Articles by: Charles W. Thurston

Quick Mount PV’s Tile Replacement Mounts feature its patented Elevated Water Seal Technology for optimal waterproofing

The Replacements: These solar mounts for tile rooftops cut labor costs, avoid OSHA issues

May 31, 2018 at 9:00 am 0 comments

It’s always reassuring when solar technology moves faster than a federal regulator, even if it is a well-intentioned agency like the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In this recent case, a new crop of solar tile replacements that support rooftop mounting systems are eliminating the needRead More

Solar Service 2.0: Identify new service, upsell opportunities with smart home technology

Solar Service 2.0: Identify new service, upsell opportunities with smart home technology

April 3, 2018 at 7:13 am Comments are Disabled

Solar inverter intelligence and monitoring has evolved mightily over the last few years, from silent rows of capacitors to today’s circuit-programmable, WiFi-enabled guardians of PV arrays. These systems sense minute changes in operation and advise system managers of options, in real time, for energy management and O&M (operations and maintenance).Read More

Battery chemistry matters: What to know before installing solar + storage systems

Battery chemistry matters: What to know before installing solar + storage systems

February 20, 2018 at 8:00 am 1 comment

The days when a residential or commercial solar installer did not need to know the difference in performance between lead-acid and lithium-based batteries are over. Battery storage has emerged as an unavoidable complement to solar, slashing peak charges and outwitting utility time-of-use charge games, not to mention saving microgrids fromRead More

Geronimo Energy celebrating another community solar install in Minnesota.

Solar for All: How to incentivize community solar projects to benefit low-, middle-income customers

November 28, 2017 at 8:00 am Comments are Disabled

Community solar has taken off within the renewable energy development leagues, melding the interests of residential and commercial or industrial customers, as well as the local utilities. While the inclusion of low- and middle-income (LMI) residential customers are widely enabled by state legislation on community solar, specific carve-outs or percentageRead More

Solving C&I Solar: How boutique financing is growing this underserved solar segment

Solving C&I Solar: How boutique financing is growing this underserved solar segment

October 24, 2017 at 8:10 am Comments are Disabled

Boutique financiers armed with massive databases and complex algorithms are changing the way that small commercial and industrial (C&I) solar projects get financed. Typically targeting projects under 250 kW, these financiers have automated and accelerated as much of the underwriting chore as possible. The result is that old back-office costsRead More

Mounting Pressure: Today’s large-scale PV boom demands new levels of service from racking companies

Mounting Pressure: Today’s large-scale PV boom demands new levels of service from racking companies

May 11, 2017 at 9:09 am Comments are Disabled

For the first time ever, in 2016, U.S. solar ranked as the No. 1 source of new electric generating capacity additions on an annual basis. In total, solar accounted for 39 percent of new capacity additions across all fuel types, and these big numbers are coming via big installs asRead More

Keys to inverter service: Data granularity, remote updates, customer relations

Keys to inverter service: Data granularity, remote updates, customer relations

April 10, 2017 at 8:00 am Comments are Disabled

Services for solar inverters are improving markedly, from commissioning through replacement, as the flow of panel and string-level data becomes more granular, fueling more sophisticated monitoring systems. From string inverters at a commercial and industrial (C&I) level, to microinverters now dominant in the residential market, manufacturers are embracing dynamic improvementsRead More

The Holistic Home: We peer into the future of home energy generation, usage

The Holistic Home: We peer into the future of home energy generation, usage

February 20, 2017 at 1:19 pm 1 comment

The mid-term growth of the U.S. residential solar-plus-storage market will be nothing short of phenomenal, as the seamless melding of generation, storage and energy management emerges in single, overarching systems. Yes, we might finally be headed there — the 1950s vision of the all-electric GE kitchen of the future, butRead More

Solar Builder Project of The Year Winner: Fort Madison Middle School

Solar Builder Project of The Year Winner: Fort Madison Middle School

November 7, 2016 at 8:51 am 2 comments

Fort Madison Middle School Category: Roof-Mount Fort Madison, Iowa | 300 kW The landmark 1922 Fort Madison Middle School nearly wound up in an Iowa landfill, but thanks to the vision of developer Todd Schneider, and thanks to state-administered funding from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the apartmentRead More

Module-Level Electronics O&M Equation: Looking at the solutions to address MLPE issues

Module-Level Electronics O&M Equation: Looking at the solutions to address MLPE issues

October 17, 2016 at 11:00 am 7 comments

The rapid evolution of module-level electronics has spiked performance, extended reliability and crushed manufacturing prices, but there is still a ways to go before the operation and maintenance of the technology is satisfactory to all the players involved. “When people talk about the business model for solar microinverters or optimizers,Read More