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Solar Energy News

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

Imagine you spend about $10,000 for a 3-kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system – the size needed for an average family – and your neighbor to the east adds a second story to his garage.

The addition is designed for offspring who will perhaps never leave home, but it shades your new solar panels. It’s not too bad in summer, but in winter it blocks all but an hour of late morning sun. You would have been better off taking that two-week vacation in Jamaica or Cabo San Lucas.

Babcock Solar Town

They will come, suggests the 1989 baseball-oriented movie, “Field of Dreams”, starring Kevin Costner.

That’s certainly what real estate firm Kitson & Partners must have thought when they first purchased 18,000 acres of Florida Gulf shore properties, later named Babcock Ranch, and then started to build an ecofriendly, net zero energy, solar-powered town.

Suniva

On April 17, 2017, Suniva – a maker of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) solar cells and modules – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy status.

No one in the solar energy industry was very surprised. Two weeks earlier, Suniva had laid off 131 workers from its Norcross, Georgia headquarters and plant, and shuttered its Saginaw, Michigan facility.

Solar On Townhouse

On May 31, Oregon lawmakers passed HB 2111 by a wide margin: 56 to 3 in the House, and 19 to 9 in the Senate. The bill prevents homeowner’s associations, or HOAs, from banning rooftop solar installations – a battle that has been ongoing since 2013, according to Democratic Chair Senator Mitch Greenlick, the bill’s sponsor.

Such battles between HOAs and homeowners are nothing new. Most have resulted in favorable passage of bills and amendments allowing solar photovoltaic rooftop panels. This was the case in California, where AB 2188 (December 17, 2014), aka the Solar Rights Act, prevented HOAs from banning solar energy on their properties purely for aesthetic reasons.