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About Charles W. Thurston

Charles W. Thurston Charles specializes in renewable energy, from finance to technological processes. Among key areas of focus are bifacial panels and solar tracking. He has been active in the industry for over 25 years, living and working in locations ranging from Brazil to Papua New Guinea.



Author Archives: Charles W. Thurston

Array Tech Founder Corio Wins S&P Global Energy “Godfather” Award

December 15th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

Ron Corio, the founder and chief innovation officer at Array Technologies, has been named a Lifetime Achiever within the 2018 S&P Global Platts Global Energy Awards. In a black tie affair, Corio, who has built and delivered 25 gigawatt-years of solar tracker generation to sites around the world, was honored Dec. 6 in New York as a godfather of the solar tracker industry


New Home Solar Laws Could Triple US Solar Base By 2045

December 4th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

If other states follow the California proposal to require solar on all new home builds, the United States could have three times as much solar power as it does now, reckon analysts at Environment America who have produced a new report on the issue


EVs, Aerospace, & Wearable Solar Foster Power-to-Weight Advances

November 30th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

Advances in thin-film and other new solar technologies are expected to be driven by the demand for lightweight, high-power solutions in the EV, aerospace and wearable solar markets, reckons Matthew Reese, the author of a new study on the evolution of the technology


Sunnova Launches Residential Solar Insurance Nationwide

November 28th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

Sunnova Energy has rolled out its new national residential solar insurance offering in Southern California, with plans to continue across the country early next year. Sunnova Protect provides solar owners the opportunity to purchase multi-decade coverage, inclusive of monitoring, maintenance and repair services for their solar systems


DNV Rolls Out Bifacial Solar Testbed In California

November 27th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

DNV has begun installing what it calls the largest bifacial solar panel test facility in the world, at Davis, California, with the goal of benchmarking brand variations in the market to facilitate widespread adoption. The $250,000 project recently won a $200,000 grant from the US Department of Energy


LA Studying Floating Solar Feasibility On Water Reservoir

November 24th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

On July 2, the LA City Council approved a proposal for a 11.6 MW floating solar pilot plant on the Van Norman water reservoir within the LA Department of Water & Power system, in a unanimous vote of present council members. The proposal included instructions for LADWP to report back to the council on the feasibility of the floating solar system program, the next steps of implementation, the optimal system size, how much energy can be created, the environmental offsets, and the economic impact it would have on the city


Maryland Puts Value Of Solar At $7 Billion Over 10 Years

November 22nd, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

Yet another state commission, this time Maryland, has concluded that solar provides substantial value to the state overall, and specifically to the operation of the grid. While most of the value of new solar added to the state economy is during the year of installation, the cumulative value of solar to the state utilities as cost avoidance for new local infrastructure investment was also found to be remarkably high


Arizona’s SRP To Add 1,000 Megawatts Of Solar — Plus Tesla Storage — By 2025

November 17th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

Salt River Project plans to add 200 megawatts of solar generation every year for the next five years, adding to its existing 800 MW renewable portfolio. By the end of its fiscal year 2025, SRP will have a total of more than 1,200 MW of solar energy capacity. The utility goal is to have 20% green generation by 2025, by adding renewable generation and battery storage


Bifacial Solar Panels On Trackers Help RAI Win 50 Megawatt Solar Auction In Jordan

November 16th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

The bid that won a 50 megawatt solar plant award in Jordan for RAI Energy International was as low as it was only because the design was based on bifacial panels and on single axis trackers, says Mohammed S. Alrai, CEO of the San Jose-based company. At $0.0250 per kilowatt-hour, RAI secured second place among 30 bidders, edged out of first place by panel manufacturer Jinko, which bid $0.02488/kWh


Solar Advocates Target Nevada Mines

November 13th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

A trifecta of solar advocates is targeting Nevada’s closed mines for new solar projects or other renewables to help the state meet its new 50% renewable energy portfolio standard by


Solar Enables More Homes to Participate in Demand Response

November 10th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

As more households and businesses install rooftop solar and begin tracking their energy production, an increasing number of solar hosts are diving into a variety demand response opportunities —some at the behest of the utilities — to reduce their electricity bills


Enel To Build 220 Megawatt Solar Plant in Mexico

November 8th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

Enel Green Power is adding another 220 megawatts of solar generation to its clean energy portfolio in Mexico, with the Magdalena II solar park near the municipalities of Tlaxco and Hueyotlipan, in the state of Tlaxcala. With 550,000 photovoltaic modules, the solar plant is expected to begin operating by the end of 2019, and at full capacity will generate 600 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year. Tlaxcala is a small state in central Mexico, east of Mexico City


