Editors' Blog

  • YingliSolar

    How important is Yingli’s sponsorship of the Brazil World Cup for solar?

    By Peter Bennett - 25 March 2014, 06:07 | 1

    Here’s a challenge for you – spot the odd one out from the following list of 2014 FIFA world cup sponsors: McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Castrol, Budweiser, Adidas, Visa, Sony and Yingli.

  • Risk

    PV, a dicey business

    By Ben Willis - 21 March 2014, 10:39

    Events in Ukraine highlight how easily apparently safe solar investments can suddenly look very precarious. As PV expands its global reach, managing political risk will become an increasing concern, says Ben Willis.

  • Activ Solar's Perovo power plant

    Uncertain future for Ukraine’s PV power plants

    By Lucy Woods - 12 March 2014, 10:20

    As Russia strengthens its grip on Crimea, the fate of PV power plants in the region and in wider Ukraine is in limbo. Lucy Woods reports.

  • Bill Clinton

    If money makes the world spin round, investment is the new name of the solar game

    By Lucy Woods - 31 January 2014, 12:36 | 1

    Former US president Bill Clinton led a rally of high profile calls for a rethinking of renewable energy investment at a clean-tech conference in Germany last week. Lucy Woods heard what he had to say.

  • Solar sunset

    So long, and thanks for all the sunshine

    By Felicity Carus - 07 January 2014, 11:33 | 4

    In her final blog for PV Tech, Felicity Carus reflects on the changes she has seen in her time as an observer of the US solar market. Although huge challenges remain, the industry is in great health, she writes.

  • Meyer Burger's SmartWire Connection Technology

    Top 10 PV Tech product reviews of 2013

    By Mark Osborne - 03 January 2014, 11:57

    Despite a lack of spending on new product development 2013 still turned out some interesting new entrants from new tools for factories to new modules and inverters. We run through the top ten products by page views that caught the eye of PV Tech readers in 2013.

  • Thin-film

    Top 10 PV Tech news stories of 2013

    By Mark Osborne - 02 January 2014, 10:40

    Looking back over 2013, it’s clear the year was a transitional one. A key takeaway has been the recovery in end-market demand that has restored manufacturing utilisation rates to almost 100% for tier one PV module manufacturers and the opportunity for many but not all PV module manufacturers to return to operating profits in the second half of the year.

  • A traditional British panto

    The heroes, villains, victims and fools of solar in 2013

    By John Parnell - 31 December 2013, 06:00

    Here in the UK the festive season also means panto season, so how would the last 12 months in the solar industry play out in the classic, over the top, slapstick theatre styling of pantomime and who would be the villain of the piece?

  • Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega Solar Power Plant

    The heavyweight PV projects of 2013

    By Ben Willis - 30 December 2013, 06:00

    While 2012 was arguably the year the solar mega project entered the public consciousness, with what are (for now) some of the world’s largest PV plants reaching completion, 2013 has seen its fair share of solar behemoths too. We profile the biggest projects of 2013 from the world’s biggest markets.

  • BrightSource's Ivanpah project

    CSP around the clock keeps developers up all night

    By Felicity Carus - 17 December 2013, 11:01

    Concentrated solar power has had a difficult year in the US, with several high-profile projects being turned down or shelved. But as Felicity Carus reports, it’s a technology that still has some distance to run.

  • Module shipments

    Solar trade wars: are you winning yet?

    By Felicity Carus - 10 December 2013, 10:52

    Trade disputes with the Chinese are still rumbling on in the US and Europe. As Felicity Carus reports, although efforts are still ongoing to find a settlement, the only winners so far have been Taiwanese cell manufacturers.

  • Money

    Solar’s ITC equity gap taxes the brightest minds in finance

    By Felicity Carus - 03 December 2013, 13:17

    The search is on for the next source of solar finance once the Investment Tax Credit winds, and some elaborate ideas are on the table. Just don’t mention sub-prime mortgages, says Felicity Carus.

  • Copper Mountain

    We need to talk about utility-scale solar…

    By Felicity Carus - 26 November 2013, 12:59

    Although much of the focus of debate in the US has been around residential and commercial solar, utility-scale projects represent the largest segment in America’s PV market. But as Felicity Carus, the days of the PV ‘mega’ project could be numbered.

