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Green Means Go for Tessera's Calico Solar Plant

The California Energy Commission has approved has approved Tessera Solar's 663.5-megawatt (MW) solar thermal plant to be built in southern California's San Bernardino County.

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GlaxoSmithKline to Install Record-Setting Solar Rooftop System

The pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has begun installing what it says is North America's largest photovoltaic (PV) rooftop solar energy system at its 500,000 square-foot Northeast Regional Distribution Center in York, Pennsylvania. According to the USA Today, the mammoth system, when complete, will be the size of seven American football fields.

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SunPower, Iberdrola to Build Colorado Solar Energy Plant

A plan is in the works to transform a 216-acre chunk of empty private land in Colorado's Alamosa County into a 30-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) plant that would be producing power by the end of 2012.

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FedEx Installs Solar Energy in Germany, Recovers Brownfield in U.S.

FedEx got on the express track to environmental sustainability this week, both in the United States and abroad.

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Arizona Renewable Energy Workshop Covers Solar Power, Wind

Posted by GetSolar Staff In Thursday, October 28 2010 under: Solar Interest Stories, Arizona Solar, solar workshops, Cost and Financing

Eastern Arizona residents got a crash course in renewable energy on Friday Oct. 22, courtesy of the Arizona Cooperative Extension and Arizona Land and Water Trust.

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What Can 1 Kilowatt of Solar Do For You?

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, October 28 2010 under: solar PV system performance, Solar PV Panels

You may have heard recently about this thing called solar power. You may have heard, for example, that a solar home energy system can cut your electric bill. You may have seen offers to go solar for zero down. Or maybe a friend told you that solar rebates, tax credits and other incentives can combine to significantly reduce the cost of installing solar panels. There's even a chance you've heard that solar panels are dishwasher-safe.

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Western Massachusetts Awaits Big Solar Power Plant, a First

You always remember your first... solar energy plant. And in the case of the people of Pittsfield in western Massachusetts, they will remember the roughly $10-million, eight-acre, 6,500 solar-panel power plant that is now the largest of its kind in New England. It is both the first plant in Pittsfield and first plant in all of western Massachusetts.

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Hawaiian Hospitality Group Soon to Go Solar

The Hawaiian Hospitality Group, Inc. (HHGI), a tourism-focused property developer, may soon be incorporating solar energy systems into some of its projects.

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Fruit Grower in California Installs Big Solar Power System

Del Mar Farms -- supplier of produce to Californians up and down the state, has some good news: it will now use solar power to meet meet over 90 percent of its annual electricity needs.

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Do Solar Panels Produce More Energy Than What Goes Into Making Them?

We've been talking a bit about solar manufacturing processes at GetSolar lately, since most (if not all) of the innovation in solar energy generation occurs at that stage. Most discussion of solar manufacturing revolves around how to best reduce cost. But the amount of energy used to manufacture solar photovoltaic (PV) panels -- also called solar "modules" -- often merits attention as well. It takes effort and energy, after all, to fabricate the various parts of a solar module, like the solar cells, backsheets, frame and wires.

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U.S. OKs Biggest Solar Plant of Its Kind, Tortoises Deemed Safe

Environmental groups and clean energy companies in California -- two entities that on the surface seem to be the butter to the other's toast -- don't always agree on everything.

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Investors, Enviros Team Up To Topple Prop 23 in California

With midterm elections now days away, the big names are coming out in California to fight against Proposition 23, an attempt to halt a state law limiting greenhouse gas emissions until the state's unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent or below. In the past two weeks, those opposed to Prop 23 have received backing from the likes of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and award-winning film director James Cameron, among others. All told, organizers have raised nearly $12 million to fight the proposition, which is backed by Texas oil companies Tesero Corp. and Valero Energy.

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Five Massachusetts State Facilities Going Solar

Five Massachusetts state buildings are teaming with Ameresco, Inc.(NYSE: AMRC) - an independent energy solutions company headquartered in Framington, MA - to install a combined nearly 600 kilowatts (kW) of solar energy capacity.

