On the heels of the news that Energy Star standards may not be quite so stringent as we thought they were, the Department of Energy announced today much stricter energy efficiency standards for domestic hot water appliances. Over the next thirty years, the revised standards could save Americans up to $10 billion and keep 164 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. From Energy Secretary Steven Chu:
This time last year, we totally punk'd our readers with a fictional story about Derma-Volt, a suntan lotion of the future that allows individuals to charge by, in effect, turning their skin into a solar panel. But we've grown up. We've evolved. And now we're, like, so above April Fool's pranks. With this in mind, here's this morning's rundown of solar energy news and related info:
Berkeley, California has played host to a number of nation-shaping movements in recent decades, from civil rights protests, to tree sittings, to building takeovers. But is it possible that years from now, people will be looking at this nonconforming East Bay city as the epicenter of modern solar power?
A week ago, we profiled Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s California Solar in Schools Initiative, a program that encourages students to learn about solar energy. Under the initiative, the California utility has funded the installation of 125 solar energy systems at public K-12 schools since 2004. This week, we take a closer look at one of those schools.
Recently, a Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) poll asked 500 Americans if they support solar energy development on public lands. 75 percent of respondents said yes, yes they do. The poll excluded from consideration lands that are already earmarked as national parks or nature preserves. What these results indicate is that Americans see the necessity for developing domestic clean energy resources, and believe that solar farms on large tracts of uninhabited, sunny land makes good business sense.
All right, everyone -- we know your day isn't complete without an infusion of solar energy news and related info. So here's what we've got for you this morning: oil rigs will soon scour to the eastern seaboard (albeit 125 miles offshore) after a historic announcement by President Obama; California solar power developers are frantically navigating rules and regs in order to beat an end-of-year deadline for federal stimulus funding; a solar-energy only utility plans an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange; and it seems a U.S.-based solar panel maker is coming to Sacramento, Calif. Want more details? Keep reading...
Last Friday, the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) updated an incentive program for mid-sized solar energy systems on commercial buildings throughout the state.
Happy Tuesday, everyone. Here's your rundown of solar energy news:
Solar panel theft is on the rise, up 17 percent annually from 2002-2009. As the benefits of solar energy become more widely known, theft of solar panels, or at least attempted theft, will undoubtedly rise.
Courtesy of the National Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the California Energy Commission (CEC) has received $314.5 million to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs during the 2010 calendar year, beginning in April.
Solar energy developer and manufacturer Solar Power, Inc. (SOPW) announced today that the company will build its 100,000 sq ft, 50 mW capacity solar panel plant at the McClellan Business Park in Sacramento County, California. The company settled on Sacramento earlier this month as the home for its new facility and has plans to build a 10 mW solar farm in the county as well.
So your buddies are ready to pile into the family-sized RV for that spring break trip you've been planning since the darkest winter days. You on the other hand, are not quite as thrilled about hopping into the gas-guzzling beach transporter. At the same time, you don't want to spoil the vacation by opting out. You're in quite the predicament: your travel plans are pitted against your environmental ethics, and there seems to be no way around choosing one while sacrificing the other.
Part three of our on-going solar installation course series lands us in the Bay Area, home to Silicon Valley, the Golden Gate Bridge and a number of the best solar installation courses in the country. Last summer, Oakland, Santa Clara County and San Francisco made a regional pact to battle greenhouse gases. To meet the demand for green jobs in the area, one of the outcomes of the deal was a major push for solar installation training.
Alright, kids -- time for your daily dose of solar energy news and information. Normally, I promise to keep the side comments to a minimum. But I couldn't help it this morning, so you'll just have to bear with me as we paw through news on: New York's solar power market; the past and future of a traditional energy hub, Houston; and the prospects of Desertec, a solar power project that could strengthen economic ties between Europe and the countries of northern Africa. Let's get started:
We see this all the time in the solar industry: a state is a booming epicenter of solar installations due to strong financial support from the government. Then funding gets cut or depleted, solar installations drop, solar installers lose their jobs, and the state loses its pride of place in the market at large. Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, and New York all spring to mind.
Solar energy is revolutionizing the current energy market and making a comeback for the environment. Your investment in solar panels is not only paving the way for a greener future but also saving you money on rising energy bills. Solar panels have now become the new hot commodity to own. Unfortunately, this has given rise to a new type of thievery- solar panel theft.
