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Arizona a Growing Hot Spot for Solar, Renewable Energy Companies

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, July 6 2011 under: Suntech, First Solar, Solar PV Panels, Solar Manufacturing

Blessed with lots of sunshine, Arizona is a great place to install solar panels. Thanks to a pro-business climate and its close proximity to big markets, like California, the state is turning out to be a great place to make solar panels, too.

Consider that the two world's two biggest solar panel manufacturers have Arizona-based operations: thin-film maker First Solar has long called Tempe home, while Suntech, a China-based company, opened shop in the Phoenix area last October. All told, Arizona is home to more than 100 "significant solar energy businesses," according to PV Magazine.

The uptick in business has been welcomed. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession, many governors took up job creation as a top priority. Perhaps more than in any other state, Arizona officials have enacted policies intended to encourage renewable energy companies to set up instate operations.

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Big Solar Power Project at Denver Federal Center Nears Completion

Posted by Adam Sewall In Tuesday, June 28 2011 under: Denver, Colorado Solar, Federal, Solar PV Panels

If you've heard of the U.S. General Service Administration (GSA), chances are you associate it with things like internal audits, paperwork and government oversight. Not solar power, in other words.

Thanks to an innovative series of energy- and efficiency-related projects, however, the administration may succeed in livening up its reputation.

Work is nearing an end on a nearly 7-megawatt (MW) solar project at GSA's Denver Federal Center. When combined with a 1.2-MW solar park that was installed in 2007, the entire project will meet more than 15 percent of the center's annual electricity needs -- about the equivalent amount needed to power 1,000 typical American homes for a year.

“GSA has made great strides over the years reducing energy consumption in buildings and we are well under way in turning our vision of becoming the greenest campus by 2020 into a reality,” said Susan Damour, GSA Rocky Mountain Regional Administrator. “The past couple of years have been an unprecedented opportunity for GSA to help create and sustain jobs all across the country.”

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23,000 Solar Panels to be Installed Across San Diego School District

With its ample sunshine and relatively high electricity rates, southern California offers what are arguable the country's most favorable conditions for solar power. The decision makers at San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) seem to understand this -- and are aiming to take advantage.

In partnership with AMSOLAR Corporation, SDUSD will see some 23,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels installed atop 80 roofs at 22 sites across San Diego. At 5 megawatts (MW) in size, the system as a whole is expected to provide 64 percent of the required electricity for each site, while generating 11 percent of SDUSD district-wide electricity consumption.

Like most larger-scale solar power projects in the commercial and government sector, the San Diego Unified School District project will be completed under the terms of a power purchase agreement (PPA),

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Samsung to Release New Solar Power Netbook with 14-Hour Battery

Posted by Adam Sewall In Tuesday, June 21 2011 under: Samsung, Solar Gadgets, Solar PV Panels, Solar Laptop

It must be the year of the solar laptop. Or something...

Earlier this month, we relayed a few images of a solar-powered laptop concept by Italian designer Andrea Ponti.

Not to be outdone, Samsung yesterday confirmed that it will soon offer a solar-powered netbook in the U.S., parts of Africa and Russia.

Equipped with solar cells in its cover, the Samsung NC215S will gain an hour of battery life for every two hours spent charging in the sun. Under perfect conditions, Samsung says the netbook's battery will last for 14 hours.

Matt Warman, Consumer Technology Editor of the Telegraph, has more:

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U.S. Solar Energy Industry Continues 'Record Growth'

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, June 16 2011 under: Solar Industry News, GTM Research, Solar PV Panels, SEIA

Growth in U.S. solar energy installations remains strong -- very strong.

That's according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which together recently released their quarterly report showing that two-thirds more solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity was added in the first quarter of this year than during Q1 of 2010. At the start of April, the cumulative size of all grid-tied solar installations stood at 2.85 gigawatts -- enough oomph to power about 600,000 U.S. homes.

Nearly half of all solar-panel systems were installed in sunny California, with about one-sixth in New Jersey, the country's second-biggest solar market. The rest were installed in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Colorado, New York and other states.

Beyond the growing number of solar installations, the report

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Solar Powered Computer Could Become 'Greenest Laptop Ever Made'

We've seen a slew of solar-powered chargers designed for use with personal electronics. Here's but one example. But how about getting rid of all the plug-in peripherals and instead go with a laptop that runs entirely on solar power?

That seems to be the goal of Andrea Ponti, an Italy-based industrial designer.

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'Revolutionary' New Solar Energy System Picked Up By Several Home Builders

The most efficient solar photovoltaic (PV) panel on the market today is capable of turning about 20 percent of the sun's energy into electricity. This number is slowly but surely increasing, as technology continually improves. But in an ideal world, solar panels would convert a larger portion of the sun ray's into useful energy.

On this topic, EchoFirst may be onto something. In addition to using sunlight to generate electrical power, as conventional PV panels do, the company's energy system captures the sun's thermal energy, which may then be used for heating water and home air conditioning.

The result, according to the company, is a system that operates at around 50 percent efficiency. Here's more on how it works:

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NYC to Get New Green Loan Program, Solar Panels On Landfills

Despite perceptions to the contrary, New York City is by some measures the most environmentally friendly city in America:

"Eighty-two per cent of Manhattan residents travel to work by public transit, by bicycle, or on foot. That’s ten times the rate for Americans in general, and eight times the rate for residents of Los Angeles County. New York City is more populous than all but eleven states; if it were granted statehood, it would rank fifty-first in per-capita energy use."

Admittedly, these green credentials

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5 Reasons Solar Power Beats the Pants Off Coal

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, April 7 2011 under: Solar PV Panels, Coal

Looking at the following chart, it's pretty clear we get way more of our electricity from coal than we do from solar power. I mean, solar doesn't even show up when compared to the Goliath that is coal:

Crazy, huh?

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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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