Giga Solar, a 2011-startup based in Portola Valley, Calif., has a pretty simple value proposition: they design and build highly efficient ultra-light-weight mono-crystal solar modules. Mobile Solar is currently evaluating these modules for use in our MS, LT and PK model lines. We spoke with Chief Business Development Officer Sicco Westra.
Mr. Westra explained their primary customers are in the portable or transportable market, “where people want to have solar panels that they move around very frequently, have the ability to pick up and move it. Think about disaster relief applications, and temporary power situations. The military is evaluating these units for expeditionary missions.”
“I think the biggest benefit is the fact that they weigh only 35% of a standard panel, they are a lot easier to handle, they are safer, you can stick more of the panels in a box, because they don’t have a frame,” Westra said. The ability to pack a lot of power in a small, light-weight package is intriguing to us, from a mobile perspective, but Giga Solar’s biggest market will probably be the roof-top residential industry.
Why does light-weight matter for standard grid-connected systems? “It makes the handling of these panels a lot easier and safer than your standard aluminum-framed glass modules,” he explained, noting they are awaiting IEC Certification, but exploring the roof-top market.
“A lot of roofers like the light weight aspect of our panels; it makes the handling of them on a sloped roof a lot safer. When you have a panel that is only 16 pounds, it makes the whole installation a lot safer than a 40-45 pound panel. Light weight in and of itself you can say ‘so what,’ but there is a real safety benefit.
Here at Mobile Solar, we just think they’re cool, and provide another example of how quickly the PV industry is changing. You can learn more at: http://www.gigasolarpv.com/
Mobile Solar would like to applaud the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for its decision to green light battery-based grid-connected photovoltaic systems. Utilities such as PG&E had been pushing for huge fees and a burdensome regulatory process in order to dissuade homeowners from storing energy in batteries in conjunction with their roof-top solar electric systems. Well the CPUC has stood up and told those self-serving utilities to “sit down!” Hats off to you, CPUC!!!
California to Utilities: Connect Battery-Solar Systems to the Grid
UPDATE: SolarCity resumes applications as California regulators clear way for net-metered solar-battery systems
Jeff St. John
April 16, 2014
California regulators have just issued a rebuke to utilities, and a thumbs-up to customers and companies that want to connect hundreds of now-stalled battery-backed solar PV projects across the state.
On Tuesday, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision that would exempt most storage-solar projects from extra utility fees and interconnection studies (PDF). Instead, it would require utilities to treat them as regular old net-metered solar systems, as long as they meet certain requirements.
Investment Bank Morgan Stanley predicts huge numbers of homeowners will go off-grid in the coming years, due mainly to increasingly affordable photovoltaic technology and Tesla’s massive new lithium-ion battery factory in Nevada. What will this mean for you?
Morgan Stanley: Tipping point nears for going off grid
By Giles Parkinson on 25 March 2014
Investment bank Morgan Stanley says it has been overwhelmed by the response to its recent analysis which suggested that the falling costs of both solar modules and battery storage presented a potential tipping point that would encourage huge numbers of homeowners and businesses in the US to go off grid.
The initial report, published earlier this month, has been followed up by a note from Morgan Stanley highlighting the extent to which investors had been unaware of these mega trends, which threaten massive disruption in the trillion-dollar utility business.
Sure, they had heard that solar was proving popular, but had no idea of the size of the market that Morgan Stanley had identified. And while most had been skeptical of the potential impact of battery storage, they were intrigued by the potential cost falls that could be achieved by Tesla, the electric car company, and its ability to monitor power levels in batteries and schedule a battery swap in the case of depletion.
More importantly, the investors were particularly focused on how utilities might respond. Solar, they suggested, should be seen as an opportunity and utilities should look at ways of becoming enablers of these technologies, rather than barriers.
Former President Clinton speaking at the Global Initiative (CGI) conference in Phoenix 2013. The event was powered by Arizona Public Service (APS) with a MS-375 they purchased from Mobile Solar.
