When the Commerce Department imposed tariffs on Chinese solar cells, my colleague Ucilia Wang pointed out that since panels were actually a small part of the cost of installing solar rooftop systems, that the market would not be significantly impacted. A lot of the cost of the installation comes from marketing and labor.
Playing on this theme, Germany based Solon Energy and Chinese leader Trina Solar have a new panel that they claim can cut installation times by up to two thirds, lowering costs to the end customer by about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. Rather than attaching the panels to a metal framework that would have been mounted on the roof, the new tech uses the frame around the solar panel itself as the mounting mechanism. With all the recent power outages, it’s not the worst time to be marketing cheaper off the grid solutions.
Here’s some really great new content on GigaOM Pro (subscription required):
- My weekly update: Locating your data center off the beaten path.
- The long view: How to overcome the challenges of electric car public infrastructure.
- Research report: Forecast: The electric vehicle market over the next five years.
And here’s other things I’m reading about today:
- The economics of peer-to-peer travel marketplaces and collaborative consumption: A defining of the business models in the share economy.
- Battery maker A123 to raise about $39 million: The embattled battery maker which has had a slew of problems related to Fisker recalls and an explosion at a GM battery lab, is raising capital to stay alive.
- Car-pooling makes a surge on apps and social media: Ride sharing is growing up.