The past year was another atypical one for Solar Power World and the industry as a whole. Breaking solar policy and tariff news kept editors busy behind computers, while tradeshows to see new products in person were still hindered by the pandemic. Team SPW kept an eye on the latest solar products, services and trends from afar, and readers flocked to stories on new battery and module innovations and much more.
Below are the 10 most-read stories of 2021 on Solar Power World. Stay up-to-date on all the latest solar industry news through the next year and beyond by subscribing to SPW’s free weekly enewsletter.
Over the next five years, a growing number of U.S. solar owners and operators will choose to repower their systems. Installers can play a role in the circular economy by redirecting energy-producing decommissioned modules to the secondary market.
A May 2021 ranking of the top polysilicon manufacturers from German research firm Bernreuter Research showed that four of the world’s five largest producers are based in China. This finding was in the midst of building concern that forced labor was being used in China’s Xinjiang province.
Well known alkaline battery producer Duracell launched a residential energy storage solution through California-based distributor Power Center+. The Duracell Power Center product line consists of 5-kW and 10-kW inverter outputs with lithium-iron phosphate batteries.
Although residential solar customers want systems with the highest power ratings for maximum utility cost savings, aesthetics still reign supreme when it comes to solar panel choice. All-black modules run a bit hotter and offer fewer opportunities for reflected light absorption, so their efficiencies are slightly lower.
President Joe Biden rolled out his infrastructure package called the American Jobs Plan on March 31 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The most important solar industry provisions are in the Build Back Better Act, which is currently being debated in the Senate.
Rooftops aren’t the only place to harvest a few kilowatts of solar power for smaller energy applications. Homes with yards or in off-grid locations can use the soil underfoot or south-facing walls to mount some solar panels.
Panasonic announced that it would cease the production of solar products at its Malaysian and Japanese factories, exiting the solar panel and wafer manufacturing market by March 2022. The company said it will continue selling Panasonic-branded modules, but through a subcontracted manufacturer.
Describe an off-grid solar setup, and someone 20 years ago would imagine a remote cabin in the woods, with lead-acid batteries and diesel generators used as backup power. But in the 2020s, off-grid homes might be closer than you think — like, right next door.
The silicon solar PV cell was invented in America, yet we now have no hand in its production. How did we let China dominate solar manufacturing?
Many homeowners might have given up and bought a different home when faced with the utility hassle that landowner Derrick Zearley experienced. Instead, he looked to solar + storage to avoid interconnection altogether.