Quartz: Solar power will soon be as cheap as coal

Inside a sprawling single-story office building in Bedford, Massachusetts, in a secret room known as the Growth Hall, the future of solar power is cooking at more than 2,500 °F. Behind closed doors and downturned blinds, custom-built ovens with ambitious names like “Fearless” and “Intrepid” are helping to perfect a new technique of making silicon wafers, the workhorse of today’s solar panels. If all goes well, the new method could cut the cost of solar power by more than 20% in the next few years.

“This humble wafer will allow solar to be as cheap as coal and will drastically change the way we consume energy,” says Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366 Technologies, the company behind the new method of wafer fabrication.

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NY Times: Solar Power Battle Puts Hawaii at Forefront of Worldwide Changes

Allan Akamine has looked all around the winding, palm tree-lined cul-de-sacs of his suburban neighborhood in Mililani here on Oahu and, with an equal mix of frustration and bemusement, seen roof after roof bearing solar panels.

Mr. Akamine, 61, a manager for a cable company, has wanted nothing more than to lower his $600 to $700 monthly electric bill with a solar system of his own. But for 18 months or so, the state’s biggest utility barred him and thousands of other customers from getting one, citing concerns that power generated by rooftop systems was overwhelming its ability to handle it.

Only under strict orders from state energy officials did the utility, the Hawaiian Electric Company, recently rush to approve the lengthy backlog of solar applications, including Mr. Akamine’s.

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Forbes: Apple Goes To China To Build Solar Projects With SunPower

You read it right. The guys who are bringing you fancy watches is teaming up with SunPower SPWR -0.2% to build 40 megawatts of solar generation projects in the Sichuan Province.

Apple has been developing its own solar power projects in the United States and worked with SunPower to build some of them. Those projects, owned by Apple, are located near or next to its data centers in North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada and are designed to send clean energy into the local grids from which Apple draws energy. In all, SunPower has built 90 megawatts of projects for Apple in the U.S.

Apple also signed a $850 million deal to buy solar power from a 130-megawatt project that will be built by First Solar FSLR -1.56% in California. Apple expects the project to feed enough power into the grid to provide for all of its needs in the state.

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The Columbus Dispatch: Solar energy gets cloudy in Ohio

On one side are thousands of acres of Vermont forest. On the other, the rippling waters of the Connecticut River. And there, in the middle, is a team of Ohio solar-power developers, a long way from home.

Hull & Associates of Dublin, the project manager behind a Brattleboro, Vt., solar array, has been looking far afield for work following a steep drop in projects in Ohio. The company is one of several whose leaders blame recent Ohio legislation for drying up work here, forcing Ohio-based developers and installers to compete for jobs far from their home turf.

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Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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