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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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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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Solar trouble Down Under

In recent weeks there have been various examples of just how much impact politics continues to have on the solar industry. In the U.K., the fallout from the government’s enforced incentive switch from the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme to Contracts for Difference (CFD) and resultant legal battle rumbles on. In India, what would be the […]

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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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Taking stock of SolarCity

There’s a lot of discussion these days about the future of SolarCity. No one has the privilege of a crystal ball, but many are making predictions. None are saying with any certainty, though, how they think the company will fare in the long run. SolarCity is certainly experiencing a mixed state of affairs. It recently […]

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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: U.S. solar market outlook

The numbers don’t lie. The growth of the U.S. solar market has been phenomenal over the past few years, with the annual installation rate soaring toward 10GW within the next year or two. But behind the upwardly mobile statistics lies a simple truth: the massive increase in solar penetration has taken place in a handful […]

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The SolarCity-Silevo surprise

The reverberations of the blockbuster news of the SolarCity-Silevo surprise acquisition deal extend well beyond the solar community, with the Wall Streeters in particular scrambling to put their spins on the implications. When Elon Musk speaks, people listen—and then fall all over themselves to contextualize and analyze what he says. He is, after all, the […]

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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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