Arizona Solar Policy: Worth $40 Million to Lobbyists

November 5th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

Solar advocates in Arizona and a local utility already have spent $40 million in this mid-term election to attempt to control the adoption rate for solar energy in the state; as such, it may turn out to be the most expensive state battle to date, campaign fund watchers say


$1B Palen Solar Project Gains Fed Approval for 500 MW PV, Side-Steps California Energy Commission

November 2nd, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

The decade-old 500 MW Palen Solar Project has finally won decisive federal approval to go ahead as an estimated $1 billion photovoltaic project in the California desert after years of controversy and varied ownership. The November 1 approval by the US Bureau of Land Management also side-steps years of regulatory consideration of the project by the California Energy Commission, when the plant was still being proposed as a solar thermal project.


Tampa Electric Solar Plan Blazes With Another 260 Megawatts

November 2nd, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

Tampa Electric won state approval this week to add 260 more megawatts (MW) of solar to its generation fleet by January and to recover the cost. The five separate projects in this endeavor comprise the second phase of the utility’s blazing solar program, which will involve an $850 million investment that will add 600 MW of solar across 10 installations by


Making Energy Transmission Charges Fair To Solar Generators: A #CleanTechnica Q&A With Doug Karpa, Policy Director Of Clean Coalition

October 30th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

CleanTechnica’s Charles W. Thurston recently talked with Doug Karpa, the policy director of the Menlo Park-based Clean Coalition about his organization’s efforts to convince CAISO, the California Independent System Operator of the grid, to treat wholesale distribution-connected solar generators and grid storage more fairly in terms of transmission charges that eventually trickle down to customers.


Portland General Electric To Award 100 MW of Renewables

October 27th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

Portland General Electric is on track to award several 20-year contracts for a cumulative 100 MW of renewable energy generation by the end of this year, with short-list proposed projects including wind, solar, and battery storage


Solar Energy International Expands Global Footprint #SPI2018

October 21st, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

Solar professional training and certification experts Solar Energy International is rapidly expanding its global footprint in an effort to bring more standardization to the process of installing and maintaining photovoltaic solar power systems


Solar Tracker Maker Soltec Gains €100 Million For Expansion

October 9th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

Soltec Solar, the third largest photovoltaic solar tracker maker in the world, has secured a financing package worth €100 million to continue its global expansion on five continents. The company has recently increased its visibility in the United States with the opening of its Livermore, CA, testing site for bifacial solar panels


Canadian Solar Tracker Invades Northern US — #CleanTechnica at #SPI2018

October 2nd, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

Canadian solar tracker company GP Joule is headed across the border to sell turnkey solar farms in 10 targeted US states across the country this year, says David Pichard, the director and executive officer of the Toronto-based company. His company has already been selling its Phlegon brand solar tracker systems in Minnesota for community solar projects, and other solar projects in Hawaii and Nevada


Sunflare Brings New Solar Shingle Into The Light — #CleanTechnica at #SPI2018

September 30th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

There may be a growing number of solar application ideas that die off before going mainstream, never having tapped enough technology, financial backing, and market savvy to last. But it seems solar roof shingles is not one of those. Dow withdrew from the market, but Exasun and Tesla moved in. Now, there's also a smart new set of patent-pending thin-film CIGs solar shingles being offered by Sunflare Solar, based in La Verne, California. The company refers to the cell technology as Capture


Solar & Wind Energy Destined To Expand Faster Than Other Global Energy Sources — #CleanTechnica at #SPI2018

September 27th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

Global market analyst DNV GL peeled back the layers of its recent forecast on global energy source evolution to reveal that solar & wind energy, buoyed by offshore wind, will grow to represent nearly 70% of global electricity production by 2050, according to Richard Barnes, the Executive Vice President and Regional Manager for the Energy Business Area of the company in North America


Utility Solar + Storage Accelerates Ahead Of Expectations — #CleanTechnica at #SPI2018

September 26th, 2018 | by Charles W. Thurston

The U.S. utility market for energy storage this fall is warming ahead of expectations, with requests for proposals accelerating from a mild demand level earlier this year. This firming 2018 market was not predicted by some storage system manufacturers until two years from now, when more field performance data will be available to confirm manufacturers’ claims



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