Just how green are the solar panels gracing your rooftop? For most home- and business-owners, it’s still difficult to tell—but, if rankings are your thing, the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition’s 2010 Solar Company Survey and Scorecard may be a good starting point. Released earlier this week, the San Jose-based organization’s report surveyed 25 of the world’s biggest solar photovoltaic panel and/or cell manufacturers and scored them based on their environmental practices and policies, which included “Extended Producer Responsibility and Takeback” (product recycling), green jobs, chemical use and disclosure. German companies topped the list, with Q-Cells, Calyxo and SolarWorld in the lead, and American powerhouse First Solar trailing not too far behind.
The Denver Federal Center (DFC), one of the largest federal agency centers in the United States, announced on Tuesday that they will add roof-mounted solar panels to three of their buildings across the Denver metropolitan area. Taken together, the panels will comprise a 3.2-megawatt grid-tied solar power system. The project is part of the DFC's ambitious goal of becoming the most sustainable campus in the U.S. by 2020.
What's going on today in solar and renewable energy news? This:
Recognizing the growing demand for community solar solutions, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has produced a Community Renewable Power Proposal (PDF). The proposal lays out best practices and rules for what could be a policy guide to "co-investment in local renewable power facilities".
In 2004, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), already heavily invested in the future of California's energy efficiency, decided the solar rush should not be limited to the state's workforce. What resulted was an effort to bring solar energy education to California's public school system, ensuring that tomorrow's Californians become invested and committed to solar innovation while today's Californians build the industry's foundation.
Energy project developers have dropped their plans for a coal-fired power plant in southeastern Nevada, opting instead to deploy a combination of solar panels and natural gas turbines.
According to San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, San Diego is the top city in the United States when it comes to rooftop solar installation and solar energy production. Appropriately, San Diego solar installation training courses are popping up, creating new jobs for Californians by helping them launch new careers in the growing solar power sector.
The Grand Canyon State is on the ever-growing list of states offering rebates to businesses and homeowners who invest in renewable energy systems. A state tax credit ($1,000 max) is available to all residents, and utilities within the state offer solar energy rebates to their customers. Phoenix-area residents served by SRP should check out our recent update on that incentive, but APS customers, read on below.
In the midst of the health-care furor this week, maybe you haven't had time to stay glued to your solar RSS feeds like usual. Don't worry--that's what we're here for. Your daily dose of solar energy news, coming right up:
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="Between 2005 and 2008, the CCEF disbursed over $20 million in rebates for residential solar thermal installations and $65 million in rebates for government and commercial solar thermal installations."]
As California's solar industry grows, the need for a trained workforce grows with it. Many independent organizations offer solar training classes now--and so do many local colleges and universities. There is no national certification system for solar installers, other than the voluntary NABCEP program, and each state has a different definition for a "certified" installer. There's a training program out there for everyone: solar home owners, the vaguely interested, the experienced contractor, and even the experienced installer looking to prep for the NABCEP exam.
When California faced an energy crisis in 2001, Tim Sears and Erica Mackie were installing renewable energy systems in the private sector. But as they watched their state and profession makeup two halves of a state-wide power breakdown, the two engineers sprung into action, determined to spread the knowledge and skills needed to make solar energy available to underserved communities.
$16.25 million in federal stimulus funds will be put to work making the Bay State more energy efficient. The funds are part of Governor Deval Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan and are intended to support "innovative ways of achieving dramatic energy savings in buildings across the Commonwealth", according to the press release. Of the 11 projects that will be made possible by this money, the largest share went to a perhaps unexpected source: a low-income, tenant-owned 500-unit apartment complex in the South End. The Castle Square Tenant's Organization (CTSO) will use their $4.4 million award to enact whole-building efficiency measures:
Happy Monday, everyone. We'll spare you the clever introduction and sarcastic side comments today, and get right to the solar energy news and renewable energy news:
From 2007 to 2008, the total capacity of grid-tied California solar installations just about doubled, rising from 81 megawatts (MWs) to 160 MWs (see California Public Utilities report). Clearly, the demand for solar is rising. Since the value of solar lies predominantly in how much energy it produces -- which translates into conventional electricity savings -- it's important to know exactly how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) your solar panels can crank out on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. When you take your home or business solar, a professional solar quote will tell you how much energy you can expect your system to produce over time.
Spring cleaning: it's a perennial fixture in our lives as days get warmer and longer. Routine chores that fall victim to procrastination all year long should -- and will -- finally get checked off the list. But spring cleaning also offers a chance to consider something new, like solar energy products for gardening and other outdoor projects. What better time than spring to turn over a new leaf? Check out some of the solar home garden products below and see if they fit your spring planting plans.
