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Three’s a crowd

You know it’s earnings season when three key companies announce their results and hold their conference calls in a single day, as was the case Tuesday, Feb. 26. Solar industry leaders First Solar and Trina Solar brought out the big quarterly and year-end numbers for (slightly) better (First) or worse (Trina), while microinverter mavens Enphase […]

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Hit me with your best SunShot

One of the ongoing legacies of outgoing U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu is the SunShot Initiative, the DOE (via its EERE unit) effort to invest in and fertilize solar research, manufacturing, and market growth and development in the United States in order to achieve cost competitiveness with nonrenewable forms of energy. The successful program has […]

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Going the extra mile for solar

Curator kudos to Herman Trabish, who certainly went the extra mile, or in his case “60 flights of stairs and three floors of exterior ladders in a snowstorm,” to get the shot and the story for his Greentech Media report on SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes concentrating solar power (CSP) plant under construction near Tonopah, NV. Several […]

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Landfills love the sun

The idea of “landfill-based solar projects” has a certain pleasing ring to it, a kind of synergistic repurposing of funky brownfields, trash dumps, and Superfund or other contaminated zones for the installation and generation of the cleanest, most renewable energy of all. A new post on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “It’s Our Environment” blog […]

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Megawatt-scale microinverters

Most of my solar colleagues have migrated to the microinverter camp when it comes to residential PV and small commercial systems, especially for shade- or orientation-challenged rooftops where the compact power electronics devices’ energy performance enhancement and monitoring capabilities shine. Some wonder, if the numbers pencil out (as they increasingly do), why any installer would […]

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Photovoltaic proliferation

The proliferation of new solar markets just seems to accelerate on a weekly basis, at least on the developmental level. During the Solar Power-Gen conference in San Diego last week, I spoke with power industry folks from Colombia and Nigeria, two petroleum-addicted countries not usually listed among up-and-coming PV markets, who were there exploring how […]

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Utility-scale PV built in two minutes

Surrounded by a patchwork of agricultural plots, a different sort of farm harvests the sun’s energy in the Arizona desert 30 miles southeast of Phoenix. The Queen Creek Solar Farm, a 19MW (AC)/25.2MW (DC) system commissioned in fall 2012 and supplying power under a 20-year PPA to the Salt River Project grid, features some 90,000 […]

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What’s coming in crystalline starts with ‘n’

The crystalline-silicon manufacturing community faces a dilemma: to invest in R&D for next-generation technologies or focus scarce capital on squeezing costs and performance out of existing lines while implementing incremental improvements. Of course, companies committed to the long run, which can see that distant light at the end of the consolidation/overcapacitization/biz cycle tunnel, will try […]

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One hundred gigawatts and counting

Milestones aplenty line solar’s prodigious growth path over the past half-decade or so, but few have more heft than the 100GW mark. In a new global market outlook issued by the European Photovoltaics Industry Association (EPIA) and reported on by a growing number of media outlets, the trade group says the cumulative amount of solar […]

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Sharia-compliant solar

Here are two words that most industry observers have likely never seen before in a story about a solar project: “sharia compliant.” For those used to hearing the term in the context of the harsh measures enacted against thieves and others who deviate from certain Islamic fundamentalists’ narrow definitions of “the law,” they may not […]

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