Sunny side up: 7 quick highlights from the solar world




By Liz Enbysk

SGN Managing Editor


With this week's Solar Power International in Orlando, FL we're seeing a flurry of product announcements as well as some pretty dazzling facts and figures. It's too much information for anyone to wade through, so we did a little culling to come up with the seven quick highlights that appear below. (And here's today's bonus: Click to page 2 for a CNET news video on the solar robot that mechanically pivots solar panels on solar farms.)


1. Report cites historic solar growth

In Q2 of this year, the U.S. solar achieved its second-best quarter in history, having installed 742 megawatts of solar power, and the best quarter on record for the utility market segment, according to a new report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Utility-scale installations hit 477 megawatts in the second quarter, with eight states posting utility install projects of 10 megawatts or greater. In total, the U.S. now has 5,700 megawatts of installed solar capacity, enough to power more than 940,000 households. Get report details >>


2. A call for solar and utilities to seek a new regulatory structure

Earlier this week in Orlando, Julia Hamm, President and CEO of the Solar Electric Power Association, urged the "solar industry and the utility industry to invest in the development of a regulatory structure that allows for a new long-term, sustainable utility business model that encourages customers capable of installing solar to do so and rewards utilities that innovate and create a platform on which solar is fully leveraged for its strengths and which ensures the costs and benefits are fairly distributed.” Read more >>


3. Itron's push into the solar market

The Liberty Lake, WA company announced a dedicated meter for the solar market. Itron says the revenue-grade solar meter is ideal for monitoring the energy production of residential and commercial solar PV systems. The meter includes Itron cellular communications and associated Itron software. "Solar and the integration of renewable energy into the grid have long been a part of our smart grid vision," said Russ Vanos, an Itron VP. Read the press release >>


4. California hits solar milestone

The California ISO reported earlier this month that California surpassed a major milestone during a recent heat wave that hit the sun-soaked state. More than 1,000 megawatts of solar power generationâ€"equal to the size of two large gas-fired power plantsâ€"set new U.S. records twice in recent weeks. Read more >>


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