Wait, Are You Paying for My Solar Panels?

February 14, 2012 by Stefano Ratti

A question people ask me often is whether solar energy “makes economic sense”.  The answer, as usual, is not a simple yes/no. I will start from a very tangible example, relevant for residential rooftops: my own system, which I am installing on my Maryland house: 4.32 kW of capacity, generates 5,585 kWh per year (if I cut a few...[read more]

SREC Costs to Pennsylvania Homeowners Misleading

January 19, 2012 by Chip Gaul

 The media and airwaves have been full of discussion over the Pennsylvania SREC market, as the state legislature considers amending the current RPS law that created the market a few years ago. Perhaps no single group has a stronger interest in the outcome of this proposed legislation and the overall health of the SREC market than...[read more]

A Look Forward to 2012 from Carbon War Room

January 10, 2012 by Jigar Shah

Dear friends, colleagues, and fearless change-makers,The Carbon War Room had a very busy and productive 2011 which would not have been possible without all your support. As we enter 2012, we also acknowledge strong headwinds in the form of an embattled global deal, low carbon prices, and increased carbon emissions even during the...[read more]

Which Side Of The Solar Trade Wars Are You On?

January 10, 2012 by Marc Gunther

Should we worry about Chinese government subsidies to its solar industry? Or send the Chinese a thank-you note? A group of seven US-based manufacturers of solar panels is alarmed. These manufacturers, led by Solar World, a German firm with a plant in Oregon, filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission, which...[read more]

Harnessing The Sun’s Energy For Water And Space Heating

December 24, 2011 by Nino Marchetti

 The pace of solar energy development is accelerating as the installation of rooftop solar water heaters takes off. Unlike solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that convert solar radiation into electricity, these “solar thermal collectors” use the sun’s energy to heat water, space, or both.China had an estimated 168 million square meters...[read more]

South Africa’s Solar Power Potential

December 2, 2011 by Antonio Pasolini

As the United Nations climate change conference rages on, quite literally, in Durban South Africa, experts from COP17’s host city point to one alternative energy source that could help it mitigate its emissions: solar power.[read more]

Solar Combined With Wind Power: A Way To Get Rid of Fossil Fuels?

November 30, 2011 by Barry Brook

Earlier, I wrote on how crucially an unreliable sources of power such as wind depend on fossil fuels. Based on real world production data from around the world, I noted that even with massively distributed production wind power is very variable and necessitates a reliable backup power source (typically from fossil fuels) which must be able to produce essentially all the power society consumes. A way around this problem would be a massive energy storage, but I found the size of the required storage to be unreasonably large.[read more]

Are We Headed Toward The Space Age of Solar Power?

November 22, 2011 by Antonio Pasolini

 It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but at the same time it could also be the method whereby solar power could be magnified to a global industrial scale.   According to former NASA manager of Advanced Concepts Studies Office of Space Flight , John C. Mankins, space-based solar power (SSP) systems could be capable...[read more]


Harnessing the Power of the Sun for Oil Production

November 16, 2011 by Des King

Coalinga, a small town in California’s Central Valley, is home to the past, present and future of energy. The town was originally called Coaling Station A, and served as a coaling station for the railroads in the late 19th century. The name was later shortened to Coalinga. Coalinga sits on the aptly named Coalinga Oil Field – one of the largest in California. The oil field was discovered in 1887 and is one of the nation’s oldest producing oil fields. And last month, Coalinga gained another distinction – home to the world’s largest solar-to-steam enhanced oil recovery project.[read more]

What The NYTimes' Got Wrong on Energy Subsidies

November 15, 2011 by Arno Harris

The New York Times posted yet another error-riddled article last Friday on clean energy. This one, titled "A Gold Rush of Subsidies in Clean Energy Search," purports to describe the "banquet" of "lucrative" subsidies that result in "windfalls" to renewable energy project investors. Rather than catalog all the errors made by the Times,...[read more]

The "How" Of Cleantech Deployment Is Key To Its Success

November 11, 2011 by Matt Hourihan

A recent report by the California Council on Science and Technology has rekindled the debate (see Andrew Revkin, Joe Romm, Dave Roberts) over technological readiness in clean energy, and whether we should be committing resources to innovation or deployment. I’m going to argue here that this deployment question is...[read more]

"Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" Rhetoric Hampers Renewable Development

November 4, 2011 by Michael Giberson

If you believed what politicians say about green energy and jobs, you probably think they fit together like peanut butter and jelly squished between layers of bread. Has there been a renewable power subsidy announcement or ribbon-cutting ceremony where the word “jobs” was not featured in the first two or three sentences uttered by...[read more]

A Trade War With China Will Decimate US Solar

November 3, 2011 by Arno Harris

I've been getting up to speed on the trade proceeding initiated by SolarWorld that seeks to impose punitive duties on US companies that import Chinese solar modules. What I've learned is chilling. The nightmare that is likely to unfold will have severe and immediate consequences to the US solar industry. Unless the industry takes action...[read more]

Key Renewable Energy Subsidies About to Expire

October 28, 2011 by Geoffrey Styles

The US renewable energy industry faces a greatly altered incentive environment next year, as eligibility for two of its largest current subsidies comes to an end at the close of 2011. The corn ethanol sector will likely see the complete withdrawal of the blenders' credit that has fueled its growth for more than 30 years, while new...[read more]

US Energy Poll Reveals Contradictions

October 26, 2011 by Geoffrey Styles

Wednesday, I received a press release announcing the results of a new poll on US consumer attitudes towards energy conducted by the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin.I wasn't surprised to see that a plurality of the poll's respondents thinks the country is headed in the wrong direction on energy--triple the...[read more]