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SolarCity Quietly Moving to Loans and Customer-Owned Solar

Officially, SolarCity, Sunrun and Vivint do not offer loans for the residential photovoltaic (PV) systems that they help finance and install.Unofficially, it's another story.These market-leading firms make their money with residential solar leases...

Posted July 30, 2014    

SolarWorld Wins Again: Big Anti-Dumping Tariffs in US-China Solar Panel Trade Case

The Department of Commerce has again found for the petitioner, SolarWorld, in its Chinese solar module trade case. The preliminary decision imposes significant tariffs on Chinese solar modules in the anti-dumping portion of this case.The decision...

Posted July 28, 2014    

5 Non-Tesla EV Stories: BMW, Motiv, Proterra, Harley-Davidson, Boston Power

Tesla is the marque in many automaker's sights -- just as Tesla takes aim at BMW and the other automakers. And since Tesla's plan is to build a lithium-ion battery factory bigger than the world's current lithium-ion production capacity -- the...

Posted July 5, 2014    

Solar Energy at Grid Parity in Utah, a Coal State With No RPS

The Utah solar experiment is officially underway as the state races from near-zero solar to potentially bringing hundreds of megawatts of PV online.The Beehive State has great solar and land resources. However, the state does not yet have an RPS and...

Posted June 24, 2014    

California Approves $415M for Behind-the-Meter Storage, Fuel Cells, Wind and Turbines

California's Self-Generation Incentive Program is about to be re-authorized by Governor Jerry Brown and will continue to provide $83 million per year (through 2019) for behind-the-meter generation technologies including wind, fuel cells and energy...

Posted June 21, 2014    

Tesla's Elon Musk Declares 'All Our Patent Are Belong to You'

In a recent blog post entitled, "All Our Patent Are Belong to You," Tesla CEO Elon Musk tore down the patent wall. He wrote:Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They...

Posted June 20, 2014    

Big Tariffs in US-China Solar Panel Trade Case; No Settlement in Sight

The Department of Commerce found for the petitioner, SolarWorld, and levied substantial tariffs in its just-announced preliminary finding in the Chinese solar module trade investigation.Commerce found for the petitioner and imposed preliminary...

Posted June 7, 2014    

I Almost Bought Hawaii's Electric Utility for $6B and Made It a Renewables Paradise

I have a confession to make.In 2011 I became involved, in a small way, in a multi-billion-dollar scheme to buy out HECO, Hawaii's electric utility, and take it private. The plan was to shift HECO from its reliance on fossil fuels and allow the...

Posted June 4, 2014    

California Moves Closer to Streamlined Solar Energy Permitting

California just moved a bit closer to reducing some of the "soft costs" of installing solar with an assembly bill meant to streamline permitting and inspection for small residential solar systems.As solar hardware costs have plummeted, overhead (or...

Posted June 3, 2014    

White House Finally Goes Solar: Obama Preaches Efficiency and Jobs at Wal-Mart

If your recent morning commute on the San Francisco Peninsula was more turgid than usual, it's because President Barack Obama was moving about in the area. He followed an evening of fundraising in Los Altos Hills and San Jose with a speech on energy...

Posted May 12, 2014    

Do These Multi-Gigawatt Solar Energy Projects Stand a Chance?

Are gargantuan PV projects the key to the solar industry's future?The global solar industry is volatile, but it grows significantly every year. It's quick to adapt to changing markets, technologies and trade obstacles. The prospect of solar becoming...

Posted May 9, 2014    

Happy 60th Anniversary to the Modern Solar Cell

The pioneering engineers of the modern solar cell gathered in person and in spirit recently in Palo Alto, California to celebrate the 60th anniversary of their invention. Little did they know the impact their discovery would be having on utilities...

Posted April 27, 2014