2010 was an interesting year for the solar industry. Certainly there were stumbles such as a 30% cut in the Spanish FiT, Southern California Edison dropping out of a power purchase agreement for energy produced by the Calico Solar Project, Solyndra and SpectraWatt shutting factories and laying off workers, and so forth. But generally the industry was upbeat; the news was positive. Globally the growth in the solar industry was impressive. According to iSuppli, at least 15GW of PV systems were installed globally, compared to 7.2GW in 2009.

The boom in solar was good news at a bad time. Many seized the opportunity and launched new solar start-ups at a rate reminiscent of the burgeoning computer industry of the 1980s. A good example of a start up that came along at just the right time is the very publication you’re reading. Solar Novus Today was launched in 2010. The first of many publications planned by parent company Novus Media Today, beginning with a publication for the solar industry proved to be a good choice. The publication rapidly added writers, editors, advisors and sales staff located throughout the world. It regularly features articles with insight from industry leaders, has a loyal following on various social media sites, and can boast of attracting 20,000+ readers per month in its inaugural year—and it’s still growing.

In 2010, we reported the latest news, launched a blog, delivered case studies, provided tutorials on solar technologies and kept the industry up to date on events as they happened. Looking at the most read articles on the web site, we concluded that the top ten topics of most interest in the solar industry in 2010 can be grouped as follows:

  • Government support
  • Energy storage and battery technologies
  • Emerging solar technologies
  • Space
  • Inverters and microinverters
  • Solar fads, green intent and big business
  • Utility scale solar
  • Smart grid
  • China and India
  • Desertec

Government support

Feed in tariffs (FiTs) vary widely from country to country and state to state, which may be a good thing, because we learn from what works and what doesn’t work for the solar industry. See the blog “FiTs for Schools.”

A hot topic across the globe in 2010 were politics in the US, as House and Senate changed from Democratic control to Republican, putting pressure on the lame-duck session to pass some bills critical to the solar industry. The extension of the Treasury Grant Program was a big win for the solar industry. That program is described in the article “US Solar Finance: Year end 2010”.

Proposition 23 was an initiative that would end California’s greenhouse gas laws. Losing by a margin of over 61% proved acceptance of renewable energy initiatives.

Energy storage and batteries

Batteries for the solar industry are in great demand, and the best technology for solar is hotly debated. Fortunately much energy (no pun intended) is going into research, development and testing of utility scale and other batteries for renewable energy storage. See the article “Lithium-ion Batteries: High density storage for solar generation.”

source: solarnovus