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SolarCity is America’s #1 full-service solar provider. Thousands of homeowners are already enjoying the benefits of clean, affordable energy from SolarCity. They continuously monitor each solar power system to ensure everything’s running smoothly,…

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While solar energy has undeniably ramped up in the residential sector, the commercial sector isn’t far behind. One of the world's largest retailers is going solar in a big way. Walmart, the king of cut rate retail, is adopting renewable energy and positioning itself as a leader as we enter the halfway mark of this decade. Many of today's utility companies call Walmart’s move bold and thinking ahead of the curve. Walmart recently said it plans to bring solar energy to 75 percent of its California stores, with the eventual goal of using solar or other renewables in 100 percent of its stores. “This is the beginning of the next wave in renewable energy for Walmart, an effort we announced in May when we welcomed President Obama to our Mountain View California store,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, VP of energy at Walmart. “These projects bring us closer to fulfilling our commitment to double the number of on-site solar energy projects in U.S. stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers—thereby reducing our energy expenses and generating clean energy in local communities.” Key Partners Help Walmart Succeed in Solar To implement solar… Read more

If you want to move in and up in the clean energy field, the jobs are out there and colleges are responding by offering a number of campus-based and online degree programs. These programs will get you up and running in the science of cleaner fuels and energy sources—like wind and solar.  Huge Uptick in Solar Heating and Cooling Jobs According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, more than 30,000 solar heating and cooling systems (SHC) are being installed very year in the US. These systems employ over 5,000 American workers from coast to coast.  An SHC roadmap, developed by SEIA-member companies and BEAM Engineering, goes even further, hoping to raise installed SHC capacity from 9 GW thermal to 300 GW thermal by 2050.  This calls for the installation of 100 million SHC panels over the next 35 years, creating over 50,000 good-paying American jobs. Some government analysts predict that the demand for administrative professionals with the skills to work on these new power and energy systems will climb by nearly 10 percent over the next eight years. This prediction has prompted schools… Read more

Not long ago, mariners sailed the seven seas in tall ships, filling their canvas sails with wind to explore “unknown worlds.” Tomorrow's space explorers may use solar sails to take them to distant, potentially habitable Earth-like worlds. Constructed of large, ultra-thin plastic sheets, solar sails will be "pushed" by sunlight—particles of light or photons—to propel their vessels across vast distances. The Pressure of Light Can light actually push a heavy spacecraft to near light speeds? Given enough time and the utter vacuum of space, scientists say yes. In the 1860s, Scottish physicist James Maxwell showed that light could exert pressure on an object, convincing scientists that solar sailing can be used to propel tomorrow’s spacecraft to the stars. When particles of light called photons impinge on a shiny surface, they impart a momentum to the object. A spacecraft with a large enough surface (sail) could thus be propelled to distant planets and star systems. Exploring Our Solar System Before we launch vast spacefaring vessels to the stars, NASA engineers plan to use solar sails to propel smaller exploratory ships to… Read more

Solar power is really taking off in many diverse forms. And why not?  The sun bathes the Earth with nearly 90 petawatts of power every day. Yet half the world still lives off the grid, and the demand for electrical power is expected to double by 2050. Making solar power more affordable by lowering manufacturing costs is crucial. So it’s easy to see why solar power researchers and engineers are pulling out all the stops to improve solar technology. One way to do that is to take solar panels to the next level—by printing solar cells. Nanoparticle Inks Thin film ink-based solar cells have already achieved conversion efficiencies of about 20 percent in the laboratory—with even higher efficiencies expected down the road. Another key advantage of thin-film solar energy is that the solar absorbing layers are unusually very thin—just 1-2 microns vs. 50-100 microns for more traditional silicon cells. This gives rise to coating thin films onto windows, roof shingles or other areas. The new sprayed on panels rival conventional solar cells in their ability to absorb electricity-producing sunlight. The… Read more

You’ve read about all the benefits of going solar, and because you happen to be handy with tools, you think you can cut out the professional installer and just do it yourself. While a number of articles insist you can go the DIY route, a properly installed and safe solar panel system is best left to the pros. Here’s why: The Three P’s: Professional Planning & Placement Most DIYers don’t take the time (or don’t know how) to plan and place plan every part of a solar system. Many simply don’t understand how solar panels work or even the basic principles in planning their system. There are charts and formulas that help professional installers design a solar panel system that’s best suited for a particular home and electricity usage. Location, angle of placement, local climate, a roof’s load bearing capacity, even the number of panels all come into play. A professional solar panel installer will know how to apply these variables in view of your energy needs and arrive at just the right system for you. If you fail to… Read more