Photos: Next-gen solar tech at Intersolar

One of the largest solar conferences in the U.S., Intersolar, kicked off on Tuesday in downtown San Francisco, and is expected to draw around 22,000 attendees in the solar and power sectors this week. Here’s photos of the latest solar gear shown across two floors.

Turning a building into a solar honeycomb

Fusing solar technology with buildings is an area that tends to invite creative ideas. An intriguing design caught our attention at Intersolar in San Francisco this week: It’s a solar panel with a honeycomb structure that replaces the glass facades of a building.

Today in Cleantech

A lot of the focus of the Intersolar solar power trade show in San Francisco this week is on the “balance of systems” of solar PV installations — everything but the panels, that is. Of that share, the biggest additional costs come in the inverter systems, which change panel direct current (DC) into grid-ready alternating current (AC), and there’s certainly plenty to talk about on the inverter front at this year’s show. Of course, one of the biggest debates in the industry — central inverters vs. microinverters — continues to get a lot of attention, and this week’s show has its share of announcements on both the central inverters (SOLO, Ingeteam,)  and microinverter (SolarBridge, Enecsys) fronts. But there are also some new inverter designs that break new ground in terms of efficiency and cost. One of them is Ideal Power Converters, an Austin, Texas-based startup that says it can shrink the size, weight and cost of inverters by about 90 percent with a design that foregoes transformers and eliminates electrolytic capacitors, among other features. Then there’s Tigo Energy, which says its DC power optimization units can better solve many of the panel-specific problems microinverters are aimed at solving. I’ll be keeping an eye out for other Intersolar news on the BOS front — feel free to tell me what you’re seeing as well.

PHOTOS: Next-gen solar tech at Intersolar

Intersolar is one of the largest solar conference in the U.S. and is being held in San Francisco this week. Here’s 25 photos I snapped at the event while wandering around the show floors.

What the U.S. can learn from Germany to promote clean power

Germany has sprinted ahead of the U.S. when it comes to embracing clean energy and becoming the world’s largest solar market. That means Germany has learned some lessons that the U.S. could benefit from, including ways to drive down the cost of solar electricity fast.

Cleantech apocalypse? No, but it’s cyclical

The cries declaring a cleantech armageddon are coming keep on getting louder. But I don’t think cleantech is headed for a sharp crash. It’s been going through consolidation for some time now, and the cleantech sector is inherently cyclical and is heading into a down cycle.

Today in Cleantech

Intersolar North America kicks off at San Francisco’s Moscone Center tomorrow — what’s on the minds of the solar power movers and shakers in attendance? Here’s a roundup of preview coverage to give a sense of the hot topics at hand. Earth2Tech’s own Ucilia Wang lays out a five-point list that includes a focus on California as an early test market for the proposition of getting one-third of a region’s power from renewable resources, including intermittent solar, and the corresponding need to figure out ways to either store that energy or shift demand to times when solar can meet it. There’s also an interest in new markets for solar, with Europe seeing sluggish sales and the promise of U.S. solar market growth facing a potential backlash from political intransigence and economic uncertainty. From Greentech Media, here’s an introduction to some of the first of what’s likely to be many announcements in the field of concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems, as well as a focus on the balance-of-systems equipment debates underway, such as the relative merits of central inverters vs. microinverters, and how competitors in the latter group fare against one another. From the conference itself, here’s a running feed of all the press releases and announcements coming out of the show. Enjoy the sun.

5 hot topics to watch for at Intersolar

Here are our five topics to watch for at one of the largest U.S. solar conferences, Intersolar, in San Francisco this week. Policy — how to survive with more mandates and less money — along with new technology and markets will dominate the discussions.

Teamly: Collaboration With Priorities

Most collaboration tools focus on assigning tasks to the people on your team who will get them done. Teamly takes a different approach, encouraging your team to look for the priorities in your project and exercise a little autonomy.