Solar Energy Stories September 21, 2021

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • The UK and Dutch transport secretaries call for China and the US to take more dramatic steps.
  • An abandoned 114-year-old paper mill in New Jersey gets a second life as a solar farm.
  • A large luxury home builder will now include solar on all their new California homes.
  • UnderstandSolar is a free service that links you to top-rated solar installers in your region for personalized solar estimates. Tesla now offers price matching, so it’s important to shop for the best quotes. Click here to learn more and get your quotes. — *ad.

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Solar Energy Stories July 21, 2021

XL Fleet has announced a partnership and investment in eNow, a solar and battery power system provider, to power electrified refrigerated commercial trailers. Under the terms of the agreement, XL Fleet will supply battery and power electronics systems for the first 1,000 units of eNow’s electric Transport Refrigeration Units (eTRUs), designed for Class 8 commercial trailers.

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Solar Energy Stories May 19, 2021

Singapore-based Maxeon Solar Technologies has announced that it will commercially release its Maxeon Air solar panels this summer. The company says the Air solar panels are frameless, thin, lightweight, and conformable, with efficiency and performance the same as standard solar panels.

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Solar Energy Stories March 26, 2021

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced yesterday that it intends to “cut the cost of solar energy by 60% within the next 10 years, in addition to nearly $128 million in funding to lower costs, improve performance, and speed the deployment of solar energy technologies.”

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Solar Energy Stories December 9, 2020

Construction of the Erath solar project in Erath County, Texas, southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth, kicked off today. The 10-megawatt community solar farm is expected to be completed in February 2021. It’s not a huge project by any means, but any new solar farm is good news.

Texas is already a US leader in wind, and now it’s rising in the ranks in solar. But is the state really making an impact on boosting US green energy? What about within the global context?

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Solar Energy Stories December 4, 2020

Researchers at the UK’s Lancaster University studied a crystalline material — a solid material with parts such as atoms, molecules, or ions that are arranged in a highly ordered microscopic structure — and discovered it has properties that allow it to capture solar energy. The energy can be stored for several months at room temperature, and it can be released on demand in the form of heat.

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Solar Energy Stories December 3, 2020

Vote Solar, the Coalition for Community Solar Access, and solar provider Sunrun (Nasdaq: RUN) conducted a study that found that if just a quarter of US households were powered by local rooftop and community solar and storage, Americans would benefit financially and environmentally overall in a very big way.

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Solar Energy Stories October 7, 2020

Global climate- and green-tech accelerator Elemental Excelerator just announced its newest cohort of 19 tech companies it said would be “ground-breakers and market-makers.” Here are five up-and-comers in Cohort 9 in the green-tech energy, mobility, and climate change sectors.

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Solar Energy Stories September 16, 2020

Net metering allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity from solar power to sell the electricity they aren’t using back into the grid. That saves money on electric bills.

But electric companies perceive that they make less money as a result, and they’re not so keen on that. So in Florida, utilities want to roll net metering back — and there’s a hearing about it tomorrow.

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Solar Energy Stories April 6, 2020

Imagine parking your EV, pushing a button, and a solar EV-charging cover automatically unfurls to protect your car and add a few miles of range. That’s exactly what a French company that produces thin-film photovoltaics and a French EV startup created. While still in the prototype phase, and presented in a goofy video, the idea is maybe not as far-fetched as it first seems.

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Solar Energy Stories February 27, 2020

Electrify America, the Volkswagen subsidiary, announced today that it’s investing $2 million in solar-powered EV charging stations in rural California. The investment in charging stations that are not tied to the electrical grid will expand access to EV charging opportunities for drivers in rural areas.

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Solar Energy Stories October 7, 2019

Kenya’s first green bond raises $41.45 million

Kenya has gotten its very first green bond. Stanbic Bank in Kenya, who arranged the deal, announced the arrangement. It has raised $41.45 million (4.3 billion Kenyan shillings), according to the bank. The bond will be used to build climate-resilient student accommodation in Nairobi.

Solar Energy Stories November 15, 2016


Total, the major French multinational oil and gas company, announced today a $300 million investment to install about 200 MW of solar capacity at 5,000 gas stations around the world. The investment is being presented as a way for Total’s operations to reduce its carbon footprint, but what if its the first step to convert the gas stations into electric vehicle charging stations? expand full story

Solar Energy Stories October 1, 2016

Toyota of Corvallis, Oregon seeking to become the world’s very first net zero energy dealership

Right on the heels of the Prius Prime making its round across various news outlets, we now have information that a newly opened, 34,800 square-foot Toyota dealership in Corvallis, Oregon will be seeking to receive their LEED Platinum and Net Zero Energy certifications over the next 14 months as data is collected.

Solar Energy Stories September 2, 2016


After launching their campaign for the innovative and very reasonably priced Sion solarcar at the end of July, Sono Motors, based in Munich, has three days remaining in its campaign to garner final support from backers on Indiegogo after recently reaching their goal of €150,000.  expand full story

Solar Energy Stories June 26, 2016

tesla-motors-solar trademark

Last week, Elon Musk announced his plan for Tesla to acquire SolarCity and fold the solar installer’s operations into Tesla’s own business. The offer is still contingent on board approval and shareholder votes at both companies,  but Electrek has now learned that the automaker is going ahead with trademark applications to sell solar products under its ‘Tesla’ brand. expand full story

Solar Energy Stories June 12, 2016

GTM: Solar Growth by Quarter

GreentechMedia did the work to determine “Solar Made Up 64% of New Electric Generating Capacity in the US in Q1 2016.” This first quarter is part a potential 119% growth in the solar industry in 2016 – greater than $30 billion in revenue. And these announcements are on top of many other recent solar proclamations – 1,000,000 rooftops, record low pricing, leadership in jobs count and growth, whole countries running on renewables and more. With the Earth setting record warm months, every single month, its good that solar power is becoming sexy – but can we keep up the pace long enough to win the war?

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Solar Energy Stories June 9, 2016


Tuesday, SolarCity produced greater than 10GWh of solar electricity via its customer base. This doubles the 5GWh peak in 2015 and more than triples the 3GWh in 2014. SolarCity has over 280,000 customers and greater than 2.16GW installed as of the end of the first quarter – that volume is expected to grow 218MW in the second quarter and to be greater than 3GW before the end of 2016. The summer day peaks around June 20 – meaning we’ll probably see more records broken. expand full story

Solar Energy Stories May 15, 2016


It seems that whole cities are now going solar:

The Santa Monica City Council voted in April to approve an ordinance requiring rooftop solar systems for all new construction in the City of Santa Monica—both residential and commercial.

Santa Monica joins other California cities San Francisco, Lancaster and Sebastopol in implementing solar requirements at time of construction. The requirements will add between $3.27-3.54/sq ft in construction costs – 33-37% below current solar market prices. The energy savings will more than offset mortgage pricing increases – lowering ownership costs from day one.

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Solar Energy Stories May 3, 2016


It is with great pleasure that we see SolarReserve has signed an agreement with the Shenhua Group of China to build one of the world’s largest Solar Thermal 24-Hour a Day Power plants. This contract is part of the 13th Plan of Five-year National Development by China that outlines installing 10,000MW of Concentrated Solar Power.

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Solar Energy Stories May 2, 2016


Dubai received bid of $.0299/kWh for 800MW of solar power. This price represents the lowest yet recorded for solar power (and might not represent the end of the price drops…).

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has received 5 bids from international organisations for the third phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, said HE Saeed Mohammed AlTayer, MD & CEO of DEWA. The lowest recorded bid at the opening of the envelopes was US 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour. The next step in the bidding process will review the technical and commercial aspects of the bids to select the best one.

In the USA, in 2014 and with incentives, utility scale solar projects averaged $.05/kWh. On this bid alone, five companies bid below $.045/kW – without subsidies! expand full story

Solar Energy Stories April 21, 2016

SunEdison (SUNE) officially files for bankruptcy – Wall Street couldn’t wait

SunEdison has officially filed for bankruptcy. This has been expected by some players as far back as the 3rd quarter of 2015. SUNE has been a big player in the solar industry for a long time as they’ve strived to become the biggest global developer. By aggressively going after growing markets around the world and innovating with Solar Power YieldCos it looked like SunEdison might make it as well. Now, both SunEdison and their YeildCo is being sued. Alas…this party has come to an end.


