Today in cleantech: Soft costs of solar, electric cars & carpooling apps

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):

And here’s other things I’m reading about today: