CNBC just reported that utility-scale solar production grew 100% in the last year — just another sign how fast the solar energy industry is changing today.
To spot new opportunities and prepare for looming challenges, it’s essential to keep up with industry news. But with so much happening, staying current isn’t easy.
News sites on solar power can be your best source of current information. But too many of these sites are just news feeds for company press releases. The five sites below are the best because they offer lots of original news and analysis from credible sources. They’re also easy to read, with attractive layout and helpful graphics that help the busy reader skim articles quickly to decide if they’re worth a longer read.
We’ve tried to make the list is diverse — it includes essential sites for industry news plus a couple surprises that we think you’ll enjoy.
1. Solar Power World
There’s a lot of content on this site. But a well designed homepage makes it easy for industry insiders to see what’s new and cool starting with Editor’s Choice articles and Solar Power World videos (today’s topic: “Module Connections Cover Losses from Shading”). Navigation menus throughout the site give easy access to handy resources from the Top 400 US Solar Contractors sliced and diced in every which way imaginable (eg, by State but also Utility, Commercial and Residential and even Hot Water).
2. Renewable Energy World Solar
The solar energy section of this well respected renewable energy authority is a good place to keep up with must-know industry news, such as big new installations in places around the world. But the site also offers an especially strong Opinion & Commentary section with smart takes on how political and economic developments will effect solar — for instance, how an internal presentation leaked to the press exposes a campaign by the oil industry to kill solar and other renewables.
3. Greentech Solar
Greentech doesn’t just publish an attractive and easy-to-read website with news on solar and other clean tech. They also put on half a dozen conferences every year at venues on both coasts. For those who weren’t able to make these events in person, the Greentech site offers a handy compilation of the best videos from their 2014 events, including “Utility 2.0” with officials of New York State’s Public Service Commission and Con Edison’s “utility of the future” team.
4. New York Times Solar
You may not think of the Grey Lady as the place to go for news on solar energy. But if you want to see what leaders across the business community as well as government officials and regulators, environmental advocates and other energy-aware laypeople are learning about the industry, then the Times can’t be beat. A Chronology of Coverage shows recent stories on solar at a glance. And Highlights from the Archives brings up classic pieces with staying power from influential Times writers including Keith Bradsher (“China Racing Ahead of U.S. in Drive to Go Solar”) and Kate Galbraith (“Europe’s Way of Encouraging Solar Power Arrives in the U.S.”).
5. ExtremeTech Solar
Another site for the intelligent layperson but with a focus on breakthrough stories of sexy new tech. For example, you can learn how researchers at Northwestern University used Blu-ray discs of a Jackie Chan flick — Police Story 3: Supercop, in this case — to increase the efficiency of PV panels by a “massive” 22%. Or how a new spray-on chemical film can turn any surface into a cheap solar cell. If you’re looking for a break from serious industry news on new installations and corporate acquisitions, ExtremeTech is a gold mine of believe-it-or-not solar innovations. It could be inspiration for your TEDTalk. Or at least give you some entertaining stories to share at your next industry networking happy hour.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group