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World’s largest solar bridge over the Thames River. Solarcentury installed 4,400 solar photovoltaic panels on the bridge.

Was just there!


neat.
» U.S. to Place Tariffs on Solar Panels From China

Whatever political spin proponents or critics might want to put on the tariff decision, there is no question that solar panels from China now control about half of the American market, while panels from the United States control less than a third. American imports of Chinese solar panels have soared to $2.65 billion last year from $21.3 million in 2005.

While American manufacturers oppose the imports and filed the trade case against China, users of solar energy have benefited from low-cost Chinese solar panels. An American industry group composed of companies that sell and install solar panels said Tuesday that it was pleased with the relatively small size of the tariffs, having braced for higher ones.

nytimes, 20.03.12.

» Solar Grid Parity 101 — and why you should care

Solar grid parity is considered the tipping point for solar power, when installing solar power will cost less than buying electricity from the grid. It’s also a tipping point for the electricity system, when millions of Americans can choose energy production and self-reliance over dependence on their electric utility.

But this simple concept conceals a great deal of complexity. And given the stakes of solar grid parity, it’s worth exploring the details.

read more: grist.org, 15.01.2012.

energy economics! complicated.

but good to have this all explained,
and even better to know that we’re reaching parity. 
(and that we may soon have access to affordable sustainable energy for our own homes.)

» Krugman: Here comes the sun

The economist talks about fracking and the cost of solar power.

..So it’s worth pointing out that special treatment for fracking makes a mockery of free-market principles. Pro-fracking politicians claim to be against subsidies, yet letting an industry impose costs without paying compensation is in effect a huge subsidy. They say they oppose having the government “pick winners,” yet they demand special treatment for this industry precisely because they claim it will be a winner.

But Solyndra’s failure was actually caused by technological success: the price of solar panels is dropping fast, and Solyndra couldn’t keep up with the competition. In fact, progress in solar panels has been so dramatic and sustained that, as a blog post at Scientific American put it, “there’s now frequent talk of a ‘Moore’s law’ in solar energy,” with prices adjusted for inflation falling around 7 percent a year.

This has already led to rapid growth in solar installations, but even more change may be just around the corner. If the downward trend continues — and if anything it seems to be accelerating — we’re just a few years from the point at which electricity from solar panels becomes cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal.

And if we priced coal-fired power right, taking into account the huge health and other costs it imposes, it’s likely that we would already have passed that tipping point.

But will our political system delay the energy transformation now within reach?

nytimes, 06.11.11.


apartments in SF’s Hayes Valley, dec.1997.

» Solarladefenster / solar window charger

This XD Design solar window charger, with big USB and small USB output, is easily attachable to your window. The outside of the charger catches sunlight, while the smooth designed inside spices up your interior and charges your electronic equipment.

includes mini-usb cable.

50€

» Solar energy company collapse a worrisome sign for 'green-tech' hopes

The collapse of a once-promising Bay Area solar panel manufacturer may signal a shaky future for a green jobs sector targeted for government stimulus spending, experts said Wednesday.

Two main factors led to Solyndra’s bankruptcy: China exporting increasingly cheap solar panels and the company using a design that made sense only when costs of materials were high, said Severin Borenstein, professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and co-director at the school’s Energy Institute.

The collapse also exposed the folly of stimulus programs that venture too far downstream into areas where governments are trying to pick winners, he said. Solyndra had received a $535 million federal loan guarantee.

solyndra to shut down, laying off 1100 employees.
mercurynews, 31.08.11

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