Top News

Morning brief: Bifacial solar panels stay tariff-free, Musk’s $775M payout, G.E. sells lighting business

Also in the brief: Solar-plus-storage microgrid project at the San Diego Blood Bank.
Looking back

Renewable energy in the US surpassed coal for first time in more than a century

The coal era is officially over in the United States. Not since 1885, when coal replaced wood, have renewables taken the lead.
Installations

Covid-19 made my solar panel installation business stronger

Last month was the biggest sales month in our history. Here are three lessons I’ve learned.
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The latest batch of energy yield results from the outdoor test field at Xi’an, China are out.

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Markets & Policy

Record low solar PPAs in the Southwest mean ‘carbon capture is not going to save coal plants’

Recently approved solar PPAs could spell trouble for proponents of retrofitting the state’s San Juan Generating Station to capture the coal-fired plant’s carbon dioxide emissions.
Markets & Policy

PVEL solar module scorecard: In a rush to innovate, some manufacturers ‘overlooked basic quality control’

PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), a test lab for the downstream solar market, just published its PV Module Reliability Scorecard. The lab notes the high level of innovation in the solar module industry and namechecks the market's reliability leaders -- but also ...
Installations

Morning brief: Safe harbor for ITC extended, Dems push FERC to reject anti-net metering petition

Also in the brief: Virginia agency aims to make solar "faster, easier and more affordable," plus Community Choice Energy providers.
Opinion & analysis

Solar panel recycling: Turning ticking time bombs into opportunities

With the average lifespan of a solar panel at roughly 20 years, installations from the early 2000s are set to reach end-of-life. Will they end up in landfill or be recycled? The cost of recycling is higher than landfill, and the value of recovered materi...
Markets & Policy

Alliant Energy looks to add 675 MW of PV and quadruple Wisconsin’s solar capacity

The company has filed a Certificate of Authority application with state regulators for a 675 MW portfolio of solar projects, the first step in the company's larger goal of 1,000 MW of solar in Wisconsin by 2023.
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Press Releases

Indiana farmers see benefits in on-farm solar power for grain storage systems

As a growing number of farmers across the United States deal with the economic realities related to the pandemic lockdown, a Purdue University-affiliated solar contractor is working to help farms reduce their energy costs.

EmaZys PV Analyzers Now Available Through Solar Data Systems, Inc. in the U.S.

Solar Data Systems, Inc. , an official provider of Solar-Log® hardware-agnostic energy monitoring, control, and management, has teamed up with EmaZys.

The world’s first hot-spot free module heads to USA

The world’s first Smart Hot-spot Free module at Intersolar North America, 2020 AE SOLAR – German Innovator in Solar Energy industry heads to US market and exhibits at Intersolar North America, 2020. Company’s R&D team is always focused on new innovations and emerging technologies in photovoltaic.

The Town of Simsbury Connecticut, Asante Energy and Greenskies Renewable Energy complete rooftop solar project

Announcing the completion of a 220kW solar project for the Town of Simsbury under the State of Connecticut ZREC program.

Covid-19

Featured

US solar industry cut 65,000 workers due to Covid-19, erasing five years of solar job growth

New York, New Jersey, Pennsyvania, and Washington are among the states hit the hardest. SEIA’s analysis shows that vast majority of renewable energy job losses come from the solar energy industry.

Solar industry CEOs weigh-in on positive trends in Covid-impacted quarterly results

“We’ve taken how the industry would have evolved – probably in two years – and we’ve done it in a month.” — Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun

Covid-19 wipes out twice as many US clean energy jobs as sector added in past three years

Industry leaders call on Congress for immediate, targeted support for sector

People in quarantine are searching for solar power

New data from The Harris Poll and LG show that LG’s solar web traffic, as well as quote requests for residential systems are both trending high since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, the issue becomes turning this interest into concrete sales.

Vivint beats on revenue — but losses widen in Q1 as residential solar hunkers down

Vivint beat estimates with $91.2 million in revenue in Q1, though, like with most other third-party solar companies, that was outweighed by $51.9 million in losses from operations. Installation figures fell during the quarter and are only expected to fall further, as Covid-19 runs its course on residential solar.

SolarEdge reports record revenue, yet Covid looms over residential PV for the next two quarters

Even though the U.S. market is showing some signs of stabilizing, the decline in installation rates in April alone was 33%.

Installations

Featured

It may be safe to put PV panels in landfills, but that doesn’t mean we should

According to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), health risks from lead in crystalline silicon PV panels are one order of magnitude -- or about one-tenth -- below the risk levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Morning Brief: Nuclear fusion startup raises $84 million from Temasek and Equinor

Also in the brief: Green hydrogen in Denmark, North Dakota solar on tribal lands, Lime Rock New Energy raises $600 million in growth equity focused on renewable energy tech.

Used EV batteries for large-scale solar energy storage

MIT scientists have suggested that used electric vehicle batteries could offer a more viable business case than purpose-built systems for the storage of grid-scale solar power in California. Such ‘second life’ EV batteries, may cost only 60% of their original purchase price to deploy and can be effectively aggregated for industrial scale storage even if they have declined to 80% of their original capacity.

RFP issued for Santa Barbara School District microgrid projects

As part of a collaborative effort with Sage Energy Consulting, the district has issued an RFP for 4.5 MW of solar capacity and 6 MWh of storage across 15 sites.

