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Solar Pioneer Tom Dyer Explains How the Industry Evolved

Tom Dyer

Tom Dyer, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs for Kyocera Solar, Inc., has devoted his 40-year career to developing and commercializing solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems, and has quite a tale to tell.

Tom got into solar by happy accident in 1972, when he joined Spectrolab, a company that developed solar technologies for the U.S. space program: “In the early 1970s, the U.S. energy crisis was so bad that cars lined up at gas stations every other day, depending on whether their license plates were even- or odd-numbered,” he recalled. “My boss wanted to start a terrestrial solar cell program for use ‘here on Earth,’ and I was intrigued by the idea.” As project manager, Tom contributed to solar industry standards relating to cell fabrication, module packaging, system specification and sizing.

There were challenges in designing solar modules for terrestrial vs. space use. When developing solar technology, NASA emphasized the weight of the equipment, valuing watts per pound, but on Earth dollars per watt was — and still is — the name of the game. Thus began the challenge of lowering the cost of solar cells. “We also had to repackage solar cells so they would last for years despite the contaminants and moisture on Earth,” Tom stated. “This was imperative in making solar a viable energy source.”

The first practical application for solar in the U.S. was on lighted buoys in the Gulf of Mexico. They ran on batteries, which had to be periodically changed — a labor-intensive process. Solar power recharged the batteries, thus producing a continuously operating system.

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KYOCERA Launches Latest Solar Energy Solution: Kyocera Solar Finance

Kyocera to provide financing options for businesses seeking clean, sustainable energy.

As a world-leading supplier of solar energy solutions, Kyocera Solar, Inc. today announced the launch of its latest solution: Kyocera Solar Finance, a program designed to provide loan and lease options to consumers seeking light commercial and mid-to-large commercial installations.  In partnership with De Lage Landen Financial Services, Inc. (DLL), Kyocera Solar Finance will offer up to 100 percent financing for qualified borrowers. Interested applicants should contact solarfinance@kyocera.com.

Drawing on 37 years of experience in solar panel manufacturing, Kyocera designed a financing program that delivers to qualified consumers the company’s industry-leading solar panels and up to 100 percent financing of the total project cost, including inverters, racking, wiring, installation and other costs associated with the system installation.  This all-inclusive approach creates a streamlined process for customers ready to make the conversion to solar energy for the environmental and economic advantages it provides.

To read the full press release, go here.

KYOCERA to Supply 34 Megawatts of U.S.-Made Solar Modules for Utility-Scale Installation

Arizona-based solar project will rank among North America's largest.

Kyocera Solar, Inc., a leading supplier of reliable solar modules and renewable energy, announced today that it has begun shipments of 34 megawatts (MW) of its U.S.-made solar modules for a 127MW, utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) installation in southwestern Arizona. Production of the modules for this large-scale project will continue through March 2013.

Manufactured in Kyocera's San Diego production facility, the 245-watt and 315-watt modules will become part of the Arlington Valley Solar Energy II project ("AV Solar"), scheduled to begin operations in late 2013 on approximately 1,160 acres near Arizona's Hassayampa Substation in Maricopa County. Once complete, the project's 127MW-generating capacity will place it among the largest solar photovoltaic installations in North America.

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