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A PV system on every roof

Like many in the solar community, the Curator believes that every new residence built in the United States should have a PV power system installed on its roof. Now, a city in the Southern California desert has made that the law. The city council of Lancaster, a burg of 150,000 in north Los Angeles County, […]

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Solar-powered conversations

A pair of fresh-baked interview-features from the solar realm point the microphone at a corporate chief executive and industry pioneer/certification program cofounder. The San Jose Mercury News’ Dana Hull, one of the best mainstream- media reporters covering the cleantech sector, spoke with Ahmad Chatila, president/CEO of MEMC/SunEdison. Here’s what he had to say about the […]

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Solar for Alice

There may be other solar PV test beds with the number and variety of solar modules and balance-of-system configurations as the Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre in Alice Springs, but I’ve yet to find any other facilities that publicly share their side-by-side, nonanonymous performance data via the Web. Established in 2008 with federal government funding, […]

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Lamination consternation

Few pieces of solar production equipment are more ubiquitous—and important—as the lamination systems installed in module manufacturing facilities. But like the other suppliers of photovoltaic process and assembly machinery, the laminator vendors have been getting hammered of late, watching nervously as the current global PV production capacity glut turns their once-flush order books into so […]

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Clearing the air

Suntech-inspired solar sector shakiness has prompted at least one other Chinese PV manufacturer to clear the air about its own debts. Bloomberg and PV-Tech report that JA Solar COO Jie Xian said his company is definitely ready to repay $120 million in convertible note debt when it comes due May 15. There will be “’negative […]

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Things fall apart

For any electrical and mechanical system, failure is always an option. At some point, sooner or later, something’s going to go south. This axiom applies to solar power systems as well. Even the best-designed and ruggedly-built PV array will eventually need to have something tweaked, fixed, replaced, or updated—even if 10, 15, or 20 years […]

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Solarizona success stories

Few areas of the world have more solar energy potential or a more active local solar industry than Arizona. That potential is starting to be tapped, as the state ranked second overall in 2012 with more than 710MW of new installed capacity, according to the new “U.S. Solar Market Insight Report” issued by Greentech Media […]

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Taking solar to extremes

It might not quite be solar at the North Pole, but a nine-month-old PV installation in Greenland comes pretty darn close to that most remote of locales. The story behind the custom-designed, hand-built vertical array at Summit Station appears in the March 2013 edition of Solar Today, the publication of the American Solar Energy Society […]

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Solar industry vicissitudes

The top two stories of the latest news cycle exemplify the recent vicissitudes of the global solar energy industry. Reflecting the current positive attitude in much of the downstream market, the buoyant U.S. installation data for 2012 show a growth rate of 76% last year and an optimistic outlook for 2013. On the other end […]

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Solar in the English countryside

A few years ago, a 4.5MW PV installation was a big deal in the United Kingdom. When Marston Solar Farm in Lincolnshire was completed and connected to the grid in the summer of 2011, it stood out as a pioneering site. Using 30 acres of rented low-grade agricultural lands from Westfield Farm, the ground-mounted system […]

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