/02/18/financial/f162749S55.DTL&type=business) Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner's (D-Berkeley) bill, AB 510, raises the Golden State's net metering program capacity from 2.5 to 5 percent, (http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/california-legislature-passes-bill-to-raise-solar-net-metering-cap,1170988.shtml) a move that supporters say will result in wider adoption of solar technology and offset high electricity costs--and will perhaps even open up the solar market to those who had been formerly closed off to it. Governor Schwarzenegger has every intention to sign the bill, according to Rachel Arrezola, a spokeswoman for the Governor.
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"The bill will help California achieve its renewable energy goals by allowing for increased solar installation, more jobs created and more renewable energy in California," Arrezola said.
/QUOTE

In a nearly unanimous decision yesterday, the California Assembly passed a bill that would allow a greater number of people in the state who produce their own solar power to sell the excess electricity to their utility company. Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner's (D-Berkeley) bill, AB 510, raises the Golden State's net metering program capacity from 2.5 to 5 percent, a move that supporters say will result in wider adoption of solar technology and offset high electricity costs--and will perhaps even open up the solar market to those who had been formerly closed off to it. Governor Schwarzenegger has every intention to sign the bill, according to Rachel Arrezola, a spokeswoman for the Governor.

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Israel, Egypt May Collaborate on Major Solar Energy Project

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, February 18 2010 under: Middle East Solar, international solar

Israel and Egypt may undertake a joint solar-energy project in Egypt's Sinai Desert, according to Israel's Industry and Trade Minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. Speaking at the International Renewable Energy Conference being held this week in the Israeli coastal city of Eilat, Ben-Eliezer noted that the joint effort would yield electricity for both countries. "In our discussions with President Mubarak [of Egypt], he expressed much interest in the idea and we will be working together with Egyptian government representatives to advance the idea," he said.

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Historic California Winery Goes Solar

Posted by Margaret Collins In Thursday, February 18 2010 under: winery, Commercial Solar, California Solar

Trade association Napa Valley Vintners is moving into new quarters that blend the old and new: a 13.5 kw solar panel array on the site of one of the oldest wineries in California.

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Solar Power Rundown for Thursday, February 18

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, February 18 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

Here it is, your daily dose of solar energy news and info:

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Australia's Solar Panel Safety Debacle

Posted by Margaret Collins In Thursday, February 18 2010 under: international solar, solar installation, Solar Homes, safety, Australia

Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett has been under fire for a home insulation scheme gone wrong in which as many of 400,000 properties may have received below-grade insulation-and three installers have died of electrocution. And now, the safety of solar panel installations in the country has been called into question as well.

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Solar Power Rundown for Wednesday, February 17

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, February 17 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

Cupertino may be the next to join a growing list of California counties, cities and towns that offer to homeowners low-interest loans for the installation of solar panels, reports San Jose Mercury News. If Cupertrino joins the CaliforniaFirst Program, its residents will be able to finance renewable energy systems and energy-efficiency projects by borrowing from their local government. The funds would then repaid through property taxes over a 10- to 20-year period. See this post on solar energy financing in San Diego for more details.

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Solar Comes to Schools in Lebanon and Florida

Posted by Margaret Collins In Wednesday, February 17 2010 under: Solar Industry News, international solar, Lebanon, Florida Solar

We spend a lot of time talking about solar as an investment, or about solar power plants as the new MVP of clean energy production. Though small-scale distributed energy resources can be life-changing (or life-saving) on the individual or community level, the industry rarely pauses to appreciate it. Two recent moves to install solar energy systems in schools present a good opportunity to do just that.

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Baltimore Energy Company Offers $90 Million For Solar Installations

Constellation Energy Group Inc. (http://www.constellation.com/portal/site/constellation/), a Baltimore, Maryland-based provider of energy products and services, has committed $90 million to help finance solar panel installations on commercial and government buildings. (http://baltimore.bizjournals.com/baltimore/stories/2010/02/15/daily10.html) In order to be eligible for Constellation's financial support, the project must be 500 kilowatts or larger, and must begin construction before mid-year 2010--which is only a couple of months away. (It seems like it was 2009 just yesterday...)
From the press release (http://ir.constellation.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=444951):
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The capital commitment enables Constellation Energy to finance, design, construct and own solar installations for customers and supply the power generated on-site to the customer. This structure makes it possible for customers to deploy on-site solar and meet sustainability goals without incurring upfront costs. Approximately $18 million of the capital commitment has already been committed to projects soon to begin development in Maryland and New Jersey.
/QUOTE
In addition to the aforementioned mid-Atlantic states, the energy provider is also targeting projects in Massachusetts, California and Pennsylvania, where pre-existing solar incentives make an investment in solar more manageable. In return for its help, Constellation will have ownership of the panels, although it would sell the power generated to the occupants of the sited building. While further details are wanting--how much of this $90 million remains to be doled out? How many companies have already signed up? What else is Constellation demanding?--one thing is for certain: Constellation has timed its announcement well, considering that Maryland's General Assembly is currently looking at three bills that have the potential to light up the state's solar scene. (http://www.getsolar.com/blog/solar-power-rundown-for-tuesday-february-16/3606/)