  • Commercial solar

    Energy storage and the great commercial frontier: a solar star is born

    By Felicity Carus - 19 November 2013, 13:10

    Neither commercial-scale nor energy storage have yet take off in the US. But as Felicity Carus reports, this could be about change as companies eye opportunities in both segments.

  • Ontario FiTs

    Welcome to Canada, the new Germany for solar PV

    By Felicity Carus - 12 November 2013, 11:26 | 1

    Solar deployment in Canada has so far largely been restricted to its biggest economy, Ontario. But as Felicity Carus reports, other provinces are now beginning to consider the technology, even Alberta, home to the controversial tar sands.

  • SunEdison

    SunEdison entering phase of rapid expansion with new financial structures

    By Mark Osborne - 07 November 2013, 08:48

    SunEdison is racing to build significant scale to its PV power plant project business, while SolarCity has just successfully added a new financial business model to its bow.

  • Panasonic at SPI

    When will commercial solar hit the roof?

    By Felicity Carus - 05 November 2013, 13:44

    With the spotlight frequently shining on residential and utility-scale solar in the US, the commercial and industrial segments are often left in the dark. Felicity Carus reports on how they could shortly have their moment in the limelight.

  • Are utilities finally learning to love residential solar?

    By Felicity Carus - 29 October 2013, 13:14

    Investor-owned utility companies are often seen as the enemies of the US’s booming residential solar industry. But as Felicity Carus reports they are also emerging as solar providers themselves, with plenty more scope for their role to grow.

  • Joking aside

    SPI 2013: Comedy moments raise a laugh but Roth brings the sunshine

    By Felicity Carus - 24 October 2013, 12:45

    Some lighter moments at SPI 2013 in Chicago yesterday masked the serious trade and policy issues dominating the US solar scene. But at least the mood was lightened by a buoyant mood among the investor contingent, writes Felicity Carus from Chicago.

  • New growth versus established markets.

    SPI 2013: Small is beautiful from Minnesota to Taiwan - and why energy storage matters

    By Felicity Carus - 23 October 2013, 10:19 | 1

    Day two of Solar Power International saw varying predictions of the big opportunities for solar. Reporting from the event, Felicity Carus discovers where the hidden growth markets of the US are and hears how energy storage could be key to attracting solar finance.

  • Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel

    SPI Chicago: Second City gets a second chance with solar

    By Felicity Carus - 22 October 2013, 12:03

    Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emmanuel yesterday fired the starting gun on Solar Power International 2013. Felicity Carus reports on the event’s opening day, which saw a call to arms to the US solar industry.

  • Second wave of PV development

    Solar 2.0: a brave new profitless world of 100GW demand

    By Felicity Carus - 15 October 2013, 11:50 | 2

    Solexant chief executive Brad Mattson’s forthcoming book seeks to chart the way ahead for the development of PV technology. He’d better publish it quickly, or it’s likely to be out of date even before it hits the shelves, says Felicity Carus.

  • Saudi savings

    Solar workhorses could overtake the Ferraris of PV and CSP

    By Felicity Carus - 08 October 2013, 10:17 | 1

    Glasspoint and Alion are not quite disruptive technologies, but in some markets, they might just be in the right place at the right time.

  • Solar lives to fight another day

    NEM lives to fight another day in California

    By Felicity Carus - 01 October 2013, 08:00

    The long-awaited report on net metering by the California Public Utilities Commission apparently sided with utility companies that claim the system unfairly discriminates against non solar users. But as Felicity Carus reports, the commission overlooks come inconvenient truths that will make the economics of solar hard to ignore.

  • Installation costs for small systems

    California’s solar gravitational pull pushes national prices higher

    By Felicity Carus - 23 September 2013, 23:32

    Although the solar market in the US has reached 10GW, size has not led to a consistent decrease in prices for consumers, even in leading state California. Felicity Carus looks at the drivers behind America’s patchwork PV market.