Industry cost leader First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) soon may face increased competition in the thin-film solar market in the form of GE, which is making the switch from traditional silicon to cadmium-telluride—the same material that First Solar uses—in its production of solar panels. Apparently following the same logic as the Arizona-based solar giant, GE’s research arm released on Thursday news about its activities in cadmium telluride, which it has deemed the most potentially cost-effective material to use in manufacturing solar photovoltaic cells.
Updated 2016, This is post is still as timely as ever: A Home Energy Rating (HERS) is a key component of a home energy audit, a tool to help your home meet ENERGY STAR Efficient Guidelines. Why is this important for solar installations?
For some time now, we've seen American solar panel manufacturers struggle to keep costs low enough to compete with their Chinese and Japanese counterparts. Last year, Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar (NASDAQ: ESLR) had to move solar panel assembly to China (though retaining its manufacturing facility not far from Boston) in order to cut back on costs and please investors. But there has still been a certain sense of complacency about our R&D leadership: after all, industry mover and shaker First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) started out in Tempe, Arizona, and high tech solar products under development at research institutions like MIT get a lot of press.
Today's solar power rundown will be short and sweet, with a focus on: collective solar installations in Colorado and beyond; an aluminum giant's foray into solar power; and a decent-size solar power project in California's central valley.
Just as we did in January, GetSolar would like to remind Phoenix-area customers that the April 30 deadline is fast approaching for the SRP EarthWise Solar Energy Rebate Program. Solar installers in the area are willing to give quotes for home or business installation.
Alright, kids -- Happy St. Patrick's Day! We know you're all itching to get off work and head for a pint, a plate of cabbage and some sweet St. Patty's Day schwag. But bear with us, as there's plenty of interesting solar energy news stories today, including: new developments in Colorado's solar garden plan; plans for a giant solar power installation in Taiwan, courtesy of Suntech; and a new mash-up between a bix-box home improvement retailer and a California solar installation firm.
All right, renewable energy lovers (you know who you are): why is solar so hot right now? Where has all the wind power love gone? Now, we're not knocking wind energy--seriously, it's a great technology and in many applications is more cost effective than solar. We just want to make it clear why solar has got everyone in a tizzy. Here are three major ways in which solar beats out wind:
Updated 2016: So you have this hunch that solar energy is good for the environment (which is true), but beyond this, you're at a loss. Here are five quick solar energy facts to help guide you from solar zero to solar hero:
Regardless of its many advantages, we’ll be among the first to admit that solar power isn’t exactly a renter-friendly technology. Whether you live in an apartment, condo or multi-family home, the prospect of installing a solar panel array, however attractive, is for the most part dimmed by the temporality of your residence. However, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District has a program on offer for renters and others who do not currently reside in a single-family home, with an interest in going solar.
What's solar energy news today? Let's recap the recap: some Los Angelinos are mad about a proposed DWP rate hike, others are swayed by the promise of green jobs and clean power; a pair of financial giants take to the ring over solar energy stocks; First Solar joins the Desertec solar power project; and Solar Power, Inc. gets serious about providing solar-powered shade to RVs that are left parked out in the desert. Let's dig in a little deeper...
A recent New York Times blog post from Kristina Shevory took a good look at what California's failure to meet clean air standards has meant for the health of its residents--and its budget. Air pollution's links to poor health and higher medical costs across the spectrum (personal, insurance, governmental) are behind federal regulations, and in the fight for cleaner air, cleaner energy production often comes up.
Good morning, USA! Happy Monday. I spent my entire weekend -- literally 48 hours -- combing the Web for the world's most important solar energy stories. It's not only a job, here at GetSolar, it's a lifestyle... Anyway, enough banter. Among the most interesting stories: a 30-megawatt deal involving First Solar and Ted Turner; a solar-powered highway project, courtesy of SMUD; and a quick look at Morocco's renewable energy ambitions.
Whether it's touchdowns, goals or record-breaking sprints, energy efficiency -- and solar lighting -- is the name of the game in newer pro sports stadiums around the world. More frequently, fans are rooting for their favorite squads in venues that won’t leave the environment on the losing side.
Update 2016, This post is as timely as ever: When you're looking into a solar power system for your home, you suddenly have to take a much deeper look at your overall energy usage. Assessing how energy efficient you are is the very first step; making changes to become more efficient, the second. But the third? Getting pretty up close and personal with your electric usage: you should know your actual and average kilowatt-hour usage, the breakdown of your generation charges vs. delivery charges, and how your usage changes over the year.
