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Not just any port in the solar storm

The depressed state of the PV production equipment sector has been well chronicled by the Curator and elsewhere. Few companies are adding or updating capacity, both on the crystalline silicon and thin-film PV fronts, and tool firms’ bookings (let alone billings) remain very light. Announcements of production orders are few and far between, so when […]

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The laugh-cry polarity

One thing most denizens of the diverse solar community share is a sense of humor. That doesn’t mean all of you are funny–hilarious maybe, but not funny–yet most I’ve met do appreciate a good laugh, have a bit of an irreverent or sick streak, and are capable of at least a smile and roll o’ […]

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Currents of innovation

Times continue to be turbulent upstream in the solar industry river, yet encouraging currents of photovoltaic innovation, both incremental and disruptive, still emanate from laboratories, R&D centers, early-stage companies, and even some stalwart top-tier survivors. The conversion efficiency contest has seen a bubbling of activity of late, as record numbers have been set for flexible […]

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Upstream distress, downstream success

The solar industry has a split personality, a dual identity, a yin to the other’s yang.  The sector’s troubled technology and manufacturing upstreamers feel like they’re locked in an existential struggle for survival while the deeply-dimpled downstreamers celebrate their relative success around the increasing affordability and accelerating deployment of solar. Though the stark contrast may […]

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‘One light, waking up rooftops’

Many in the solar/renewable/greentech continuum have praised President Obama’s inauguration speech nod to the fight against climate change and the critical need for the U.S. to play a major role in clean energy development.  “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and […]

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Resource assessment for the world

The virtual toolkit for solar technologists, developers, and policymakers has a shiny new addition that will not only be useful for global professionals but also will likely become a source of entertainment for many cleantech geeks around the planet. The Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has just launched the “Global Atlas for Solar […]

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L.A. FiT to be (grid) tied

One of the biggest solar power stories so far this year is happening in my backyard. No, I’m not designing an ostentatious ground-mount, tracker-equipped array with next-generation panels around and between our lemon and orange trees; my utility company, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, has kicked off the largest feed-in tariff of […]

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The power of Mesquite

The news that the 150MW (AC) Mesquite Solar One has come online is not just notable because the Zachry-built, Suntech-equipped project sited west of Phoenix joins the triple-digit ranks of the largest operational PV power plants on the planet and will be generating enough power to serve the needs of about 56,000 PG&E service area […]

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Training days

The performance of a photovoltaic array is as much a function of the expertise of the folks who designed and installed the system as the supposed quality of the modules, inverters, and BOS elements. If the installation team doesn’t really have the training and experience chops, the solar results on the roof can be underwhelming–or […]

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What’s past is prologue

The annual calendar transition elicited the usual array of year-end reviews and look-forward previews, as content-rich news and analysis sites noted their most-read posts and solar prognosticators of various stripes weighed in with their viewpoints for the months ahead. Pure-play photovoltaics portal PV-Tech saw solar shakeout stories dominate its leading news stories of 2012, Renewable […]

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