  • Toaster

    It’s game on when PV turns into toasters

    By Felicity Carus - 17 September 2013, 12:11

    The cost of solar still has a long way to fall in the US before being comparable with the likes of Germany. We’ll know we’re there when people pay as little attention to who made their PV panel as their toaster, says Felicity Carus.

  • Silicon Valley

    Palo Alto solar takes on star quality

    By Felicity Carus - 10 September 2013, 09:53

    Silicon Valley’s Palo Alto, home to the semi-conductor industry, practises what it preaches by being a big solar user. Felicity Carus looks at the drivers for PV adoption in the city.

  • RPS sunset

    Final countdown for solar costs in ‘next generation’ post-RPS world

    By Felicity Carus - 03 September 2013, 09:02

    Discussion in the US solar world is dominated by what happens when the Investment Tax Credit is wound down. But as Felicity Carus writes, even more pressing is what the solar landscape will look like when state Renewable Portfolio Standards have expired.

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger with fellow panelists

    Why Schwarzenegger wants you disco-dancing with a solar-powered jacuzzi

    By Felicity Carus - 27 August 2013, 10:08 | 1

    Arnold Schwarzenegger may have retired to Hollywood, but the actor-turned-governor still pushes his image as a climate hero and clean energy champion, says Felicity Carus.

  • Slide 1

    Quest for consensus as some in solar industry seek peace agreement

    By Felicity Carus - 20 August 2013, 13:13

    Net energy metering for solar users has become the focal point of a fierce battle in the US, with utility companies seeking to undermine it. But the policy need not be at odds with utilities’ objectives, argues Felicity Carus.

  • Michael Splinter, Chairman and CEO of Applied Materials, is to move upstairs to become executive chairman of the Board of Directors, relinqu

    Is Applied Materials changing of the guard good for its solar business?

    By Mark Osborne - 16 August 2013, 13:17

    As reported, Mike Splinter, Chairman and CEO of Applied Materials (AMAT), is stepping down from the day-to-day running of the company, being replaced by Applied’s current President and former head of Varian Semiconductor, Gary Dickerson.

  • Slide 1

    Solar start-ups learning from mistakes of the past

    By Felicity Carus - 13 August 2013, 12:37

    Solar start-ups have struggled to raise capital and maintain credibility in recent years, thin-film companies in particular. Solar’s popularity on Sandhill Road has dropped dramatically.

  • TPO by state

    Will third party ownership shine after the 2016 sunset?

    By Felicity Carus - 06 August 2013, 11:29 | 3

    Third party ownership is the dominant business model underpinning residential solar in many parts of the US. But with the Investment Tax Credit decrease looming, Felicity Carus asks for how long this will remain the case.

  • Still from 60 Plus advertisement

    Whose hand is at work in Arizona solar subsidy attacks?

    By Felicity Carus - 23 July 2013, 14:38 | 6

    Solar is under attack in Arizona and is now the subject of a TV advertisement claiming it wastes ratepayers’ money. Felicity Carus reports on the fierce debate raging over who is behind Arizona’s assault on solar.

  • Pituacu Stadium, Brazil

    Can solar power win at the 2014 World Cup?

    By Andy Colthorpe - 18 July 2013, 15:15 | 1

    As with many big sporting occasions, all sorts of claims are being made about the environmental credentials of next year’s football World Cup in Brazil. But with solar installations set to play a central role in many of the event venues, Andy Colthorpe asks if it could put solar squarely on the map for this PV giant-in-waiting.

  • Solar Africa

    Where’s the sun gone in Obama’s US$7 billion Power Africa project?

    By Felicity Carus - 16 July 2013, 10:57

    Last month US president Barack Obama launched a multi-billion initiative to bring power to the African people. But with little of this money so far directed towards developing solar capacity in a continent ideally suited to it, Felicity Carus asks whether the money is being wisely spent.

  • CEO panel at Intersolar North America 2013

    Intersolar NA 2013: China trade case and a future that can’t come quickly enough

    By Felicity Carus - 12 July 2013, 21:26

    Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld America, accuses the Chinese government of bullying the US and European solar industry but is called to defend his company’s actions.

