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Reanimation of the Solar Blog
#102 - 2009-06-07 11:56 by
Eric - View or add comments : (0)
I have seen some interesting developments in the solar industry lately, so I expect there will be some posts soon about the following topics - Solyndra, microinverters, Applied Materials' new module, and new solar trackers. For a time there will be no comments accepted due to obsolete software, but eventually we will move to a new system.

8/25/2010 One year later and the Applied Materials big thin film format appears dead, trackers are a little bit hard to justify with falling panel prices, Solyndra seems to be doing well, and the microinverter market should get really interesting in 2011.
Photo of space station solar panels
#101 - 2006-12-21 01:31 by
Eric - View or add comments : (0)

Scale of the photo is very deceiving. Article here:

Universe Today website

update: "The solar wing was part of an interim power system. A primary goal of space shuttle Discovery’s seven-day visit to the space station was to rewire the lab and hook a new set of solar wings onto the permanent electricity grid.

The new panels rotate with the movement of the sun to maximize the amount of solar energy produced, but in order for the new panels to spin, the old panel had to be retracted.

While it was folded far enough to give clearance to the new panels, the old one got stuck after retracting halfway. NASA had wanted it to retract fully.

NASA was considering a fourth spacewalk if Friday’s efforts failed, and the solar array could be jettisoned in a worst-case scenario."

More pictures at the NASA site

HiRes closeup

edit: they eventually got them retracted, with the 4th spacewalk I believe.
Aquila rebate program press release
#100 - 2006-08-01 23:25 by
Eric - View or add comments : (0)

Customers flock to sign up to cut solar installation costs by thousands of dollars

PUEBLO, CO., Aug. 1, 2006 – Aquila’s 92,000 Colorado electric customers may see a one percent adjustment in their energy bills starting September 1, 2006, if the state utility commission approves tariffs submitted Monday to help pay for a state-sanctioned program to promote renewable energy.
Aquila filed a request to the Public Utilities Commission to add a Renewable Energy Standard Adjustment (RESA) to electric bills starting September 1.
The proposed RESA will pay for the Aquila Rebates and Incentives for Solar Energy program, which provides financial incentives for Aquila electric customers who install photovoltaic (PV) systems – equipment which converts sunlight into electricity.
The program is part of Aquila’s ongoing commitment to developing renewable energy, as well as a response to Colorado’s Amendment 37, an initiative passed in 2004 which mandated that utilities meet several minimum requirements for generating or selling renewable energy starting in 2007.
Under Aquila’s proposed RESA, the average residential customer would receive an increase of approximately $7.68 annually, or about $0.64 per month. An average small business customer would receive an increase of approximately $62.70 annually, or about $5.23 per month. The funds received from this tariff, which will total $1.48 million in 2007, will be used solely for the purpose of complying with Colorado’s renewable energy standard.
The Aquila Rebates and Incentives for Solar Energy program was approved by the commission on June 27 and launched on July 3. Since then, said Gary Stone, Aquila’s vice president of Colorado electric operations, 22 customers have applied, representing 172 kilowatts of renewable energy. Half of those customers have been certified by Aquila to receive the payments and may begin installing the PV panels this year.
Aquila’s declining incentive structure allows rebates from $3.50 per watt to $5.00 per watt, depending on when applications are approved. A three-kilowatt PV system installed on a typical 3,000-square-foot house would cost about $27,000. That price could be reduced as much as $15,000 under the Aquila rebate program. Incentives could be much higher for larger homes and businesses.
Aquila’s program provides a two-part incentive to qualifying customers:
· Direct rebates for equipment and installation costs, based on the PV system’s rating.
· Renewable Energy Credits (REC), which are primarily based on the environmental attributes associated with renewable energy generation.
For PV systems up to 10 kilowatts, the REC would be paid in a one-time lump sum. For systems from 10 kilowatts to 100 kilowatts, the REC would be an annual payment.
Additionally, on days when panels generate more power than customers use, customers will earn a bill credit from Aquila.
Customers interested in the program should contact a PV contractor qualified by the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association. A list of qualified PV contractors is available at Next, the customer needs to complete a rebate application form, available from the contractor or online at , and submit the form to Aquila. More information is available at (800) 454-8651.
Aquila’s Colorado electric operations are based in Pueblo and serve 92,000 customers in Canon City, Cripple Creek, Florence, Penrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Westcliffe and several other south-central Colorado communities.
Based in Kansas City, Mo., Aquila (NYSE:ILA) operates electricity and natural gas distribution utilities serving one million customers in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska re information is available at

Cost of Coal-fired Plants, revisited
#99 - 2006-05-29 23:32 by
Eric - View or add comments : (0)
Last year we noted the cost of coal-fired power plants was not low, at approximately $ 2 /W.

Another article confirms this-

AEP: 600MW at $ 1.3 billion ea "integrated gasification combined cycle," or I.G.C.C.

Peabody 1500 MW at $ 2 billion ea [not explicit in the article] "Pulverized" (dirtier)

They also mention a 15-20% difference in cost between the technologies. As you can see the numbers are not very definite. The article touches on several other interesting issues as well.
Two articles on Chinese Solar Business
#98 - 2006-04-24 17:40 by
Eric - View or add comments : (0)
Two good articles submitted by member solarplaza are available in the articles section.

Enormous Growth of Chinese PV Industry

Successful PV Business Tour China: the Chinese industry is rapid

Thanks for submitting.
Large Colorado System for Xcel
#97 - 2006-03-30 13:56 by
Eric - View or add comments : (0)
"On March 30, 2006, Public Service Company of Colorado (“PSCo”), an operating company subsidiary of Xcel Energy, Inc. issued a Request for Proposals for new solar electric energy resources.

Through this solicitation, PSCo is requesting proposals for approximately 13,700 MWh of annual solar electric energy to be generated from photovoltaic or concentrating photovoltaic technologies built on land, which PSCo has optioned, near PSCo’s Mosca Substation approximately 20 miles north of Alamosa, Colorado"

13,700MWh/yr would be approximately an 8 MW system.

Xcel RFP

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