Suntech Power Declares Bankruptcy.

Suntech Power Declares Bankruptcy

“You made your bed, now lie in it.”

The expression kind of nails it. What was great for consumers and solar panel installers was slowly killing solar panel manufacture Suntech Power. Once the world’s largest solar panel manufacture, Suntech Power is now being forced into bankruptcy. Over production and the corresponding price drops were just part of Suntech Power’s problems. [USA Today via Greentech Media]


Global Solar Capacity Now Exceeds 100 Gigawatts. Wind Farms Break Records And Want Some Lovin Too.

Record breaking solar and wind power capacity.Not too shabby. Since 2011, over 60 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity has been installed worldwide. The last 30 GW installed in 2012 push the total solar capacity to 102 GW total. From Smart Planet:

“The preliminary results of the EPIA report shows that growth isn’t just concentrated in well-known solar regions, such as Germany. This year, there was a shift towards a more global PV market, with 13 GW of PV installations occurring outside of Europe, compared to just under 8 GW in 2011. The top three non-European markets were China with at least 3.5 GW and possibly as much as 4.5 GW, the United States with 3.2 GW and Japan with 2.5 GW.”

And not to be forgotten, wind farms added 44.7 GW of capacity in 2012 – beating the industry’s single year record, set in 2011, by 10%. Great to know 2012 was win win for renewable energy and not the end of the world. [Smart Planet and Smart Planet]


Growing Solar Power Industry Leads To An Increase In Hazardous Waste.

Solar Panel FarmShould you go solar or not? If you read through the AP story, “Solar power boom fuels increase in hazardous waste sent to dumps,” it’s hard to tell which way to go. Here’s an excerpt:

“While solar is a far less polluting energy source than coal or natural gas, many panel makers are nevertheless grappling with a hazardous waste problem. Fueled partly by billions in government incentives, the industry is creating millions of solar panels each year and, in the process, millions of pounds of polluted sludge and contaminated water.”

Translation: renewable solar power is far less polluting than coal and natural gas but thanks to $$$ in government incentives, demand and production are up and so is the associated pollution.

In related news, Scientists in Brazil have determined that “if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his ass when he’s hopping.” [Grist and Newser]


Energy Independent Saudi Arabia Is Investing $109 Billion In Solar Energy.

Solar installation in Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia just completed a 12,684 panel solar installation that generates 3.5-megawatts of renewable energy. It’s Saudi Arabia’s largest solar installation to date and part of their ongoing plan to invest $109 billion in solar power to reach 41,000 megawatts of solar capacity within two decades.

As the US strives for liquid fuel energy independence, currently liquid fuel energy independent Saudi Arabia is going solar. Maybe the US can learn from the Saudi’s, realize now that the whole liquid fuel energy independence thing is overrated, and skip that middle step and go directly to solar. [Bloomberg]


Would Solar Power Work At Your House?

Solar PanelsGreat story on GigaOM about Kevin C. Tofel’s personal journey and switch to solar power. The article,“One year with solar energy at home: Mostly sunny!,” covers the costs, tax breaks and the decisions he and his family had to make to go solar. Kevin and his family live in southeastern Pennsylvania and lost power during Hurricane Sandy – here’s how one of their cost-cutting choices came back on them:

“One of the upfront decisions you’ll need to make when planning a solar panel system is will you still be tied to the electric grid? Or will you go off-grid? There are pros and cons to each; the former costs less up front while the latter provides stored power during the evening hours or during an outage. Since we had no power during Hurricane Sandy, you can guess which system we have: One that keeps us tied to the grid.”

If you’re seriously considering switching to solar, read the full article. It’s excellent and focuses on the economics of switching to solar and stays away from the “I’m greener than you” message. [GigaOM]


Solar Porn: Apple Computer’s North Carolina Solar Farm.

Apple Computer's North Carolina solar farm.Covering 100 acres, Apple Computer’s North Carolina solar farm will be able to generate 20 MW of electricity. That’s enough to supply electricity to 630+ homes or in this case, partially supply Apple’s new data center with renewable power. [GigaOM and WCNC]