EnergySage’s Solar Energy News Roundup

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Solar News Roundup

The sun keeps shining and the outlook for the solar industry keeps getting brighter every day. Learn more about it in EnergySage’s roundup of solar energy news for the week of September 21st, 2015. 

San Antonio Utility Company Offering Cash To Prospective Solar Shoppers

CPS Energy wants its clients to go solar, and is leveraging its size to inspire a solar boom in San Antonio. By offering monthly credits to inspire homeowners and solar installers in its service area to try rooftop solar with no commitment, the nation’s largest municipally-owned utility provider has clearly joined the solar bandwagon.

CPS is taking advantage of the low-cost solar options available today, acknowledging that the potentially-expiring ITC credits create a market opportunity that may not last. For now, the large utility aims to make it easier for third-party installers and solar shoppers to connect in a similar manner to what online solar marketplaces already provide.

Cost-Competitive Battery Storage: What It Means For Solar Shoppers

Energy analysts predicted Wednesday that the costs of Tesla’s battery pack could drop by 70 percent. For a brand known for its futuristic technology and luxury price tags, this cost drop signals that Tesla is moving to compete against the growing entry of tech giants like Google, Apple, and others that may attempt to take market share going forward.

Battery packs are an increasingly important component of the expanding solar technology space, and electric cars can also serve as battery sources that capture excess solar energy for later use. Residential owners and small businesses alike are acting on this trend: a Vermont B&B recently unveiled new solar panels that allow for electric car charging on site. The inn benefitted greatly from Tesla’s efforts to install car-charging ports around the country; these ports not only accommodate Tesla models but other electric car systems. In addition to powering a small business, PV-powered properties can attract new environmentally conscious customers while generating solar energy, thanks in part to the effort by the electric automobile industry’s leading brand.

Silicon Valley Startup QBotix Shuts Down As Solar Sector Takes Off

QBotix, a small startup out of Menlo Park, CA ceased operations this week after struggling to sustain revenues over the company’s three-year lifetime. Powered by robotic systems that managed high-tech foldable PV installations, QBotix technology was unable to successfully gain enough traction as the industry evolved around it.

While this is bad news for this startup, economists view it as a win for the solar industry, which can now offer “a similar price to what coal or natural gas can cost.” Simply put, the priorities of the solar industry have changed. Leading brands are now focusing primarily on lowering costs, competing with fossil fuels and offering cheap and efficient technology that eliminates the need for solar solutions with high-maintenance expenses like QBotix’s robotic systems entailed.

Your Weekend Solar Reading

  • Marc Gunther discusses a new vision of the “solar suburbs of the future,” where solar panels, electric vehicles, and battery storage come together to drive a suburban clean energy revolution. The Takeaway: the technology that could lead U.S. suburban sprawl towards the “solar suburbs” vision already exists, but when the transition will happen remains to be seen.

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