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Saudi solar enters critical phase

Few places in the world have all the critical elements needed to create a profitable solar power market, but Saudi Arabia stands out as one of them. From vast deserts that can accommodate large installations and high solar resources that guarantee maximum energy yields, to adequate financial resources and a well-established construction industry—the Kingdom has […]

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Time, motion, and solar installation labor efficiency

With Intersolar North America 2014 now behind us, many attendees and industry media reflected that it was a smaller, more focused show. For example, instead of the dozens and dozens of nondifferentiable Chinese module manufacturers of years past, there were fewer, mostly larger recognized companies. The presence of solar thermal product lines was also significantly […]

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Intersolar North America 2014: Manufacturing bullishness

SAN FRANCISCO—For those laboring in the photovoltaic equipment manufacturing business, the recent signs of growth and purchasing activity in the customer base as well as sturdy end-market demand provide reasons to be bullish. At the SEMI PV Manufacturing Forum held in conjunction with Intersolar North America 2014, IHS analyst and conference moderator Jon Campos shared […]

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Concentrator photovoltaics tipping point?

Some 250 academics and technologists from 23 countries gathered in Albuquerque, NM, at the recent 10th International Conference on Concentrator Photovoltaic Systems (CPV-10) to discuss the state of CPV technology and deployment. Since its inception in 2002, the “CPV-x” conference series has operated as a nonprofit, with the aim of maintaining an intimate, collegial feel […]

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Where solar soft costs rule

ANAHEIM, CA–The upbeat mood at this week’s SunShot Grand Challenge Summit was not a big surprise to those who’ve been tracking the U.S. Department of Energy’s solar initiative to drive costs down by 75% to 6 cents or less per kilowatt-hour by 2020. Although the aspirationally titled, innovation-focused program can’t take full credit for the […]

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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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Agua Caliente state of mind

To call the Agua Caliente solar power plant “majestic” might be a stretch, but the sight of such a vast PV expanse does inspire more than a little awe. When I visited the construction site in September 2011, the project was well under way, with several dozen megawatts of First Solar cadmium telluride thin-film PV […]

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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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Second to none

The market analyst term “lumpiness” has a certain tactility to it, a suggestion of inconsistency that suits the uneven economic conditions that it describes. But just because an industrial sector might be lumpy, that doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy or in trouble. So when the team at GTM Research and SEIA who coauthored the new “U.S. […]

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Terawatt hours of power

This week’s solar news and commentary docket has been a solid one—PV on the White House, record-breaking c-Si cell results from Bosch and ISFH, biggest Enphase microinverter installation yet, signs of life in the production equipment sector, Jinko’s profitable quarter, and nine-digit M&A activity courtesy of SolarCity. But arguably the most compelling story comes from Germany, […]

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