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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

The Next Big Solar Technology? #Intersolar2020

February 6th, 2020 | by Charles W. Thurston

Disruptive advances in solar technology are unusual, with industry-wide design improvements often taking place in very small increments. These small changes create the buzz at solar trade shows like Intersolar North America, which is wrapping up this week in San Diego


#Intersolar2020: Day 2 — Solar Innovations Abound At The San Diego Show

February 4th, 2020 | by Charles W. Thurston

New solar energy innovations are being unveiled at Intersolar 2020 in San Diego this week, including the California launch of a concrete solar shingle, a unique under-the-panel battery storage configuration, and a single-axis tracker that can accommodate a 10% grade on undulating sites. And one forward-looking company is now buying up broken solar panels in expectation of mining the components for recycling


Burlingame (California) Inaugurates Unique Dual-Axis Solar Carport

November 14th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

Burlingame, California Mayor Donna Colson inaugurated a unique six-unit dual axis solar tracker car canopy at the Kahala Tower near the San Francisco Airport, on November 13. The commercial installation is being called the first of its kind in the United States because of the technology involved. 


Solar+Storage Killer App From DR Microgrid (#CleanTechnica Exclusive)

October 16th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

One of the stealth technologies that was unveiled at the recent Solar Power International trade show in Salt Lake City a few weeks ago is the plug-and-play solar+storage+nanogrid solution from start-up DR Microgrid, of Santa Ana, CA. It looks like a killer app because it is the only other system of its kind on the US market except that of Sonnen, which is more expensive, says DR Microgrid President AJ Perkins


@SPI2019: Storage Plus EV Charging Leads Innovations

September 29th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

The Solar Power International trade show is the largest in the country, and this year was dominated by new entrants in the solar+EV storage category amidst many other ingenious technological advancements in the industry. As such, energy storage represents the plus in the solar+ label, and additional developments like EV charging represent what the industry is now calling Solar++


Solar Modeling & Monitoring Granularity Boost Efficiency

August 6th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

The days of over-designing and over-building solar power plants to make up for unforeseen generation losses are gone. This is largely thanks to the emerging solar strategy of pursuing every tenth of a percent of system performance by better understanding the impact of equipment specifications, plant monitoring, and maintenance on the Performance Ratio, and therefore on the bottom line


Portugal Bags Lowest-Cost Solar Bid In The World

August 1st, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

The Portuguese energy secretariat has secured 1.15 GW of solar development at an average cost of €20.33 ($22.53 per megawatt-hour), representing an investment of about €800 million or $887 million. One of the bids was made at €14.76/MWh ($16.44/MWh), which was declared a new world record for low solar bidding, according to Portugal's Journal Económico


What Is The Greatest Environmental Hazard For Solar Energy? Dust!

July 10th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

With such a groundswell of solar growth, what can limit the performance of PV systems? The answer is dust, or other forms of soiling that accumulate on the glass surface of solar panels, obscuring light from the cells within. Driven by location and weather, soiling is worst in deserts like the US Southwest, in the presence of air pollution, and on solar arrays that have flat tilt designs


New Study Calls For Monitoring Old Oil & Gas Wells For Air Emissions

June 27th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

A new study on the hazardous gas emissions from the calamitous 2015 blowout of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, near Porter Ranch, CA, has found that apart from methane, a group of other hazardous pollutants escaped into the air, affecting many residents in the area. The study calls for air monitoring at underground gas storage facilities nationwide, potentially affecting thousands of sites around the country


Trina Tests Half-Frame Solar Panels To Trim Cost By 2%

June 10th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

Trina Solar is now testing a half-frame solar panel for use with solar trackers with hopes to lower the cost per watt for solar by 1 cent or about 2% overall, said Steven Zhu, the president of the company’s America Region, based in San Jose, in an interview Friday


SgurrEnergy India Helps Reduce Global Solar Design & Engineering Costs

June 9th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

Solar developers, manufacturers, EPCs/system builders, and investors alike rely on detailed independent engineering (IE) studies when proposing a solar project to a bank and for implementing the project. These so-called bankability studies are often produced from different points of view, depending on the role of the company in a solar development


Value Of Solar Debate Accelerates In Minnesota

June 5th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

The cumulative value of residential solar installations for utilities is comprised of two different parts: the generation of electricity to the grid, and the avoided cost of building new generation. While the former is fairly straightforward and owners are compensated through net metering or other rate schemes, the latter is difficult to assess and thus far homeowners have received little compensation



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