Solar Cloth Co. manufactures lightweight and flexible solar panels that users can fit onto many types of structures, including domes, as well as roofs that cannot support traditional solar panels. The company uses thin film photovoltaics, a product lightweight enough to work on plastics. The panels weigh 80% less than traditional glass solar panels but produce 15% less power and cost twice as much.
Georgetown, Texas, has set a goal to source 100% of its electricity from wind energy and solar power. The city signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with EDF Renewable Energy to buy wind power from one of its wind farms, and an agreement with SunEdison to purchase 150 megawatts of solar power beginning next year. "Georgetown is a model for other cities that hope to become powered by clean renewable energy," said SunEdison Executive Vice President Paul Gaynor.
California could generate enough energy to meet its demands three to five times over simply by putting solar panels on existing buildings and other urban infrastructure, according to a study from the Carnegie Institution for Science. That could allow the development of utility-scale solar power without the need to build environmentally disruptive solar farms in rural or desert areas.
Duke Energy will spend $500 million on solar-energy projects in a bid to comply with North Carolina's renewable-energy portfolio requirements, says Rob Caldwell, the utility's vice president of renewable generation development. The company will build three solar facilities of its own and will buy renewable power from five other facilities.
The spread of solar energy projects has stalled in Wisconsin after state regulators reduced funding for installation of rooftop solar panels and the fees that utilities pay for power coming from solar households, according to this article. This has dampened demand for renewable energy, causing electricians to be less involved with rooftop solar work and local companies to develop projects outside the state. However, renewable energy is poised to grow because of support from government climate-change policies, said Carl Siegrist, a solar energy consultant.