Constellation Energy Group Inc., a Baltimore, Maryland-based provider of energy products and services, has committed $90 million to help finance solar panel installations on commercial and government buildings. In order to be eligible for Constellation's financial support, the project must be 500 kilowatts or larger, and must begin construction before mid-year 2010--which is only a couple of months away. (It seems like it was 2009 just yesterday...)

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Solar Power Rundown for Tuesday, February 16

Posted by Adam Sewall In Tuesday, February 16 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

Vice President Biden will today be in Michigan, where he'll argue that federal stimulus spending has succeeded in creating jobs, reports The Detroit News. The Administration estimates that 22,000 Michigan jobs have been created or saved at a cost of about $11 billion. Among Biden's stops will be Hemlock Semiconductor, a maker of polycrystalline silicon that's used in the manufacture of solar panels.

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Mojave Solar Power Project Scaled Back

Posted by Margaret Collins In Tuesday, February 16 2010 under: Solar Thermal, Commercial Solar, CSP, desert, California Solar, BrightSource

Last week, San Bernardino county officials sought to stop progress on BrightSource Energy's giant concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in the Mojave Desert. Land mitigation was the main complaint this time around, but BrightSource has been drawing flak for habitat destruction (desert tortoise) and water use (despite using a "dry loop" cooling technology, the solar thermally-generated power will of course still use a lot of the desert's most precious resource). In order to address these concerns, the solar energy company has released a new plan for the Ivanpah, California facility. The new design reduces the total solar capacity of the project from 440 MW to 392 MW (a loss of 48 MW). According to Renewable Energy World, the new plan will:

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Solar Power Rundown for Monday, February 15

Posted by Margaret Collins In Monday, February 15 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

Here's your daily dose of solar news, starting the week off right.

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Solar Site Evaluation and the New SunEye 210

Posted by Margaret Collins In Monday, February 15 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Technology, solar installers, Site Analysis

One of the leading manufacturers of solar site assessment technology announced the release of a new version of its product today: the Solmetric SunEye 210 is now available, ladies and gentleman of the solar industry. If you're not thrilled to your fingertips, Gentle Reader, it's probably because you're not a solar installer; but if you're curious about why this is such an important element of the install process (and to get more product details), read on.

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Your Solar Valentine

Posted by Margaret Collins In Sunday, February 14 2010 under: Vote Solar, Solar Power Info

I'll just say it: I don't like Valentine's Day. But I do like a good tongue-in-cheek viral video, and I like it even more when it's packed full of good reasons to get solar. California solar advocacy group Vote Solar has put together a pastiche of "singles" describing what would fill the void in their lives: women seem to want something reliable, predictable, good-looking (and clean), and willing to commit for 25-30 years. The men, as usual, will settle for a nice rack and some high-quality silicon.

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Solar Power Rundown for Friday, February 12

Posted by Margaret Collins In Friday, February 12 2010 under: Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

Your daily hit of solar energy news to bring you up to date before the weekend...

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San Bernardino Stalls Desert Solar Project

Posted by Margaret Collins In Friday, February 12 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Thermal, desert, California Solar, BrightSource

Yesterday's move by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to stall BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah project is the latest episode in the drama of desert solar power development. It's a drama that stars land usage, but really it's an ensemble cast that includes corporate interests, state profits, and economic stimulus and job creation. (Not to mention the desert tortoise.)

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ARRA Funds California Solar, Energy Efficiency Projects

Posted by Margaret Collins In Thursday, February 11 2010 under: Solar Industry News, ARRA, California Solar

The California Recovery Task Force announced today that $110 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds will go towards energy efficiency and solar within the state. The money travels quite a path from the federal DOE to the State Energy Program to the SEP's Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit and Municipal Financing Programs. These funds will support 1,100 new jobs in addition to reducing business and consumer energy costs. Don't let the cold dollar amount fool you:

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Solar Power Rundown for Thursday, February 11

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, February 11 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

The big energy-sector story this morning: FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) says it will buy Allegheny Energy (NYSE: AYE) in an all-stock deal that values the smaller power producer at $8.5 billion (including debt), according to MarketWatch. About 80 percent of the combined entity's electricity output will come from coal-fired plants and nuclear facilities.