Ray Kurzweil is known for inventing things, wanting to live forever, The Singularity and – of relevance in this article – Exponential Growth of technology, like solar power. Recently, during a medical device presentation, Kurzweil reiterated his predictions that solar power will continue to double its global capacity every two years and six more times in the next twelve years. Some charts look suspiciously like they’re shooting upward just ahead of his predicted pace. Personally, being in the field day to day, as a Project Developer, it is hard to believe that solar power might install such volumes in the next twelve years – but ten years ago, when I got into the industry, I never thought it’d grow like it has. expand full story

Solar Energy Stories November 18, 2015

Elon Musk invests in SolarCity (again) with Rive and Silver Lake – $113 million total

During the past few months, rooftop solar installer SolarCity has been watching its stock price plummet, along with most of the solar industry. During the past week, Chairman Elon Musk bought 3 blocks of shares between $25.20 and $26.45 to add over 500,000 shares to his now total of 21.3 million shares or about 21% of the company.

Now just a few days after the disclosure of the stock purchase, we learn through a press release from Silver Lake Kraftwerk that Musk invested an additional $10 million in the company through convertible senior notes along with $100 million from Silver Lake and $3 million from SolarCity CEO and Musk’s cousin, Lyndon Rive.

Solar Energy Stories October 23, 2015

off grid electricOn Thursday, Off Grid Electric announced that it had raised US$25 million in a series C round led by the venture capital firm DBL Partners. Previous investors in the company SolarCity, Microsoft co-Founder Paul Allen and eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar’s fund Omidyar Network joined DBL in the financing round. Off Grid Electric, which also advertises under its M-Power brand, offers solar energy as a service in Africa, starting with Tanzania and recently in Rwanda. expand full story

Solar Energy Stories September 9, 2015

Solar energy represents 40% of new electricity generation installed in 2015

GTM Research is out with a new report on the US solar industry’s second quarter 2015 and according to the firm, by most metrics the industry had its best quarter ever. The firm says that 40% of new electricity generation installed in the US in 2015 is from solar energy.

Solar Energy Stories August 28, 2015


Yesterday SolarCity released a SEC filing listing the milestones its co-founders need to achieve to vest tranches of shares of their new performance-based compensation plan. The milestones reveal some ambitious goals for the solar installer.

For example, the first milestone is to achieve a cost of production of $0.50/Watt for solar modules with at least 20% efficiency. expand full story

Solar Energy Stories August 24, 2015

solarcity_installersThe global stock market had a horrible day. Even Wall Street darlings like Google and Apple saw billions of dollars trimmed off their market capitalizations. A surprising exception, SolarCity, the largest residential solar installer in the US, managed to go against the grain and closed the day with an impressive 7% gain thanks to its Chairman and major shareholder Elon Musk who bought another $5 million worth of shares during the stock’s price fall to add to his holding in the company now worth over $900 million of SolarCity’s total market cap of just over $4 billion. expand full story

Solar Energy Stories July 11, 2015


Electric cars continue to sell well in spite of lower gas prices. Why? Because it is still an order of magnitude less expensive to fill up an electric vehicle. And that’s if you pay for your electricity rather than get it from solar panels or free EV chargers. I expect Tesla’s Model X launch, the rise of solar panels and continuing education of car buyers to accelerate this trend for the second half of 2015. Five more graphs below: expand full story

Solar Energy Stories April 17, 2015

Screenshot 2015-04-17 13.25.25

Tesla is going to make a home battery announcement on April 30th. It will be a big deal. But it isn’t hard to find some of the details on the batteries Tesla is going to offer. Analysts, like above^ are claiming to have “secret info” on the announcement: Tesla secretly tested its battery solution with 300 customers.

But that info and much more is available on Solar City’s website. In fact, Tesla’s Home Batteries including pictures and lots of details are all  hidden in plain sight:


Tesla also gave plenty of details on their earnings call in February where Musk talked about releasing a consumer battery project:

Yes, we’re going to do — we’re going to unveil some of the Tesla home battery consumer battery that will be for you using and people’s houses or businesses, fairly soon. We have to design and it should start going into production probably about six months or so. We’ll probably got to wait to have sort of product availing it’s probably in the next month or two. It’s really great. I’m really excited about it.

If you’ve talked to Solar City, they may have provided you with the specs of Tesla’s prototype battery:


Tesla will certainly announce some new innovations that perhaps differentiate them from other batteries. Being able to Supercharge your Model S at home would be nice. Perhaps a Webb/App controller with some novel uses would be good.

I’d like to see it compared against home generators which cost a lot more, even before considering the savings against time of use metering in power. We’ll be on hand on the 30th to see what is on offer.



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