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Arizona Utility Recognized for Educating Youth, Pioneering Programs

Arizona Public Service (APS), an electricity utility that serves 1.1 million customers in 11 of Arizona's 15 counties, recently received three awards from two different noteworthy clean energy organizations for its efforts to promote renewable energy solutions and educate its customers on the benefits of clean energy. On October 14 in Los Angeles, at Solar Power International (SPI), the Solar Energy Power Association (SEPA) presented APS with the Utility Innovation in Solar Power Design award and Utility Community Outreach and Public Awareness award.

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Canada Completes World's Largest Solar PV Plant

The largest solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the world is now operating north of the border. Sarnia Solar facility, with a capacity of 80-megawatts (MW), is sitting in Ontario, Canada just north of Michigan. It surpasses the 60-MW Olmedilla PV Park in Spain and is expected to generate 120,00 megawatt-hours (MWh) each year.

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Massachusetts Venture Promises Cheaper Solar Cells

Posted by Annie Lindseth In Friday, October 22 2010 under: MIT, 1366, silicon wafers, Solar Technology

1366 Technologies raised $20 million this week in second round funding from Hanwha Chemical and Ventizz Capital, along with earlier investors Polaris Venture Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners. 1366, whose name refers to the amount of sunlight hitting the earth (1366 watts per square meter), has developed a solar manufacturing process that will cut the cost of solar cells by 40 percent.

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Huntington Beach District Breaks Ground on Solar Installation in California

Three elementary schools and two middle schools in southern California's Huntington Beach School District will soon receive a portion of their energy via solar power. In total, the school district has partnered with Chevron Solutions to install a 618-kilowatt (kW) system that is expected to account for one-third of the district's total yearly energy consumption. Chevron Energy Solutions, which has designed and engineered the system, will operate, maintain and guarantee the system's performance. It's expected to be up and operating in 2011, though a specific date has not been announced.

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In Unexpected Move, Black Hills Freezes Its Solar Rebate in Colorado

Black Hills Energy, a Colorado utility company, on Monday announced the suspension of it solar energy rebate program through the end of the year, issuing the following notice on its website:

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Big Solar Power Plant in Pima County, Arizona 'Flips the Switch'

Posted by GetSolar Staff In Wednesday, October 20 2010 under: solar development, solar plant, Arizona Solar, SunEdison, MEMC, Pima County, Utility Solar

The Maryland-based solar energy services company SunEdison is continuing to expand its business. In late August, for example, the company -- a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials -- partnered with AT&T to bring a 2-megawatt (MW) solar rooftop system to Southern California's San Diego County. This one installation alone will produce roughly 420,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar energy in its first year, enough to power the equivalent of forty typical American homes for a year.

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Proposed Cut to Los Angeles Solar Rebate Could Raise Cost of Going Solar

Los Angeles homeowners: your solar rebates may be on the chopping block.

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Somerset County Solar Energy Project On Its Way in New Jersey

Somerset County in central New Jersey may well become the most solar-powered county in the country.

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MIT Lab Could Bring Us 'Solar Blinds'

Massachusetts Institute of Technology is tinkering with another creative solution to their daunting research task of improving solar energy. Just one month ago, they announced regenerative solar cells, a type of solar cell mimicking plant cells' regenerative abilities to keep their efficiency high in the face of sun damage. Now, MIT has produced a paper-thin solar cell that could be used to cover windows.

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New Windows to Save Empire State $4.4 Million a Year in Energy Costs

Four separate organizations are teaming to make energy efficiency improvements to the Empire State Building - one of the most historic and widely recognized landmarks in the United States.

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Envision Solar to Provide Solar Carports for Chevy Volt

Envision Solar has enjoyed a number of early successes. The San Diego-based start-up has erected its solar-powered carports models at Kyocera, the University of San Diego and a local McDonald's. Now, Envision has caught its first big fish in the industry.

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Solar Energy Heats Up Arizona Political Campaigns

Posted by GetSolar Staff In Monday, October 18 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Politics, Arizona Solar, government, Energy Policy

As mid-term elections approach, the race in Arizona for the state's 8th Congressional District seat is demonstrating the growing role clean energy plays in Arizona's political landscape -- and beyond.

