Is Rent-to-Own Solar Power the Answer?

Jason Overdorf for SMITHSONIAN.COM:  For a little more than a year, the family has been supplementing the sporadic electricity the village gets from the grid with solar energy, thanks to a new pay-as-you-go business model pioneered by Canadian entrepreneur Paul Needham and his company, Simpa Networks. Call it “rent-to-own solar.” Needham is a serial tech entrepreneur whose online advertising company BidClix made its way into the portfolio of Microsoft. As a doctoral student in economics at Cambridge, he was obsessed with the reasons customers will shell out for certain products and not others. One of the questions that always bugged him was, “Why don’t I own solar panels?” The reason, he determined, was the high up-front costs. Imagine if mobile phone service was sold like solar energy. From an operator’s perspective, it would have made great sense to try to sell customers 10 years of phone calls in advance, so as to quickly earn back the money invested in building cell towers. But the person who suggested such a strategy would have been fired immediately, Needham says. “You want to charge people for what they value, not the technology that’s providing it,” he says in a telephone interview.   Cont'd...

Special News Report for Solar Power International 2016

New product announcements and news from SPI 2016. Post your company news or read about what others are doing at the show.

Increasing the Storage Capacity of Lithium Batteries

BioSolar is developing electrode material technologies to increase the storage capacity, lower the cost and extend the life of lithium-ion batteries.

Why large-scale wind power is so hard to build

Michael McDonald, Oilprice.com via USA Today :  he Bureau of Land Management faces a problem and wants to shake up the rules around wind farm approvals. The problem is straight-forward on its face, but difficult to reconcile logically: Why are so few new large-scale wind projects being built? Despite the fact that nearly everyone – environmentalists, government regulators, and business interests –wants to build more wind farms, precious few are making it over the goal line. Since 2009, the Obama Administration has approved 46 wind farm projects that would cover a proposed 216,356 acres of public land. Yet only 15 of these 46 projects have made it into operation. The rest are stuck in limbo with years of mandatory environmental analysis ahead or have been cancelled outright.   Cont'd...

Solarodo - New and Used Solar Equipment Marketplace

We want to use the experience we gained in Europe and create the platform with the biggest product variety in the US.

Transparent solar panels are 50 times more productive than regular photovoltaics

Luke Dormehl for DigitalTrends:  As the term “regular windows” suggests, users don’t have to replace the existing windows in their home, but need only treat them with a special process developed by the company. “We apply liquid coatings to glass and plastic surfaces at ambient pressure, and dry these coatings at low temperature to produce transparent films,” Conklin continued. “We repeat these processes, and then collectively these coatings — and thus the glass and plastic surfaces — generate electricity.” Of these coatings, the most important is the so-called “Active Layer,” through which electricity is generated by the absorption of light, and the transparent conductors, which allow the electricity to be extracted. “[The] coatings are primarily organic, primarily from carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen,” Conklin said. “We are constantly refining each of the layers to improve on the power we’re able to extract from these coatings and enhance their manufacturability.”   Cont'd...

Solar cell is more efficient, costs less than its counterparts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via Science Daily:  A team of researchers from MIT and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology may have found a way around this seemingly intractable tradeoff between efficiency and cost. The team has developed a new solar cell that combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material to harvest a broader range of the sun's energy. The researchers call the device a "step cell," because the two layers are arranged in a stepwise fashion, with the lower layer jutting out beneath the upper layer, in order to expose both layers to incoming sunlight. Such layered, or "multijunction," solar cells are typically expensive to manufacture, but the researchers also used a novel, low-cost manufacturing process for their step cell. The team's step-cell concept can reach theoretical efficiencies above 40 percent and estimated practical efficiencies of 35 percent, prompting the team's principal investigators -- Masdar Institute's Ammar Nayfeh, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and MIT's Eugene Fitzgerald, the Merton C. Flemings-SMA Professor of Materials Science and Engineering -- to plan a startup company to commercialize the promising solar cell.   Cont'd...

NREL Research Puts the Wind at an Industry's Back

NREL's ultimate goal in this testing is to foster the technological developments necessary for wider deployment of wind energy in the marketplace at the lowest cost possible.