Californians across the Golden State have additional incentive to consider solar water heating installations in 2010. This past January, the state Public Utilities Commission approved $350 million in rebates for citizens who install solar hot water systems in their homes. According to experts, the solar hot water rebates could reduce the cost of purchase and installation by 15 to 25 percent. While solar electric -- or photovoltaic systems -- often get more attention, solar water heating systems are less expensive and can save a lot of energy.
Today we've got solar energy news from Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Mississippi and California. Without further ado:
California continues to establish itself as a leader in solar energy innovation and pro-solar policymaking, nationwide. Many of these efforts have taken place at the state level. Witness the passage of California bill AB 510, which boosted the state's cap on net-metering for solar power installations. But county and city governments have played a prominent role, too. Recently GetSolar has detailed the following: a 95-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system that helps Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus transit system offset its carbon emissions; eSolar's Suntower Plant in Lancaster, Calif., which was recognized as 2009's best renewable and sustainable project; and the California solar powerhouse that is San Diego, which boasts more rooftop solar installations than any other American city. But these stories only tell the southern half of the California solar tale.
Well, iPhone, iPod, iPod Nano, iPod Touch, and Apple smartphone addicts (am I missing anything?), your moment in the sun is here: a portable solar powered charging dock for all your Apple i-series devices. Developed and sold by Muzatch, a brand of USA Solar and Digital Communications Technologies LLC, the 9.8 oz, 1000 mAh, lithium-ion core device comes in blue, black, silver, white, and green. Muzatch says the charger will last for four years with daily use (about 2000 full-up charges for your iPhone). This is impressive considering the company's current competition on iPhone-compatible solar charger scene. Where competitors give the lifespan of their devices, they hover around 500 recharges. The Muzatch retails for just under $50, not much higher than other solar chargers out there. Despite its Web 1.0 website and baffling name, the Muzatch's efficiency and long life may make a splash in the market.
It'll be short and sweet today, with minimal asides and unsolicited comments from yours truly (collective sigh of relief). Here's what's news in solar energy today:
Santa Monica's eco-friendly and ever popular Big Blue Bus system is giving patrons another reason to ditch their cars in favor of low-impact technologies: solar power.
Last December, eSolar's Sierra SunTower solar power plant won Power Engineering Magazine's "Best Renewable and Sustainable Project" award for 2009. The distinguished award is one of four the magazine gives out each year to projects in one of the following categories: gas-fired, coal-fired, nuclear and renewable.
Here's what's on tap this morning: a slew of solar school projects; a new solar-installation contest from panel-maker Canadian Solar; a 200-megawatt deal between SunPower and Southern California Edison; and, wrapping it up, a few notes from CERAWeek, including a Saudi oil titan's take on the future of global energy demand.
Business leaders passionate about America's clean energy economy converged in Washington today for the final stretch of advocacy group We Can Lead's "Race for American Jobs: Clean Energy Leadership". Participants along the way have included Fortune 500 executives (Best Buy, Nike, Starbucks, Levi Strauss, Jones Lang LaSalle and Stonyfield) as well as leaders from the clean energy industry.
The Portland Timbers of the United Soccer Leagues will become the newest Major league Soccer (MLS) franchise in 2011, but the organization has already made MLS and U.S. soccer history before ever heading in a corner kick or receiving a red card.
Solar powerhouse SunPower Corporation has announced plans to build two 1-Megawatt photovoltaic solar power plants, slated for completion by August 2010, in Italy’s southern region of Puglia. The San Jose, California-based manufacturer will undertake the projects in partnership with Italian investment and management company K6 S.a.S., with the electricity generated by the plants feeding into local and national electric grids alike.
We'll cut right to the chase this morning -- no clever lead-in or snappy recap. Just pure, unadulterated solar energy news...
Solar Power, Inc. (SOPW) today announced plans to build a solar panel manufacturing facility as well as a 10 megawatt solar farm in Sacramento, California. The development is made possible by the commitment from Sacramento County of $24.7 million in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds, funded by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
On March 3, Kyocera Solar Inc. President Rod Lanthorne and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders announced that the Japanese solar supply giant would be crafting solar panels at the city's Kearny Mesa plant beginning in June 2009. The new project is expected to create roughly 75 new jobs for Californians, with a goal of producing 35 megawatts' worth of panels per year.
Happy Monday, everyone. It's all about the lending this morning, as we relay news on solar energy financing programs in three places: Hawaii, Sonoma County and Cambodia. Now let's get down to business...
Q: Other than the word "solar", what do these five technologies have in common? Monocrystalline solar panels; polycrystalline solar panels; thin film solar; low concentration solar; high concentration solar.