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Ikea California to Add 20,000 Solar Panels at Locations Statewide

Sweden-based Ikea, the home furnishing company, is poised to do more for better living than cut you a sweet deal on that perfect folding table for your corner office.

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Owners of Solar Panels in Hawaii to Benefit from Feed-In Tariff

Posted by Adam Sewall In Friday, October 15 2010 under: HPUC, Solar Energy Incentives, Hawaii Solar, Solar Power Info, Feed In Tariff

Hawaii's plans for a feed-in tariff -- which have been in the works for quite some time -- are one step closer to being realized, thanks to a decision Wednesday by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (HPUC). The decision is part of a broad push in Hawaii to get 40 percent of the state's electricity from renewable resources by 2030.

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First 'Solar Jobs Census' Highlights Successes of Arizona, Others

A new report was released yesterday showing that the solar energy industry continues to create jobs, even as unemployment remains high across the country.

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Solar Power 101: How Does a Solar Panel Generate Electricity?

It sounds miraculous to say that the right combination of metals can create electricity just from laying out in the sun. For anyone who's ever wondered about this, here's a brief explanation aimed at non-engineers.

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Salazar Signs Off On Nevada Solar Power Project

Posted by GetSolar Staff In Thursday, October 14 2010 under: solar development, Solar Industry News, Nevada Solar, SPI, Energy Policy

U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar ushered in the second full day of the 2010 Solar Power International (SPI) expo on Wednesday by signing off on the first large-scale solar energy project to be built on public land in Nevada.

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Solar Power 101: What the Heck Is An SREC?

If you've noodled around on the Web looking for information on residential solar energy systems, you may have come across something called a "Solar Renewable Energy Credit" -- or SREC (pronounced "S wreck") for short. Since SRECs help make solar panels a great investment in some states, we figured it might be helpful to explain what these credits are and how they work.

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SunPower Starts Building Arizona Solar Power System for Macy's

Posted by GetSolar Staff In Wednesday, October 13 2010 under: solar development, SunPower, Solar Industry News, Arizona Solar, Solar PV Panels

SunPower Corporation, a leading manufacturer of solar panels, will soon improve Arizona's already impressive solar power portfolio. The company has started construction of a 3.5-megawatt (MW) solar energy system atop the Macy's fulfillment center in Goodyear, Arizona. When completed, it will be the largest single-rooftop solar energy system in the U.S., according to a company statement.

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Feed-In Tariff Discussion Continues, In California and At SPI

Solar energy advocates at Solar Power International (SPI) this week are likely to promote the creation of a feed-in tariff program as an effective way for California -- and other states -- to generate more solar energy.

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Dupont Debating Venture into Solar Shingle Industry

Posted by GetSolar Staff In Tuesday, October 12 2010 under: Solar Shingles, Solar Industry News, Solar News, Solar Technology

After repeatedly denying it aims to compete with a solar shingle product set to be released in 2011 by Dow Chemical, Dupont, which currently manufactures secondary solar materials, hinted to Reuters on Monday that it may be stepping up to the challenge after all.

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Arizona to Promote Its Solar Power Initiatives at SPI

This Tuesday will usher in one of the most important weeks of the year for the solar industry as Solar Power International (SPI)2011 lights up the Los Angeles Convention Center in for the first of three days. And when the convention commences, representatives from the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), the state electric utility APS, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and leaders from several other Arizona cities will be there, working to highlight a number of statewide initiatives that have played a pivotal role in creating a solar manufacturing industry ripe with new, clean energy jobs throughout the desert state.

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Tessera Submits Second Proposal for Colorado Solar Plant

After having its initial proposal for a 200-megawatt (MW) solar facility in Colorado's San Luis Valley rebuffed on account of noise concerns from neighbors, Houston-based Tessera Solar is trying again. This time, the utility scale solar developer is proposing a 145-MW plant in the same Saguache County region.