Indian Scientists Design Solar Tree to Save Space for Solar Power Generation

Anjana Pasricha for VOA News:  Indian scientists have designed a “solar tree” that they hope will help overcome one of the key challenges the country faces in the generation of solar power. With photovoltaic panels placed at different levels on branches made of steel, “solar trees” could dramatically reduce the amount of land needed to develop solar parks. “It takes about four-square meters of space to produce energy which otherwise would have required 400 square meters of space. So almost 100 times the space is saved, which as you know is very valuable,” said Daljit Singh Bedi, chief scientist at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in New Delhi, whose laboratory in Kolkata developed the tree. A scarce resource in India, acquisition of land to develop roads, factories and other infrastructure is a sensitive issue that has led to frequent and sometimes violent protests from displaced people.  Cont'd...

San Bernardino County rejects a controversial solar power plant proposed for the Mojave Desert

Louis Sahagun for The LA Times:  The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has rejected a controversial solar plant proposed for the Mojave Desert’s Soda Mountains, citing concerns that the project would destroy habitat and block ancient trails used by bighorn sheep for thousands of years. In a 3-2 vote, the board on Tuesday declined to certify documents required under state law in order to issue county permits for the project on public land along Interstate 15 near the entrances to Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park, and less than a mile from the Mojave National Preserve. “We endorse renewable energy, but this was the wrong project in the wrong location,” said Supervisor Robert A. Lovingood.   Cont'd...

A Danish Wind Turbine Maker Harnesses Data in a Push to Stay Ahead

Stanley Reed for The New York Times:  A project to install hundreds of wind turbines in the Fosen peninsula area of Norway at one point was shelved as unfeasible. The strong breezes that whip off the sea can shift and swing unpredictably, while the soaring cliffs and steep drop-offs create turbulence that wears out expensive equipment. The venture was rescued with a lot of help from the mathematical calculations of Vestas Wind Systems, a Danish wind power company.  Vestas used data to figure out how to use more powerful turbines for the project, and precisely where to place them. That meant the utility developing the facility could buy fewer turbines, helping cut costs and balancing the economics of the $1.2 billion project. The company is at the forefront of efforts to make wind a competitive source of energy, rather than just a subsidized experiment. In doing so, it has become a model for the renewables industry, which has struggled at times to remain viable while facing cuts to government subsidies and volatile oil and gas prices.  Vestas understands the fickleness of the renewable energy business.   Cont'd...

SPI 2016 - Don't Miss The Solar Power International Show

This show is ideal for solar installers, contractors, commercial builders, utility companies, smart home builders, engineering firms and product developers. Of course, anytime is a good time to visit Vegas. So, don't miss this show.

Q2 2016 Deal Volume Comparison

Overall, solar companies categorized as wafer/ingot producers experienced the strongest margin performance over the last year, while each sector exhibited certain levels of improvement.

SolarCity to develop roofs made of solar cells

Lucas Mearian for ComputerWorld:  Five million roofs are replaced each year in the U.S., so instead of simply swapping out old shingles with new ones, why not turn the whole roof into a solar power generator that's integrated with your home's electrical utility? That is SolarCity's plan for a new product it expects to begin producing next year, according to statements made during the company's second-quarter earnings calllast week. During the call, SolarCity Chief Technology Officer Peter Rive alluded to a new product that would be produced at the soon to open Buffalo, N.Y., solar panel manufacturing facility. Then SolarCity co-founder and Chairman Elon Musk interjected and said the product would be a solar roof, "as opposed to a [solar] module on a roof."   Cont'd...

AltEnergyMag.com - Special Tradeshow Coverage of Solar Power International 2016

Solar Power International 2016 will take place from September 12th to 15th in Las Vegas, Nevada. This AltEnergyMag.com Special Tradeshow report aims to bring you news, articles and products from this years events.

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Solar & Wind - Featured Product

Darfon G320 Microinverter

Darfon G320 Microinverter

The Darfon G320 is the microinverter solution for today's high-power solar modules. The G320 handles 60- and 72-cell modules up to 350W DC and outputs up to 300W AC. The G320's 3-phase configuration accommodates the electrical distribution systems of most commercial buildings and to reduce, if not eliminate, the need for expensive transformers. The G320 comes in four voltage/phase configurations, so it can be installed in residential, commercial or utility applications.