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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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Look on the rooftops of most residential neighborhoods and you’re likely to see solar panels. In the last few years, solar panels have become increasingly important in offsetting the rising costs of electricity. If you haven’t considered installing solar panels in your home recently, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that prices have come down. Competition, Economies of Scale Reduce Costs There are a number of reasons solar panel costs have come down. One is simply due to economies of scale. Much like giant screen TVs, producing more solar panels over time reduces production costs. Another factor is competition among solar panel providers, which also drives down costs. But one factor that can’t be ignored is the overall improvement in solar panel technology and how these devices are manufactured. $53 Million for Next Generation Technology Solar PV panels now cost half of what they did just three years ago. As companies continue to invest in new, more efficient and productive manufacturing facilities, costs will go down as production scales up. To drive down costs even further, US Energy Secretary… Read more

Many homeowners faced with ever-escalating electric bills have decided to go solar, and for good reason. Solar energy is clean, renewable and growing less expensive as new technologies bring down the cost. If you’ve decided to go solar, there are a number of things you can do make you home “solar ready.” Taking these steps will ensure that the installation of your solar system will be as easy and inexpensive as possible. Make Room for Your Solar Panels You’ll need several solar panels to provide enough electrical power to offset their cost in the long run. Typically, you’ll need about 260 square feet (24 square meters) of sunlit space on your roof. This area should be unobstructed by TV antennas, trees, chimneys, and other buildings or structures for most of the day. If you lack roof space, you can opt for fewer, more efficient solar panels. Consider, too, the feasibility of mounting some of your solar panels on your patio cover. Choosing the Right Roof Direction Solar panels need to face the sun directly to most efficiently turn sunlight into… Read more

If you’ve recently had solar panels installed on the roof of your home or are considering doing so, there are some things you should know about taking care of them. But first a little background on how they work. Converting Photons to Free Electrons Solar cells, also known as photovoltaic (PV) cells are usually made of semiconductors like silicon and convert sunlight directly into electricity. The solar modules placed on your roof are merely groups of electrically connected cells packaged into solar panels. When sunlight strikes these cells, they absorb some of the light. This dislodges electrons in these semiconductors so they can flow freely. The electric field in each PV cell forces these freed electrons to flow, creating the electric current that powers the various devices in your home. The more direct sunlight each PV cell can absorb, the more power you get out of them. The Good News Solar panels have no moving parts, so they don’t require a lot of maintenance. Once properly installed, solar panels will provide years of service, rain or shine—yes they even work… Read more

2014 was a solid twelve months, for the most part, for renewable technologies. Solar firmly solidified its role as a major source of power in the future, LED sales continued to climb and investors began to more seriously look how efficiency gains can be measured and hence monetized in large commercial buildings. Meanwhile, large utilities began to question the long-term value of coal-burning power plants, a slide in oil prices gave investors the willies and nuclear advocates saw their once-theorized Renaissance get pushed out again. Heck, even the DOE loan program that was so intently scrutinized during the Solyndra fiasco posted a profit. It was a very good year. So what’s on tap for 2015? 1. Finance Enters its Cambrian Period Over the past few years, some of the big success stories in clean technology have been companies such as SunRun, Clean Power Finance and SunEdison that have developed and/or promoted innovative ways for consumers or businesses to fund efficiency or renewable projects. Renovate America went from being a company few had heard of in the beginning of 2014 to… Read more

Solaicx began production at their new manufacturing plant in Portland, Oregon at the end of 2007. While current capacity of the plant is 40 MW, production will increase to 180 MW in the future. CleanTechnica: What kinds of general trends have you seen in the solar industry as a whole? John Sedgwick: The general objective of the entire industry is to reduce costs. What we see in markets across the world is, as you lower the levelized costs of solar electricity down to the levelized cost of traditional electricity, the markets just go vertical. When you look over time, the industry is doing dramatically well at reducing costs.That’s even when you take into account some significant challenges, things like polysilicon shortages and other shortages that have popped up as a direct result of a market that has been growing at 35%, 40%, and 50% a year have caused shortages that have increased some costs in the chain. Yet, because of manufacturing efficiencies, conversion efficiencies, and economies of scale, the industry has been able to hold the line on any cost… Read more