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Energy, Quality of Life, and the Transition to Renewables

Posted by Annie Lindseth In Saturday, October 9 2010 under: Solar Industry News, John Watson, Fossil Fuels, Energy Policy, Chevron

Chevron CEO John Watson gave an interesting interview for the Wall Street Journal this week on the role of renewable energy in the current energy marketplace. Like most people offering opinions on the subject, Mr. Watson has a bias based on his role. He may not be the world's greatest renewable energy advocate, but his perspective on changes in the energy market is still worth considering -- and debating. A few highlights:

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California Governor Schwarzenegger Declares October 'Solar Energy Month'

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared October "Solar Energy Month" in California, the state with the most installed solar energy capacity in the nation. To help celebrate, the utility Southern California Edison (SCE) will host several events around California throughout the month.

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San Diego Solar Installer Launches Military Discount Program

Stellar Solar, a San Diego-based solar power installation company, today announced the launch of a new program that offers a discount on residential solar energy systems for active and retired members of the armed services in San Diego County. The news comes amid an on-going discussion in the Pentagon -- and beyond -- about how to best reduce the military's dependence on fossil fuels.

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Solar Power Project at Former Coal Mine To Create Jobs in Ohio

Southeast Ohio, a region whose economy is heavily dependent upon coal mining, will soon be home to an enormous solar energy installation. Slated for construction at the site of an old coal mine, the project offers a timely juxtaposition, placing a clean energy facility atop the former source of a conventional, dirty fuel.

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SunPower to Measure, Report its Carbon Footprint

We talk a lot on this blog about how solar panels can cut monthly electricity costs and, in some states (like New Jersey, California, Arizona, Hawaii, Colorado and Pennsylvania) offer homeowners a stunningly attractive return on investment. Sometimes it's worth remembering, however, that solar panels produce clean, emissions-free electricity. In other words, solar power can be good for your checkbook and for the environment.

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PG&E Gets CPUC Approval for SoCal Solar Thermal Project

Posted by GetSolar Staff In Thursday, October 7 2010 under: solar development, Solar Industry News, Solar Thermal, PGE, California Solar

Last December, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced a 25-year power purchasing agreement (PPA) with California-based SolarReserve, through which the utility would buy the power generated by SolarReserve's Rice Solar Energy Project in Riverside County, California. Yet for nearly a year, construction of the plant has stalled as the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) held off on approving the long-term PPA.

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In Arizona, SRP Solar Rebate Put On Hold Until 2011

Here we go again... Yet another solar energy rebate program will be put on hold due to high demand. The latest victim is the EarthWise solar rebate program from Salt River Project (SRP), an Arizona utility.

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Solar Power Projects OK'd for Construction on Public Land

After months of debate over whether U.S. public land should be used to harness renewable energy, the Department of the Interior weighed in by approving two large-scale solar energy projects in California.

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White House Rethinks, Will Install Solar Panels Again

A little over a month ago, a group of students started lugging a Jimmy Carter-era solar hot water panel from Unity College in Maine to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. The aim of their 630-mile journey? Convince the Obama administration to install solar panels on the White House. At the time, their idea -- which was shared by a host of other individuals and organizations -- was rebuffed.

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Solar-Powered Pharmacy Unveiled in Western Colorado

If you're in Western Colorado, you now have the option of picking up your meds at the region's first solar-powered pharmacy.

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Cal Poly Pomona Upgrades Solar Installation in California

Cal Poly Pomona University in southern California has taken another step toward its ultimate goal: becoming a carbon neutral campus by 2030.

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Annual Tour to Showcase San Diego Solar Homes

The 15th Annual National Solar Tour, the world's "largest grassroots solar event," is set to kickoff today across the country as solar-powered homes and businesses will open their doors to the public. Sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), the tours showcase how photovoltaic (PV) panels and solar hot water systems can help cut electricity bills and reduce reliance on carbon-based sources of energy.

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APS, Solon to Build a Big Arizona Solar Power Plant

Arizona is at it again. A state that accounts for well over half of all of the solar manufacturing facilities in the United States now has a plan to build one of the country's largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants within its borders.

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