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Streamlining solar soft costs for small installers

My recent poster presentation from Solar Power International 2014, “Using Seven Forms of Waste and Critical Path Method to Lower Residential Solar Soft Costs,” lays out a methodology that residential solar installers can use to help them most effectively target soft cost reductions. This methodology pulls best practices from automobile manufacturing and other industries as […]

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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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Millions of residential solar rooftops

Before the speeches by Sen. Harry Reid and DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz bookended the industry executive panel during the second general session at this year’s Solar Power International in Las Vegas, a slick aspirational video kept the audience’s attention and caught my eye. Rather than hitting the viewer over the head with a heavy commercial […]

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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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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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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: A better tracker mousetrap

With more than a quarter-century in the solar biz, Dan Shugar doesn’t have to count his years of photovoltaic experience in dog years. But the ol’ dog does have a few new tricks up his sleeve. After a run as CEO of low-concentrator PV firm Solaria, the one-time president of pioneering solar integrator Powerlight now […]

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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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IEEE PVSC turns 40

Having hit the big 4-0, the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC) may have reached middle age, but this year showed no signs of slowing down. The IEEE PVSC 2014 edition, which was held June 8-13 in Denver, had over 1500 attendees and celebrated many key technological advancements, including a pair of particularly significant achievements: for […]

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