Each year, CGI U hosts a meeting where students, youth organizations, topic experts, and celebrities come together to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges.
To learn more about the CGI check out their website:
Arsenic And Other Toxins Leaking Into Dan River From North Carolina Coal Ash Dump
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina officials said Tuesday that groundwater containing unsafe levels of arsenic apparently leaching from a Duke Energy coal ash dump is still pouring into the Dan River, which is already contaminated from a massive Feb. 2 spill.
The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources ordered Duke to stop the flow of contaminated water coming out a pipe that runs under a huge coal ash dump at its Eden power plant. A nearby pipe at the same dump collapsed without warning two weeks ago, coating the bottom of the Dan River with toxic ash as far as 70 miles downstream.
Oil Train Accidents Spur Worry About Future Of Shipping Crude By Rail
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — At least 10 times since 2008, freight trains hauling oil across North America have derailed and spilled significant quantities of crude, with most of the accidents touching off fires or catastrophic explosions.
The derailments released almost 3 million gallons of oil, nearly twice as much as the largest pipeline spill in the U.S. since at least 1986. And the deadliest wreck killed 47 people in the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec.
Those findings, from an Associated Press review of U.S. and Canadian accident records, underscore a lesser-known danger of America’s oil boom, which is changing the global energy balance and raising urgent safety questions closer to home.
– GUEST BLOG BY ROSANA FRANCESCATO OF PV SOLAR REPORT –
Washington Gas Energy Systems announces the completion of two solar arrays at California schools. Both facilities will be owned and operated by Washington Gas Energy Systems under 20-year power purchase agreements.
Schools have been eager solar adopters recently, as they find that by going solar they save money and also provide an educational opportunity for their students.
Another story came in today about schools going solar, when Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc. announced the completion of two California solar projects for Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona and Corcoran Unified School District in Corcoran. Both facilities will be owned and operated by Washington Gas Energy Systems under 20-year power purchase agreements.
continue reading here: http://easycleanenergy.com/cecblog/index.php/more-schools-go-solar-save-money/
Check out this article in PV Magazine:
“Paso Robles, California is a populated urban area with an abundance of solar exposure and limited building space. Due to an unreliable utility grid producing frequent service outages, the community sought an alternative energy solution to offset utility grid dependency and take advantage of California’s lucrative net-metering opportunities. A grid-tied system would exceed spacing restraints and disconnect from the grid during utility outages— an all-too-frequent occurrence. With these limitations in mind, it was clear that this project required a more advanced system with a small footprint.Working within project constraints, Mobile Solar designed a PV system with 418Ah/48V battery backup storage housed in a custom-built structure behind the condominium. The state-of-the-art system includes an OutBack FLEXpower TWO pre-wired system to maintain the backup batteries at a full state of charge and supply power to the OutBack inverters, allowing the resident to sell excess electricity back to the grid for additional financial incentives. Using this net-metering program, the condominium owner now has the potential to completely eliminate costly utility bills.”
Click on the case study to read in its entirety:
Solar Generators: Clean, Portable Power
11/20/2012 12:01:50 PM
Generators are typically used to provide electricity during power outages (e.g., during storms, emergencies, and related disaster-relief operations) or in off-grid situations or areas where there is no access to a built-in power source (e.g., on construction sites, on camping trips, or at outdoor events—for concert stages, food booths, etc.). So, in a nutshell, they’re mostly used for temporary, portable/mobile, back-up, or remote power needs. Generators are especially critical for some farms, to keep well pumps running (during power outages) to be able to continue to get water to livestock or crops.
Conventional generators have a number of downsides. They require gasoline (or diesel fuel), which can be expensive — especially during emergencies, when there can also be gas shortages. The emissions from gas-powered generators also contribute to air pollution and climate change, and they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning when placed inside a home or building, or too close to doors, windows, or vents on the outside of a building. Furthermore, gas generators are very loud.