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SunPower To Acquire SunRay

Posted by Margaret Collins In Thursday, February 11 2010 under: SunPower, Solar Industry News

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWRA, SPRWRB) will officially acquire European solar plant developer SunRay Renewable Energy in a $277 million deal expected to close in the first half of 2010. The companies have signed a "definitive agreement" under which SunPower will take on SunRay's current project pipeline, which represents 1,200 MW of solar energy development. SunRay's in-development projects are scattered across France, Spain, Italy (where SunRay's head project office is located), the U.K., Israel and Greece. SunPower already has offices in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

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Evergreen's American Solar Panels Cost-Competitive With Chinese

Posted by Margaret Collins In Wednesday, February 10 2010 under: Massachusetts Solar, Solar Industry News, Solar Technology, Evergreen

Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar (NASDAQ: ESLR) believes the solar wafers it manufactures at its Fort Devens facility--and the solar panels built around the wafers--are on par with many traditionally cheaper solar panels manufactured in China. Why? Evergreen's unique "string ribbon" manufacturing process for crystalline silicon solar wafers cuts way down on raw materials, process, and waste costs. In a conference call, PV Tech reports, Evergreen CEO Richard Feldt said:

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Solar Power Rundown for Wednesday, February 10

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, February 10 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

The big news from Washington this morning isn't limited to relentless snow and power outages...

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Installer Insight: Rooftop Structural Analysis

Posted by Guest Installer In Wednesday, February 10 2010 under: Solar Power Info, Installer Insight, solar installation, Solar PV Panels
The Importance of Structural Analysis for Roof-Mounted PV Arrays
Chris Fidler, President
Primal Energy Systems LLC
Most racking manufacturers provide excellent resources for designing a safe and well-engineered support structure for roof-mounted solar panels. But the racking is only half the equation when it comes to mechanical design – the other half is the building structure. All racking installation manuals contain a disclosure that reads something like, “the installer is solely responsible for ensuring the building structure can support the array under all loading conditions.” A load is any force that is applied to the structure. Structures must be able to support dead loads (the weight of the roof deck, shingles, racking, and panels) and live loads (wind and snow). Most roofs have no problem handling the additional dead load of the racking and panels, which usually add about 5 pounds per square foot. However, an array can significantly change how wind and snow loads are transferred to the structure. When wind blows against a roof with no array, the wind pressure is uniformly distributed on the surface of the roof. This uniform pressure is then transformed to a uniform load along the rafters. The uniform load on the rafter results in a certain amount of stress and displacement. Engineers and architects assume a uniform wind loading condition when selecting the size and material of the rafters. Too much stress can cause a failure of the rafter and too much displacement can cause bowing and cracking of attached surfaces, such as drywall on a cathedral ceiling. When an array is added to a roof, the uniform wind pressure is absorbed by the panels and is transferred to the rafters by the racking attachment points. These point loads create a completely different loading profile on the rafters. The resulting stress and displacement may be higher than what the building codes allow.
The following is a real-life example of a job that required structural reinforcement. The customer’s home was located in Richmond, VA where local wind design loads are 90 mph and snow design loads are 20 lbs per sqft. The house was built in 2006 and the roof structure was made from 2 x 4 engineered trusses on 24” centers. The racking was attached to every other truss, which meant that the uniform load that originally was carried by every truss was now transferred by point loads to every other truss. Analysis of the new loading profile showed that the stress would exceed the allowable limits for southern pine. The problem was solved by adding a sister 2 x 4 to each truss that had a racking attachment point. This example is only an illustration of one particular problem and solution. Failure to properly analyze the roof structure in this case may have resulted in a roof failure down the road. Installers should not automatically assume that the roof structure is capable of handling the different loading conditions presented by the addition of a solar array. Partnering with a locally licensed Professional Engineer is a best practice that can not only guarantee safer installations but also provide a competitive advantage.
Chris Fidler is a mechanical engineer and president of Primal Energy Systems LLC, a PV design and installation company located in Richmond, Virginia.
Solar installer Chris Fidler talks about the importance of structural analysis when designing a roof-mounted solar panel installation.

The Importance of Structural Analysis for Roof-Mounted PV Arrays

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Marin County Wants to Bypass PG&E, Buy Power

Posted by Adam Sewall In Tuesday, February 9 2010 under: PGE, Energy Policy, California Solar, Utility Solar

Marin County in California wants to purchase electricity on behalf of its citizens, a move that would bypass the state's largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., and could lead other local governments to follow suit.

