Solar Energy News for Monday, April 26

Posted by Daniel Kulpinski

Apr 26, 2010 3:50:00 AM

Solar Power Heats Up in Midwest as Costs Drop, Electricity Rates Rise

The Midwest gets plenty of sunshine—some towns see as much sun as Miami and San Antonio—and the big cost considerations that for years have held back solar power in the region have changed, according to a story in the Kansas City Star. Solar-panel prices have plunged and tax rebates and credits have now cut the payback time for solar power from 25 years to 10 years. As a result, more businesses and homeowners are installing solar photovoltaic panels in Kansas City.

Solar-powered Roadster Turning Heads in Southwest Florida

The Tesla Roadster is one speedy electric sportscar. It packs 298 horsepower and can zoom from 0 to 60 mph one second faster than a Ferrari. Some 1,100 Americans own a Tesla, but only one gets his juice straight from solar panels: Reed Wilson of Fort Myers, Fla.

Louisiana Utility Experimenting With Solar Energy

Cleco, a power company that services 23 parishes in Louisiana, has installed three types of stationary panels at its headquarters, as well as one that rotates to follow the sun. The goal is to test the systems to evaluate their costs and benefits. Cleco will track the amount of energy produced, how much local weather affects solar power production, which cells work best and how much is added by tracking the sun with the rotating panel, according to the Cleco President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Madison said the utility industry is at a crossroads when it comes to renewable energy sources. "I think the utility industry needs to embrace this. Cleco is."

Arizona Study to Focus on Integrating Large-Scale Solar Into Grid

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $3.3 million grant for what Arizona Public Service is calling a Community Power Project in Flagstaff, Ariz. General Electric, APS and two other firms will study methods and technologies for optimizing grid reliability when a large amount of solar power is added to the grid’s supply—a change that’s expected to happen in coming years. Because solar production is intermittent, coordinating the transmission of large amounts of solar electricity into electricity networks poses a challenge. The project will begin this summer and integrate 1.5 megawatts of solar electricity on a single electrical distribution network that serves about 3,000 residential and commercial electricity customers.

(Today's solar-powered headlines brought to you by, the source for solar-energy information. connects you with local solar installers in almost every state. Get a free solar evaluation, find home wind power contractors and geothermal installers. Follow us on Twitter and check out for more.)

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