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solar panels

First Solar Hits Record 21.5% Conversion Efficiency

February 14, 2015 by Eric Wesoff
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Solar Conversion Efficiency

Last year at this time, First Solar crushed the conversion efficiency mark for cadmium telluride with a world record 20.4 percent. That figure has been easily eclipsed a year later with a new record of 21.5 percent. And with that mark, First Solar now expects to exceed its 22 percent in 2015 target.[read more]

Advanced Energy Technology of the Week: Residential and Commercial Building Solar

January 30, 2015 by Maria Robinson

Building Solar Energy

Solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems convert sunlight directly into electricity. PV modules produce direct current, which is converted to grid-compatible alternating current through an inverter. The flat-plate PV modules are commonly mounted on the roofs of residential and commercial buildings.[read more]

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Solar Panel Maintenance Poses Unforeseen Challenge in Developing World Electrification

December 24, 2014 by Adam Hashian
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Solar Panel Maintenance in the Developing World

It would be an affordable and practical solution for new electrical generation installations in developing nations to be fueled by low-carbon sources. But there are many challenges with solar electrification, including installation and maintenance, infrastructure, and financing.[read more]

Grains of Rice, Japanese Swords, and Solar Panels

December 1, 2014 by Adam Whitmore
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Solar and Growth

Greenpeace did much better than many at projecting the growth of renewable energy sources in the 2000s. Their projections were very close to outturn for wind – the 1999 projections were a little below outturn, the 2002 projections a little above. However even Greenpeace underestimated the growth of solar.[read more]

How to Clean All Those Solar Panels? Get Robots to Do It

November 15, 2014 by Christina Nunez

Solar Panel Maintenance

With abundant sunlight and plenty of open space, deserts are an obvious place to put large solar arrays, but there’s a downside: lots of dust, and not enough rainfall to wash it off. A buildup on solar panels can reduce efficiency by anywhere from 7 to 40 percent, according to various research efforts.[read more]

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Reality Check: Germany Does Not Get Half of its Energy from Solar Panels

August 18, 2014 by Robert Wilson
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Germany and its Energy Sources

The rise of the Internet means that simple factual issues can be checked quicker than would have been believed possible a generation ago. The rise of social media means that facts are not checked, they are retweeted. Such is the case with renewable energy in Germany, where anything is to be believed.[read more]

Research Solar Panels: Useful Solar Energy Facts for Homeowners [VIDEO]

August 2, 2014 by Lindsay Wilson
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Solar Panel Facts

This video is to help anyone considering going solar make better decisions. Solar is a big investment so you want to make sure you get it right by having good information about location, orientation, payback, panels and inverters.[read more]

Solar Panels Are Not Cell Phones

June 18, 2014 by Max Luke
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Solar and Cell Phones

Hold the mobile phone. While solar panels have become cheaper in recent years, they are still the most expensive way to generate electricity, and still far more expensive than fossil fuels, especially in natural gas-rich regions like Africa. Solar has come down in price, but nothing like cell phones.[read more]

What's Bringing President Obama to Wal-Mart?

May 11, 2014 by NRDC Switchboard

Obama and Solar

The President recentlyl visited Mountain View, California’s Wal-Mart to announce big news for solar power and energy efficiency. Wal-Mart is already a commercial leader is solar installations, but is committing to double the number of panels on its store roofs in the next six years.[read more]

Are Solar Panels Facing the Wrong Direction?

November 16, 2013 by Katherine Tweed
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Solar Panels and Efficiency

West-facing rooftop solar panels produced 49 percent more electricity during peak demand compared to south-facing panels, according to a new study. The research is the first of its kind to evaluate the energy production of solar panels oriented in different directions.[read more]

Is Sustainability in the Real Estate Industry a Paradox?

November 1, 2013 by Nigel Morris

You’re trying to rent or buy a house, you talk to the real estate agent about the features of the house and you ask some questions. What sort of water heater does it have? Is it insulated? Does it have a water tank? Does it have solar panels? We have all been there.[read more]

Solar Panels (and Energy Efficiency) at the White House

August 28, 2013 by Meredith Fowlie
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White House Solar Energy

The Washington Post recently reported that solar panels are being installed on the White House roof. Or, more accurately, re-installed. Jimmy Carter installed a solar thermal system on this roof back in 1979. This was quickly removed by the next tenant, Ronald Reagan.[read more]

Love Solar Energy but Hate Paperwork? Help Is On the Way.

August 3, 2013 by NRDC Switchboard
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Solar Panel Installation

When I put up solar panels on my house several years ago, the process was, if I may speak plainly, a royal pain. In the end, it was worth it to be able to generate my own, pollution-free energy, but every step seemed designed to make my life more difficult.[read more]

Are Solar Panels Worth the Cost?

June 14, 2013 by Veronique Bugnion
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Solar Energy Cost

 

Faced with a choice between installing a few solar panels on a roof and planting a few trees near the house, could the low-tech option be more energy and financially efficient?[read more]

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Energy Debate Redux: Will the Grid of the Future Run on DC Power?

June 13, 2013 by Jesse Jenkins
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POWER!

Do you have a solar system at the home? An electric car in your drive way? Smart phones, tablets, game consoles and other electronics proliferating in your home?[read more]