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Reading list: A PV-related sampler, from solar-powered leathernecks to utility-scale drive-by photos


Tom Cheyney
Tom Cheyney
Tom Cheyney, former senior editor of PV-Tech and Photovoltaics International, is now chief curator of SolarCurator.com and director of Impress Labs’ solar practice.

There’s more than one media outlet and many good writers reporting on and analyzing the photovoltaics sector with solid editorial content, something underscored by the sampling of the following five stories posted on the Web over the past few days. Sometimes, hand-crafted aggregation can be a sincere form of flattery. Enjoy the ride.

Saving lives with solar power on the front lines

The embrace of solar and other renewable power by the US military has been one of the emerging themes in PV’s propagative arc.  David Roberts’ compelling piece in the December issue of Outside magazine zeroes in on one particular unit’s experience in using PV, the Marine Corps’ India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment—or India 3/5—and then extends the discussion to the larger issue of the greening of the Pentagon. Semper fi solaris! Full story link

Could First Solar be a target for acquisition?

Eric Wesoff at Greentech Media has never been shy about stirring interesting conjecture and thought(ful) provocation into his writings, and one of his latest posts entertains in this vein. He takes on the question of whether the leading US PV company, First Solar, might be a target for M&A activity from the likes of GE, Samsung, or some other large multinational corporation. After all, what’s a $10 billion drop in market capitalization among friends? Full story link

Another clandestine utility-scale solar photo shoot

Erstwhile indie PV observer Ed Gunther has a track record of taking road trips in search of solar projects. His latest blog at Gunther Portfolio shares a slideshow of the state of the construction site at the huge Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One being built by First Solar and their subcontracting team in remote Los Angeles County. The metal’s getting heavier on the desert floor, as posting and racking appear to be well under way. Full story link

Solar on your roof in five easy steps

The Los Angeles Times’ Scott Wilson offers a concise, five-step guide for those thinking about putting PV panels on their roofs.  The fifth item he lists often doesn’t get as much attention as it should: beware of unlicensed contractors. One item left out: make sure the condition of your roof is sound before proceeding with any installation, or you might be facing a deinstall/reinstall nightmare in a few years. Full story link

Japanese dentist reaps solar rewards

The interest level and demand for PV solutions have increased dramatically in post-Fukushima Japan. This translated article from  the Mainichi Daily News takes the experience of a middle-aged dentist who has had solar panels on his roof for 18 years as an example and then talks about the current state of residential solar in the country. Full story link


  • Photovoltaics International 27th Edition

    Now that the PV industry has unquestionably entered a new growth phase, all eyes are on which technologies will win through into the mainstream of PV manufacturing. PERC, n-type, p-type bifacial, heterojunction – all have become familiar terms in the ever-growing constellation of solar cell technologies. The question is which will offer manufacturers what they are looking for in improving efficiencies and cutting costs.

  • Manufacturing The Solar Future: The 2014 Production Annual

    Although the past few years have proved extremely testing for PV equipment manufacturers, falling module prices have driven solar end-market demand to previously unseen levels. That demand is now starting to be felt by manufacturers, to the extent that leading companies are starting to talk about serious capacity expansions later this year and into 2015. This means that the next 12 months will be a critical period if companies throughout the supply chain are to take full advantage of the PV industry’s next growth phase.



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