Solar Energy News

What's happening around the world in the solar industry and how it might affect you

SolarCity bond offering could catapult the company

Now that any ordinary person with $1,000 can invest in SolarCity’s solar bonds, the already-strong company could have access to nearly unlimited capital for continued growth and expansion.

SolarCity, the country’s largest solar installer, installs more than a third of all residential solar panels sold in the United States right now. And it only operates in 15 states.

When the company announced this week that it has established the nation’s first registered public offering of solar bonds, it was a blip on the Internet newsfeeds. But it could be tremendously impactful.

"This is very much part of the company's push to vertically integrate,” said Tim Newell, vice president of financial products for SolarCIty.

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SolarCity's loan program could expand solar market

SolarCity launched a new loan program this week that didn’t make big headlines, but that could be big news for the solar industry.

SolarCity and its counterparts Sungevity, Sunrun and Vivint Solar helped to make rooftop solar mainstream by developing the leasing model. Instead of ponying up cash for a rooftop solar installation or begging the bank to come up with a viable loan package, homeowners could have solar panels installed on their homes and pay the solar installer instead of the utility company for power.

That business model cracked open the middle class market for solar. Nearly 80 percent of California’s residential rooftop solar installations are third-party owned. Nationally, leased systems grew to account for 66 percent of all rooftop solar installation in 2013 from 40 percent in 2011, according to a report in the New York Times.

But only 23 states allow third-party systems and some of those still aren’t especially advantageous for the business model.

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Solar plane to circumnavigate the globe from UAE

Solar panels on the roof of your house – of course. Solar panels on the roof of your car – makes sense, especially if your car is electric. Solar panels on the wings of your plane? That’s a little more futuristic. But it’s happening.

The Solar Impulse 2, debuted in April, seats two, flies about 60 miles per hour and needs only stop to give the pilot a break. If not for its passengers, the solar-powered plane could theoretically fly forever without ever stopping.

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Obama announces solar projects, programs ahead of UN Climate Summit

President Barack Obama made several announcements about programs designed to increase solar energy generation and economic stability ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit schedule to start this week.

First, Obama announced an aggressive plan to install more than 35 megawatts of solar in rural America. The Department of Agriculture has pledged to spend $68 million on energy efficiency upgrades and new solar installations, Obama said Thursday.

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