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...

Wildfires and Solar Panels

A look at how wildfire air pollution can affect the power output of solar panels.

SPI 2016 - SolarWorld will unveil AC solar panel

Company's newest solar panel will debut at Solar Power International

SPI 2016 - Advanced Racking Solutions (ARS) achieves UL 2703 Bonding & Grounding, UL 1703 certification, and launches the Total Roof Platform (TRP)

The Total Roof Platform (TRP) is being launched at the SPI show in Las Vegas. Advanced Racking Solutions (ARS) has received UL 2703 certification on its SKYRACK, VICERACK2, and BLOCKMOUNT2 mounting solutions. VICERACK2 is believed to be the only Class A certified system for metal roofs per the UL1703 Fire Test Standard.

Sharp Introduces Financing Program for Commercial SmartStorage®+Solar Hybrid Projects

Program aims to advance adoption of behind-the-meter energy storage with financing for $25 million of hybrid systems

SPI 2016 - Solar Data Systems Announces New and Enhanced Features for Solar-Log® Commercial Revenue Grade Metering Solution

Visit Solar-Log®, Booth 219 at Solar Power International and leverage the power of the world's leading independent residential and commercial solar PV monitoring technology. September 13-14th at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV.

SPI 2016 - Silfab Solar Debuts Ultra-High-Efficiency, 60-Cell Module

Company Also Will Display Other One-of-a-Kind Products at Solar Power International, Sept. 12-15

RBI Solar Launches Next Generation Ground Mount Solution

The RBI Solar next generation ground mount solution was specifically designed to make solar installation more affordable for commercial and utility-scale PV projects. This new model underwent a rigorous testing regimen for bonding and grounding to pass the UL 2703 Standard.

SPI 2016 - Bird B Gone, Inc. to Showcase New Solar Panel Bird Deterrents at Solar Power International Show

Bird B Gone, the leader in professional grade bird control products for commercial, industrial and residential applications will be showcasing its growing lineup of products at this year's Solar Power International Show in Las Vegas.

SPI 2016 - Brilliant Rack's Xpress Xpress Mount™ Technology Saves Time and Money

Learn more at the upcoming Solar Power International Conference.

SPI 2016 - Sun Bandit Turns 3 Trumpeting 10 Solar Milestones

Solar hybrid water heating solution Sun Bandit® - the world's first ICC-SRCC-certified, PV-powered solar water heating solution - is celebrating its third anniversary. And it's delivering 10 solar milestones to help builders, contractors and property owners capitalize on its unique market position.

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.

PVinsights: Polysilicon Rout Sends Downstream Components Slumping

The slump of polysilicon price has initiated since late August as buyers buying power has been significantly hampered due to slashed downstream demand and prices that they could not bear with high-priced raw materials and threaten to cut more polysilicon procurements. A previous attempt to sustain polysilicon prices in China has failed and the polysilicon suppliers in China have lowered price drastically in order to lessen its piled-up inventories as well as to secure limited orders. Moreover, as the quarterly financial accounting process closes at the end of September, polysilicon suppliers are having compounded pressures to dump excess stockpiles, pushing down polysilicon prices further.

SPI 2016 - Array Technologies Leads in Proven Tracker Technology at SPI

ATI will be joining solar industry leaders in Las Vegas next week

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Solar & Wind - Featured Product

WS510 Secondary Standard

WS510 Secondary Standard

In the monitoring of large photovoltaic (Utility Scale), in assessing potential sites (Solar-assessment), or in up and coming electricity cost saving initiatives projects (Commercial & Industrial), the WS510 now provides the market a secondary standard pyranometer, ultrasonic wind speed, ultrasonic wind direction, temperature, pressure and humidity all in a single unit.. This sensor meets the high demands of the world meteorological organization (WMO) through the active valving at air temperature measurement and the inertia- and maintenance-free measurement of wind speed and wind direction on the ultrasonic principle. Equipped with a Kipp & Zonen pyranometer of the secondary standards, the WS510-UMB Compact weather sensor from Lufft unites the precision of a variety of meteorological individual sensors in a single all-in-one device, for the first time.