  • RSI touts worlds most powerful CdTe module

    A week of thin-film hype: Dyesol, Natcore and RSI

    By Mark Osborne - 12 July 2013, 15:20

    Despite a long list of thin-film company failures and retrenchments over the last few years, several start-ups continue to tout their technology offerings ahead of actual commercialisation.

  • Estimated capital requirements for historical and projected PV and wind deployment

    Intersolar NA 2013: solar securitisation…the billion-dollar first kiss

    By Felicity Carus - 11 July 2013, 11:26

    US$1.73 billion poured into project funds for third party lease companies such as SolarCity, Sunrun and SolarReserve in the last quarter, but for most developers, project finance is still hard work.

  • The hope is that ReneSola isn’t cursed by being included in BNEF’s tiering system

    Tears for tiers

    By Mark Osborne - 10 July 2013, 15:48

    First of all, congratulations to ReneSola for being included in Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) tiering system for PV module makers – joining the often used “Tier 1” category.

  • The Intersolar NA policy panel yesterday

    Intersolar NA 2013: What comes next for California… 50% RPS?

    By Felicity Carus - 10 July 2013, 10:47

    Although California is the undisputed leader among US states when it comes to solar deployment, the policies it will need to maintain this position are hotly contested. Felicity Carus reports from day two of Intersolar North America, where the Golden State’s solar future was top of the agenda.

  • Governor Jerry Brown

    Intersolar NA 2013: Governor Brown brings the sun and the fight to California

    By Felicity Carus - 09 July 2013, 11:18

    California governor Jerry Brown got Intersolar North America off to a rousing start in San Francisco yesterday. Reporting from the event, Felicity Carus says recent hard times for solar in the US are not overshadowing a new mood of optimism for the industry.

  • US solar installation. Image: Mosaic.

    SEIA’s watchful eye on the state of the states

    By Felicity Carus - 02 July 2013, 10:36

    The latest legislative period in the US has seen patchy progress in the advancement of political support for solar energy. Felicity Carus looks at which states have been the biggest supporters of solar in 2012-13.

  • qcells booth

    Intersolar Europe: Two weddings and a funeral as well as one excuse for divorce

    By Mark Osborne - 26 June 2013, 10:12 | 2

    Independently gauging visitor levels at any major event simply isn’t possible, so many will rely on the number of booths on a year to-year basis to measure a trade show’s growing or diminishing popularity.

  • Explosive growth in Massachusetts.

    Massachusetts’ emergency turns out well for solar

    By Felicity Carus - 25 June 2013, 14:22 | 1

    Massachusetts’ solar programme has been massively oversubscribed. Felicity Carus reports on how emergency measures to extend the programme have benefited the state.

  • Community solar programmes are proliferating, particularly in the western United States.

    Utilities fear what they cannot control with community solar

    By Felicity Carus - 18 June 2013, 09:01

    As the debate over solar net metering rages on in the US, focus is now shifting to the benefits offered by community solar programmes. While some utilities have embraced the concept, others are yet to be convinced, says Felicity Carus.

  • Global average module prices began a steep decline in 2008.

    Solar permitting project sees red and awards gold stars

    By Felicity Carus - 11 June 2013, 11:55

    The permitting process for solar projects in the US is notoriously complicated. Felicity Carus looks at ways it can be improved for the good of the industry.

  • Mosaic's latest project has investors from all over the US.

    Solar crowdfunding pushes way beyond the social network

    By Felicity Carus - 04 June 2013, 11:14

    Crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly popular tool in the US for raising capital for solar installations. Felicity Carus asks what all the hype is about.

  • Annual installed grid-connected PV capacity (MW) by sector (2002-2012).

    PURPA blends net metering potential with community solar

    By Felicity Carus - 28 May 2013, 10:17

    Electricity legislation introduced in the US in the 1970s has untapped potential for encouraging renewables, says Felicity Carus.

  • Mexico has all the right conditions in place for a solar boom. Image: Isofoton.

    Mexico offers tantalising prospect of a dawning major market

    By Felicity Carus - 21 May 2013, 14:22 | 2

    Mexico has all the right conditions for a solar boom. Felicity Carus investigates what it will take to turn promise into reality.

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