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Senator Sanders Introduces Nationwide 10 Million Solar Roofs Bill

Posted by Connie Zheng In Tuesday, February 9 2010 under: Solar Energy Rebates, Solar Energy Incentives, Solar Legislation

Last Thursday, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced solar legislation that has sent the solar industry into a hopeful tizzy: his bill, the 10 Million Solar Roofs and 10 Million Gallons of Solar Water Heating Act of 2010, would authorize rebates and other incentives with the aim of supporting up to half the net installed cost—after factoring in existing federal and state incentives—of 10 million photovoltaic solar systems and 200,000 solar hot water systems across the country. Residential, commercial, government and non-profit solar systems alike would be eligible for the rebates.

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Solar Power Rundown for Tuesday, February 9

Posted by Adam Sewall In Tuesday, February 9 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

Here it is, your daily dose of solar energy news and related info:

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Solar Power Rundown for Monday, February 8

Posted by Adam Sewall In Monday, February 8 2010 under: Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown, Solar PV Panels

It was a fairly quiet weekend in terms of solar energy news, unless you think a solar-powered Super Bowl is a big deal (which we do).

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The Super Bowl Gets Solar

Over the last few years, the largest sporting event in the United States has shown some awareness of the enormous draw it makes on energy resources wherever it's hosted. Yesterday's 44th Super Bowl, accordingly, was the greenest yet: Florida Power & Light Group's (NYSE: FPL) subsidiary NextEra Energy supplied the NFL with enough renewable energy credits (RECs) to completely offset the energy usage of not only the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl, but of the preparations leading up to the games in Miami, as well.

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California Solar Farm Gets LEED Gold

Posted by Margaret Collins In Monday, February 8 2010 under: Solar Power Info, Solar Farming, California Solar

Limoneira Company's 5.5 acre, 6,400 solar panel, 1 megawatt capacity "solar orchard"--complete with observation deck--was designed to meet the rigorous standards necessary to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-level certification. LEED is the country's foremost standard in green building. This solar farm is the first private sector LEED Gold certification awarded in Ventura County.

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Mass. Solar, Renewables Drastically Reducing GHGs

Posted by Margaret Collins In Saturday, February 6 2010 under: Massachusetts Solar, Solar Power Info

A new technical report from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) shows some encouraging news: within the next ten years, the Bay State can expect to see greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fall more than 18 percent below 1990 levels. Governor Deval Patrick's focus on growing the state's clean energy economy is partly to thank, a focus in which solar power plays an enormous role, as are renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.

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Mass. Awards $20m, 4.1 MW Solar Bid to Local Integrator

Posted by Margaret Collins In Friday, February 5 2010 under: Commercial Solar

The Bay State is wasting no time with the distribution of stimulus funds for renewable energy growth within the state, putting serious effort behind the solicitation of bids for projects on public property. Continuing to push forward, Governor Deval Patrick and Secretary of Energy Ian Bowles went out to North Andover today to solar integrator Nexamp's logistics center. Jointly, they announced that the solar installer has been awarded a $20 million contract to build 4.1 MW of ground-mounted solar panel arrays at twelve drinking and waste water treatment facilities throughout the state.

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Solar Power Rundown for Friday, February 5

Posted by Adam Sewall In Friday, February 5 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

Here's your solar energy digest for Friday, February 5:

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Lower Prices for U.S. Solar in 2010?

Posted by Connie Zheng In Friday, February 5 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Suntech, Germany

The trouble with reading any analyses, reports or simple statements from industry experts is how difficult it can be to sift through the mass of material. Differentiating sound judgment from pure noise, or attempts at manipulation from a desire to present balanced viewpoints—these are the challenges that face anyone with an interest in a burgeoning field, especially one as (relatively) new as solar.

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Solar Stocks Go Schizo

Posted by Margaret Collins In Thursday, February 4 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Market, Solar Stocks

You may have heard that solar stocks were up this week. You may also have heard that they were way down. You might also have heard that analysts are predicting great things for this year...or that they're not. What gives? I am no kind of market analyst; in fact, that's why I needed to delve into this week's strange stock happenings, because I couldn't make heads or tails of what was coming over the wires. Here are the key pieces of what's happened this week:

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Solar Power Rundown for Thursday, February 4

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, February 4 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info, Solar Power Rundown

So many megawatts, so little time... Here's today's rundown of solar energy news:

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Boston's Largest Rooftop Solar Array Announced

Posted by Margaret Collins In Thursday, February 4 2010 under: Massachusetts Solar, Boston, Commercial Solar

Construction of a 240 kw solar installation at the Boston Water and Sewer Commission's (BWSC) headquarters will begin this month, according to Rivermoor Energy, the solar energy development and investment firm that won the project just last week. The Newton, MA-based firm is taking advantage of the state's new solar renewable energy credit (SREC) program to leverage funding for the $1.075 million project. Another local company--Zapotec, Inc., based out of Cambridge--designed the solar installation, which will provide the BWSC with about 7 percent of its annual power consumption (268,000 kWh/y).