Green Mountain Power expands Tesla Powerwall and bring-your-own-device energy storage programs

Customers now have two options in home battery programs, while also agreeing to pledge some of their stored power for peak reduction.

Morning Brief: The Wolf of Wall Street teaches solar sales, misleading solar ads tout 100% free panels

Also in the brief: GOP Senators seek help for renewables, Engie is among those chosen in Hawaii’s largest renewable tender.

Manufacturing

Featured

Investors bet $27.5 million that Nanotech Energy’s graphene battery breakthrough is the real thing

The startup claims to be “the world’s top supplier of graphene” and plans to release a non-flammable, environmentally friendly lithium battery that can charge “18 times faster than anything that is currently available on the market” — within the next year.

Chinese PV Industry Brief: 3.95 GW of new PV in Q1, new 500 W-plus modules, a panel with 23.2% efficiency

China’s cumulative installed PV capacity topped 208 GW at the end of March, thanks to 3.95 GW of new projects completed in the first quarter. JinkoSolar and Longi both joined the 500 W-plus module race, with their new panels offering 580 W and 530 W of output, respectively. Ginlong, meanwhile, has revealed plans to raise funds to increase its annual inverter production capacity to 20 GW, and Xi’An Solar has claimed a 23.2% efficiency rate for its N-type TOPCon modules in mass production.

A PV antenna for beaming solar power from space to Earth

Researchers from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have launched the first orbital experiment with space-based solar power. They launched a 12-inch square photovoltaic module that is expected to test the viability of space-based solar power systems converting sunlight to microwaves outside the atmosphere.

Morning Brief: Trump administration slaps retroactive rent bills on solar, wind on federal lands

Also in the brief: Lightyear gets a key supplier, a nine-project network in New York, the 25th National Solar Tour of Homes and more.

Jinko launches PV module with record output of 580 W

The new module line can cut LCOE and reduce logistics cost for module transport.

SunPower sells off its O&M business to Clairvest, gets regulatory approval for Maxeon spinoff

SunPower has had to make fundamental changes to continue to be relevant in a solar industry very different from that of its roots. The company aims to become an energy service provider and is leaving low-cost manufacturing to its Chinese partner.

Markets & Policy

Featured

The solar industry and consumers both lose with federal ‘MOPR’ rule

Electricity consumers would pay at least $1.1 billion more per year in the 13-state PJM grid region, says a new report, while 8.5 GW of capacity sales from new solar developments would be excluded from the capacity market, and corporate solar purchase agreements could cost 50% more -- if courts uphold a federal regulation known as “MOPR.”

Puerto Rico citizens’ groups challenge utility plan for 500 MW of temporary generation

At least two renewable energy firms decided not to bid on the utility’s procurement, which calls for generation equipment with a 90% capacity factor. A former chairman of the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau also comments on the plan, and shares his vision of Puerto Rico reaching 100% renewables by 2030.

Job Moves at NextEra, Sunnova, FirstEnergy, 8minute, Solaria, Enel X, GAF Energy, Watt Fuel Cell

Executive and boardroom moves in solar, storage, cleantech, utilities and venture capital.

Startup wants to put solar arrays on wave energy generators, along with wind turbines

Sinn Power of Gauting, Germany combines wave, wind and solar power for the “first floating ocean hybrid platform.”

It’s getting harder to develop solar on US federal lands

Now that the two-year tax holiday enjoyed by solar and wind projects operating on federally-owned lands is over, project owners and developers are facing back rent with more expensive leasing costs looming in 2021. With federal land being critical to a renewable future, what can be done?

Replacing peakers with storage to achieve the greatest health benefit

Regulators and community groups can use a new interactive resource to see the emissions impacts of existing and proposed peaker units. Storage developers may also find the tool helpful, to identify peakers likely to be replaced.

Technology

Featured

Sunny places could see average solar prices of $0.01 or $0.02 per kilowatt-hour within 15 years

New research models that the price of solar will continue to drop faster than previous predictions. This would mean that building new solar would be routinely cheaper than operating already-built fossil fuel plants, even in today’s world of ultra-cheap natural gas.

Analysis of energy use during Austin’s stay-at-home order hints at a Texas summer load issue

Significant spikes in air conditioner usage during the first hot days of Austin Texas’ stay-at-home orders have signaled that this upcoming summer may be one where electric demand meets record, worrisome, levels.

Historic Hawaiian tender will increase state’s solar capacity 50%

16 project winners totaling 460 MW in capacity have been chosen by Hawaiian Electric Company to fill its most ambitious renewable procurement yet. The move will bring jobs to one of the areas hardest-hit by virus-related unemployment.

Morning Brief: Secret Air Force space plane to beam solar power to Earth, Tesla’s ‘million-mile’ battery

Also in the brief: DOE kicks off $230 million advanced reactor demonstration program, and the global coal industry will never recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Glasspoint, a Shell-funded solar enhanced-oil-recovery startup, is in liquidation

Glasspoint received more than $130M in VC from Oman’s sovereign wealth fund, along with the venture arm of Royal Dutch Shell. The plan was to use concentrated solar arrays housed in glass greenhouses to produce steam at gigawatt scale instead of natural gas for EOR.

A new player appears in American thin-film cadmium telluride solar module manufacturing

Toledo Solar is trying to distinguish itself from First Solar’s cadmium telluride dominance by operating in the residential and commercial markets, markets which have been historically unkind to the technology.

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