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Why solar companies are not high-tech companies

Despite the ongoing incremental improvements in conversion efficiencies and cost reduction taking place in the solar manufacturing community, it would be a stretch to call most of the players truly “high tech.” Industry executives like Trina Solar’s Jifan Gao can tout his company’s “emphasis on technology breakthroughs” and its efforts to “remain at the forefront […]

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South African solar surge

If Nelson Mandela were alive today, he would be proud of the rapid growth of solar power in his beloved South Africa. It’s been nearly a year since he passed away last December 5, and during that time, several hundred megawatts of photovoltaic projects have moved from the developmental pipeline to actively converting photons into […]

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Making the jump from residential to commercial solar

A growing number of residential solar installers are expanding their services to offer commercial solar projects. This additional service helps to diversify and expand the company’s topline revenues and can provide a compelling opportunity in a period of declining system prices. However, these new commercial jobs represent both an opportunity and a challenge. On the […]

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Planting the solar crop

As solar value proposition analogies go, this one’s a doozy. “I was explaining the concept of solar to a farmer, and I used the following analogy,” explains Mike Schmerl of Harvest Energy Solutions. “It’s a crop that he plants once, never waters, never fertilizes, that produces revenues for 30 years.” The quote comes from the […]

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Solar-powered chimps

When Jane Goodall’s name comes up in conversation or media coverage, most people think of her groundbreaking studies of chimpanzees as well as her tireless efforts to preserve not just our ape cousins but this glorious planet of ours for future generations. However, the beloved anthropologist and her organizations are not the first that come […]

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Intersolar Europe 2014 redux: American dreams

During my previous visits to Intersolar Europe, I had always attended with my EU hat firmly on, having been based out of and travelling from the U.K. This year’s show marked my first visit to Messe Munchen since I had moved Stateside last year, so I entered Europe’s largest solar exhibition with a different mindset. […]

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Intersolar Europe 2014: Stories from the show floor

MUNICH–After missing Intersolar Europe for the first time in five years in 2013, I’ve been looking forward to visiting the Messe München for many months. Over the course of the first two days, the show has not disappointed. While exhibitor numbers are down over recent years, the show is still viewed as the premier European event […]

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Solar fault reduction

The prompt resolution of photovoltaic plant faults and incidents is one of the most critical functions of a solar operations and maintenance (O&M) program. Incidents can have an immediate impact, and depending on their frequency, they can be a stubborn obstacle to achieving the operational optimization of PV assets. Incident handling is thus a key […]

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Whole lotta disruption goin’ on

PHOENIX–Disruption may be a dirty word for certain status quo lovers and stability devotees, but among the true believers in the solar power cadre, we likes us our disruption in both its evolutionary and revolutionary forms. Admittedly, use of the term has grown a bit tiresome. Though it’s less accurate in some respects, albeit a […]

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Solar prank sucker

They dangled the bait in the water, and like a sucker, I bit. I should have known better than to engage so early in my day. The pranksters at Tigo Energy had me going for a few minutes with their clever, solar-geek-specific April Fools’ Day gag. The headline read: “Tigo Energy is Pleased to Announce […]

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