10 solar trends to watch for in 2012

Solar tech companies have suffered in 2011, and a speedy recovery in 2012 doesn’t seem likely. But the market holds huge potential for growth, and this dark time shall pass. Here is our look at solar trends to watch for in 2012.

Why solar and electric cars should be friends

Solar power and electric cars are an ideal match. Both are tied to the grid, and disruptive technologies, which are in an early market stage and which are trying to reduce costs. Partnerships just make sense.

How the Power of Collective Bargaining Can Reduce Solar Costs

logoA growing San Francisco-based solar energy initiative called 1 Block Off the Grid couples do-gooder motivation with a drive for profit and scalability that you might say could only have born in the City by the Bay.  The initiative aims to lower the cost of residential solar systems and simplify their selection by aggregating customers by neighborhoods and then collectively bargaining with installers on their behalf. Currently active in six U.S. cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, on Monday the initiative officially launched in the Colorado cities of Denver and Boulder, with REC Solar as the partnering installer.
So far about 230 residences totaling nearly 1 megawatt of power have contracted for solar systems through the initiative, and plans are afoot to expand into Palm Dessert, Calif., Phoenix, Ariz., and Austin, Texas, by the end of the year. Co-founder Dave Llorens tells us that he believes 1BOG could be contracting 1 MW of solar power per city, per year, by 2010. Part of the attraction is the cost savings — 1BOG has negotiated discounts of 10-15 percent from installers — but Llorens says it’s also that the initiative helps simplify the process for customers by providing free information, such as through webinars, and giving them confidence that the deal they’re getting from installers has been vetted.
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