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New Feed in Tariff Report From NREL

Posted by Margaret Collins In Wednesday, February 3 2010 under: FIT, Feed In Tariff, NREL

In the interests of information-sharing, we just wanted to alert you to the National Renewable Energy Lab's (NREL) newly released report on feed in tariffs. It will make your knees weak if you're a policy wonk or an energy lawyer--I mean heck, it's entitled "Renewable Energy Prices in State-Level Feed-in Tariffs: Federal Law Constraints and Possible Solutions"--but it includes an overview for the FiT neophyte, as well. Don't read the whole thing, unless you're really, really having trouble sleeping, but do check out some basic definitions and context for the FiT programs developing across the country.

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Solar Power Rundown for February 3

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, February 3 2010 under: Solar Industry News, NYSE: YGE, Solar Power Info

Chinese solar-panel maker Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE) is set to become the first renewable energy company in history to sponsor the FIFA World Cup.

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Take Action: California Net Metering Vote on 2/4

Posted by Margaret Collins In Wednesday, February 3 2010 under: Solar Legislation, Net Metering, Energy Policy, CSI, California Solar

Tomorrow, California's state legislature will vote on lifting the current cap on the amount of energy in the state's energy portfolio that can come from net-metered solar installations. Set at 2.5 percent, the net metering cap once seemed generous but now seems low--dangerously low, in fact, for the California solar industry. Successful solar incentives have encouraged nearly 460 MW of solar installations just within the service territories of the three investor-owned utilities (for more on the California Solar Initiative, start here).

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Jack Johnson Powering Next Album with Solar Energy

Posted by Adam Sewall In Tuesday, February 2 2010 under: Solar Power Info

With the Grammys behind us, news comes via SFGate's Daily Dish (following a heads-up on this blog in one of our daily solar rundowns) that Jack Johnson is recording his sixth studio album with 100 percent solar energy in his native Hawaii. Details are vague, but, man, is it a pretty catchy concept. Presumably, Johnson's recording studio (dubbed the Mango Tree) is equipped with a grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) system. In this case, it'd be unlikely that every single electron flowing through the recording equipment would come from the solar panels. But at the end of the day, Johnson -- whom Spinner dubs an "eco-warrior" -- probably has better things to do than count and track electrons.

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SCE, Recurrent Energy Sign 50 MW Solar Deal

Posted by Margaret Collins In Tuesday, February 2 2010 under: Commercial Solar

Southern California Edison (SCE) and solar integrator Recurrent Energy have entered into an agreement: SCE will buy all of the power produced by California solar panel installations developed by Recurrent on three sites in San Bernardino and Kern Counties. The solar energy systems will have a peak capacity of 50 MW and should be completed by 2012.

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Solar Power Rundown for February 2

Posted by Adam Sewall In Tuesday, February 2 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Power Info

Here it is, your daily blast of solar energy news and info:

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Sacramento Solar Power Plant Expansion On Track

Posted by Margaret Collins In Tuesday, February 2 2010 under: Commercial Solar, Sacramento, California Solar

In June 2009, construction started on a 3.6 MW solar energy plant at aerospace giant Aerojet's Sacramento location. In November 2009, Aerojet (a GenCorp Group company, NYSE: GY) and solar installer Solar Power, Inc. (OTCBB: SOPW) announced they were dreaming big: they were commissioning a 2.4 MW expansion to the system, which would expand it to 6 MW and make it the largest industrial solar panel installation in California--and one of the largest in the country.

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Solar Power Rundown for February 1

Posted by Margaret Collins In Monday, February 1 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Energy News, Solar Power Rundown

The solar industry is buzzing (or should I say, twittering) with today's big-ticket news item, the United Kingdom's official plan for a feed in tariff. Curious about how much output you could actually expect to see from a solar panel installation in Liverpool or Edinburgh? Check out this awesome tool from the EC's Joint Research Centre.

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British FiT Waxes as Germany's Wanes

Posted by Margaret Collins In Monday, February 1 2010 under: international solar, UK, FIT, Feed In Tariff, Germany

Unless some massive prank is being played on the solar industry, April 1st will kick off enormous changes in Europe (though solar stocks have already begun to react): Germany's feed in tariff will scale back by 16-17 percent, while the United Kingdom will enact a FiT for the first time.

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