Colorado's commitment to clean energy may soon be second only to California's. Late on Friday, the Colorado Senate passed a bill that would increase the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 30 percent by 2020--California's RPS is a neck ahead at 33 percent. Governor Bill Ritter is expected to sign the bill if/when the House passes it through with some small changes. This would boost Colorado solar tremendously.
You're hiking through the woods and suddenly you're lost in a maze of wildlife. Trees look the same. There's no sound or sight of civilization.
Here at the end of the first week of March we've got some choice solar tidbits for you: solar stock updates, a fancy new kind of hybrid power plant in Florida, a gigantozoid solar installation in Colorado, solar as fashion statement for financial districts, and yes, even more. Read on.
In June 2009, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle signed legislation SB 644, which requires all single-family homes constructed January 1, 2010 and onward to have solar hot water-heating (SHWH). If the home construction plan does not include a SHWH system, a building permit will not be issued -- simple as that.
By the end of this year, the world’s second-largest solar power plant will be unveiled in what were once Floridian swamplands, 500 acres north of West Palm Beach. According to the New York Times, 190,000 mirrors and thousands of steel pylons will compose the striking display in Indiantown, Florida, a glimmering ode to the nation’s renewable energy future among the humble flora and fauna of its surrounding wetlands. The story here, however, is not of the solar array’s size or splendor, but of its integration with a fossil fuel power plant—the nation’s largest, in fact.
San Francisco's Moscone Center West will host Intersolar North America 2010, the world's largest solar technology trade fair and the top meeting point for all major players in the solar industry. Organizers are expecting roughly 700 exhibitors and 20,000 trade visitors.
In today's edition of the Rundown, we've got it all: better-than-anticipated earnings from a Chinese panel-making giant; a politician who's aiming to save Florida a lot of energy and some serious cash; font that is inexplicably smaller than usual; and two smart Indians who discuss their country's solar-powered future. What more could you want? Read on:
The California Solar Initiative offers solar rebates through the state's investor-owned utilities. Currently, Southern California Edison (SCE) has the highest remaining rebate levels, at $1.90/watt (EPBB) for residential customers. To further facilitate solar adoption among its customer base, SCE announced today that it would be offering free educational classes on solar energy at locations throughout Southern California.
New Jersey, one of the strongest solar markets in the country, has been troubled by a budget freeze imposed by new Governor Chris Christie. Among the frozen assets are $158 million from the New Jersey’s Clean Energy Fund. If these funds are not released back into operation, the CEF predicts lower solar rebate levels for 2010. This is a move that could hurt not just individual homeowners looking to go solar, but could damage overall economic growth within the state as renewable energy companies find themselves at a loss for business.
For those readers who pay close enough attention, you probably noticed that yesterday's installment of Solar Power Rundown was, well, missing. (I know, I know: how did you ever get through the day?) Have no fear, however, we're back in full force today with your daily recap of solar energy news and related information. Here we go:
Solar energy can act as an anti-aging ingredient for almost any product. It is able to rejuvenate some of our oldest, seemingly outdated gadgets, and give them fresh appeal for the techie and the environmentally conscious consumer alike.
Minnesota isn’t exactly the first state that comes to mind when most people think of solar, but the Lone Star State and its associated utility companies are making significant strides toward a renewable energy future: Xcel Energy, the Minneapolis-based utility company that services a wide swath of Midwestern states—including Colorado, another burgeoning state for solar—unveiled yesterday its new Solar*Rewards program, which aims to increase the amount of small-scale solar photovoltaic installations in Minnesota.
A new report from analyst WinterGreen Research, Inc. predicts that over the next six years, growth in the global solar industry will shift from huge industrial solar farms to commercial rooftop solar installations. The 700 page report, "Photovoltaic Solar Panel Market Shares, Strategies, and Forecasts, Worldwide, 2010 to 2016", is broken down into the the following topics:
California's sunny climate has long been an envied trademark of the West Coast. But as the renewable energy industry continues to establish itself as a major player in the shifting U.S. economy, the Golden State's warm appeal is reaching uncharted temperatures -- literally. The focus here is on converting the sun's heat into electricity.
Happy Monday, everyone. Here's what's popping in solar energy news:
For the past few years, cap and trade legislation has seemed like the best--to some, the only--way to encourage a swift move to a lower-carbon economy, incentivizing renewable energies like solar power on the way. But cap and trade is facing such strong opposition that legislators have had to seek for alternative ways to address climate change.