SolarCity: How the Silveo Acquisition Fits In to the Big Picture

Solar City, a company started by two brothers in 2006, has now become America's largest solar services provider. It plans to expand its business by acquiring the solar panel manufacturer Silveo.

Mounting Frameless Thin-Film Modules on Solar Trackers

Overall, frameless thin-film modules look to be an important element for solar projects in the United States moving forward.

Large Scale Energy Storage

The industry already recognizes the need to upgrade the grid; energy storage just happens to be the common thread to all upgrade plans.

China Might Be Winning The Race To Reduce Solar Costs

Command economies may be terrible at some things but when the rapid marshalling of resources is needed to solve a problem they can be very good at doing whatever it takes.

Wind Power Service Market to Almost Double by 2020: Make

The market for servicing wind turbines will almost double by 2020 as capacity grows, the Danish advisory firm Make Consulting said.   Annual revenues from monitoring and repairing wind turbines may surge to more than $13 billion in 2020 from $7.1 billion last year, Aarhus, Denmark-based Make said today in a report. It projected that 300 gigawatts of capacity will be installed through 2020, doubling current generating capacity and boosting the needs for maintenance.   Turbine manufacturers including Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) and Gamesa Corp. (GAM) Tecnologica SA are ramping up efforts to secure service contracts, which Vestas says yield higher margins than turbine sales and increase profitability. More than half of servicing worldwide is carried out by turbine manufacturers, Aaron Barr, a consultant at Make in Boston said in an e-mail.   Manufacturers “are attracted to the services market due to reliable and repeatable high margin revenue, primarily due to the growing fleet of serviceable wind turbines,” Barr said. “This focus is reinforced by uncertainty on new turbine sales orders and technical competitive advantages” that they have over independent service providers and the utilities that own the wind farms.

Crowdfunding campaign raises $2.2M to build solar roadways

It's crazy. It'll never work. They cost too much. They'll crack. They're too delicate. You'll slide off them. Oil companies will never let it happen. Scott Brusaw, an electrical engineer from Idaho, has heard it all before. Over the past eight years, skeptics (like this one) have been telling him his concept for solar roadways — replacing America's roads with solar panels, creating a power grid where pavement used to be — won't work. But Brusaw suddenly has a reason why it will — actually, 2.2 million of them. Solar Roadways' crowdfunding campaign, which closed on Monday, raised $2.2 million — more than double what Brusaw was seeking — in just two months. The campaign, the most popular in Indiegogo's history, attracted more than 48,000 backers from all 50 states and 165 countries. "It's been humbling," Brusaw, 56, told Yahoo News. "Really, really humbling." The success can be attributed, in part, to a cheeky seven-minute video ("Solar FREAKIN' Roadways!") that has been viewed more than 16 million times on YouTube.

China Might Be Winning The Race To Reduce Solar Costs

Many people, even fanatical advocates of solar power, are unaware quite how close we are to reaching a critical milestone in the industry. Within a fairly short space of time, solar generated electricity will be fully cost competitive with coal-powered electricity -- at least if the governments of the world’s two largest energy consuming nations have their way. Both the U.S. and China have a stated goal of reducing the cost of solar generated electricity to that level, and quickly. How they are going about it says a lot about how each economic system works. In the U.S., despite the complaints of some that a drift toward government control is taking place, private initiative and free markets still rule. The Department of Energy launched the SunShot initiative in 2011, with a stated goal of reducing the cost of solar power to be fully competitive with conventional energy sources by the end of this decade. The program funds grants, incentives and competitions to encourage private sector research that will improve the efficiency and lower the cost of solar energy. The Chinese, faced with what is in many ways a more urgent need to achieve the same thing, have taken a different approach. In a manner more in keeping with their history and current economic system, they are beating the problem over the head with piles of cash until the desired outcome is achieved. It looks, if this excellent Michael Sankowski piece at Monetary Realism is to be believed, as if they are getting mighty close.

Massachusetts to open area the size of Rhode Island to offshore wind power

Massachusetts Deval Patrick and U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced plans for a new proposed offshore wind power area of more than 742,000 acres, or 1,160 square miles, which would make it about the size of Rhode Island (1,214 sq-miles). This new area, where space would be auctioned in 4 different leases, would nearly double the federal offshore acreage available for large wind energy projects. Secretary Jewell said that the government has learned from the Cape Wind offshore wind project in Nantucket Sound, which faced over a decade of opposition and lawsuits, and have picked a spot farther from the shore that should not be as contentious. "We put in zones that we believe have both high potential and lower conflict," Jewell said. "But it's going to actually get down to a specific construction plan on a specific site and (an environmental) analysis to determine what people want to do economically and what that impact is going to be.  

SolarCity is trying to become the Apple of solar power

SolarCity is already the largest installer of residential solar panels in the United States. Now the company is going a step further, buying up solar manufacturer Silevo and planning to build one of the world's biggest solar-panel factories in upstate New York. The immediate goal here is vertical integration. The company, which was co-founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, wants to handle all aspects of the solar supply chain, from design to manufacturing to sales to installation. It's basically the Apple model — only for solar panels. But SolarCity's ultimate aspiration is to drive down prices dramatically. In a call on Tuesday, Musk said that the aim was "to have solar power compete on an unsubsidized basis with fossil-fuel energy from the grid." (The company was also founded by brothers Lyndon and Peter Rive, who currently run it.) Is that doable? SolarCity has had success with its current business model — offering rooftop solar systems at no upfront cost to customers who make monthly payments spread out over many years. The company now handles 25 percent of all US residential solar installations — and is aiming for 1 million customers by 2018. This latest move means SolarCity will be able to produce its own panels for these systems and try to lower its costs even further.  

Maintaining Satcon Inverters

When Satcon, the former inverter manufacturer, closed shop, Photon Energy moved quickly and hired key technical personnel.

Solar Monitoring Q&A with Locus Energy

The growth of distributed PV is showing no signs of slowing down, and with it solar monitoring is set to grow as well.

ABB Grows in the Solar Industry

The longer term players in the industry have definite roadmaps that focus on achieving the goal of making solar power competitive over the long term.

How Upsolar America Sees the Future of the PV Industry

The biggest trend we're seeing in the U.S. is the development of new tools to help customers overcome the financial hurdles of going solar.

Leave the Gas at the Station:
Electric Cars Charge into the Future

Unsure about whether electric cars are here to stay or whether they are the best choice for your needs? Here is everything you need to know about these cost-efficient, environmentally friendly, and ever-improving wonder vehicles!

Buffett to double his $15 billion solar, wind investments

Warren Buffett is ready to double his $15 billion investment in renewable energy, according to reports.   Speaking at the Edison Electric Institute’s annual convention in Las Vegas Monday, Buffett described how he had briefly lost track of how much Berkshire Hathaway had invested in the sector and  needed a reminder from a deputy. Buffett said he responded “there’s another $15 billion ready to go,” according to Bloomberg News.   Buffett’s investments include wind farms in Iowa as well as solar farms in California and Arizona.   Buffett also vowed to keep investing in utilities. The sector may not make you rich, but it will keep you rich, the legendary investor was quoted as saying in another report.   Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy last year bought two co-located solar-power projects that combined are the largest solar project in the world.  Last month, MidAmerican said it will supply Google Inc. facilities in Iowa with electricity from wind power.

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