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2012: Solar Revolution in the United States?

ASU Music

By Cecilia Aguillon

Sometimes the biggest stories go unreported.  Of all the news that didn’t make headlines this year, the dramatic increase in U.S. solar installations ranks near the top of the list. While we were reading about weak demand for manufactured goods and a slow economy throughout 2012, Americans installed over 3 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems — an unprecedented level, up 71 percent year-over-year. Can you name another industry that grew this much?

Actually, America’s forecasted 3.2GW in 2012 is up from 1.9GW in 2011, and less than one gigawatt in 2010.  Global PV demand is now shifting away from Europe, where new installations fell by about 3GW in 2012.  And beyond the U.S., the addition of a feed-in tariff in 2012 has made Japan perhaps the world’s fastest-growing market for solar energy.

The U.S. industry grew despite questions about economic recovery, limited financing opportunities, polarizing viewpoints about renewable energy, an abundance of “cheap” natural gas, and a presidential campaign that made energy independence a political hot potato. One or two high-profile failures brought skepticism on an energy resource that, by all accounts, is one of the most promising ever discovered. The reality is that 2012 was the biggest year ever for U.S. solar installations.

American homeowners, businesses and utility companies drove investments in solar energy. California, Arizona, and Colorado accelerated the uptake of solar energy systems to the point of decreasing their incentive programs significantly. The lack of low-interest financing from conventional banks allowed third-party financing to sweep across states with leasing and “power purchase agreement” programs that encourage homeowners to install solar equipment without putting money down.

To read the entire article, go HERE.

Photo courtesy of APS-ES

KYOCERA Solar Panels Power Innovative Solar-to-EV Project with Smart City San Diego at San Diego Zoo

Solar-Powered Charging Station

Kyocera Solar Inc. announced today that its photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are powering the new 90-kilowatt canopy that charges electric vehicles (EVs) at the world-famous San Diego Zoo. The Solar-to-EV project, in partnership with Smart City San Diego, is run by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and is a part of the Zoo's commitment to environmental sustainability. All Kyocera solar panels used in this project were manufactured in the U.S.A. at the company's San Diego facility.

The Solar-to-EV project is among the first of its kind. Its Kyocera solar panels harness the sun's energy to charge EVs in the Zoo's parking lot and provide renewable energy to the electrical grid, while its high-tech battery system stores solar power for future use. Ten solar canopies, designed and installed by Vista-based Independent Energy Solutions (IES), produce 90 kilowatts (kW) of peak generating capacity - enough to power 59 homes - as well as five EV charging stations, including one in a nearby ADA-accessible parking space. Using new lithium-polymer battery technology, its 100-kW energy storage system is charged by the solar canopies to offset demand on the electrical grid and recharge EVs after sunset. When the battery is full, excess energy generated from sunlight is put into the grid to improve reliability and benefit the surrounding community. The solar canopies also provide shade to approximately 50 cars in the Zoo's southeast parking area.

To read the entire article, go HERE.

KYOCERA Awarded Clean Industry Certification by Mexico’s Environmental Protection Agency

KYOCERA Awarded Clean Industry Certification by Mexico’s Environmental Protection Agency

Certification is Company’s Third Consecutive PROFEPA Honor

Kyocera Mexicana S.A. de C.V. today announced that it has achieved Industria Limpia (Clean Industry) Certification from Mexico’s Federal Environmental Protection Agency, PROFEPA (Procuraduria Federal De Protection Al Ambiente). PROFEPA verifies compliance with environmental legislation through inspection and comprehensive audits of a company’s internal environmental controls. The Industria Limpia certification is issued at two-year intervals and the 2012 honor marks the third consecutive period for which Kyocera has achieved certification.

“At Kyocera, our goal is to provide high-value-added products and services while reducing waste, promoting energy efficiency and conserving resources,” said David Hester, president, Kyocera Mexicana. “It is noteworthy that with each successive environmental compliance and performance audit, Kyocera’s results continue to improve. During our most recent evaluation, we were pleased that auditors did not find a single corrective measure to be addressed.”

To read the enture article, go HERE.