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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

20 Smarter E Award Finalists To Be Showcased In Munich

April 12th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

Outstanding Project finalists for the Smarter E Award 2019 are driving the sustainable energy industry forward, by developing grid infrastructure of the future, innovating digitalization technologies, coupling of the electricity-heating-mobility sectors, and deriving new business models for electricity trading and marketing, say organizers of the Smarter E trade show, which will be held in Munich May 15-


Intersolar Announces 2019 Award Finalists In Smarter E Europe Show

April 12th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

The names of the InterSolar Award 2019 finalists have been released ahead of the Smarter E Europe show, to be held May 15-17 in Munich, when the winners will be identified. The competitors for the award are honored for pioneering technologies and services for the solar industry. The submissions for the award span a wide range of technologies, from solar modules to inverters to substructures, the organizers say


Member-Owned Community Solar Poised For National Adoption

April 11th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

Community solar projects are sweeping the nation, enabling individuals to benefit from solar energy even if they don’t have panels on their house or apartment building. The financial design of a community solar project may vary widely, however, which can make or break any savings that a system could yield for the consumer. 


First Individually Owned Community Solar Project Opens In Oakland

April 8th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

Oakland’s People Power Solar Cooperative has completed its first solar project in Oakland, piloting a new model for community-owned energy in California. The residential-sized 7 kilowatt project is financed entirely by investments up to $1,000 each from more than 50 local community members and leaders among the cooperative’s members, the group says


Nevada Clean Jobs Boom Traceable To Gov. Sandoval Foresight

April 5th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

Some state solar markets are created with a single legal keystone, creating market exuberance where there once was dust. New statistics that now show Nevada leads the nation in clean job growth did not arise from a roll of the dice in Las Vegas


San Mateo County Readies $2,000 Grants for EV Charging Stations

March 26th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

Grants for EV charging stations for multi-resident buildings and workplaces will be available later this year in San Mateo County, CA, under a $16 million program — the largest in the state thus far — aimed at accelerating the adoption and use of EVs in the area


West Virginia Rethinks Quashing Solar Net Metering

March 25th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

West Virginia has called for a time-out in its four-year effort to rewrite solar net metering rules to the detriment of both solar hosts and solar installers, thanks to a massive campaign by Solar United Neighbors that mustered over 1,000 public comments


Sunslice Adds Backpack Charger To Its Portable Lineup

March 23rd, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

On-the-move power chargers have become even more versatile, thanks to Belgian startup Sunslice Solar, which has expanded its product line to include a backpack charger called the Fusion, to accompany the company’s Volta wallet charger and the pocket-sized Photon charger


It Will Rain Green In Paris Next Week: Green Bank Design Summit

March 15th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

A green rain of financial support will fall on climate change delegates in Paris next week at the opening of the Green Bank Design Summit on Monday, March 18. At least 24 developing countries representing 27% of global GDP and 44% of global carbon emissions are coming together to craft a new model for advancing clean energy investment, say organizers.


Building-Integrated Photovoltaics Emerging, Thanks To NZEB Goals

March 13th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

Incorporating solar generation in commercial building materials may finally become a mainstream practice, with both solar windows and solar panels used to create net-zero buildings. Evolving regulations in leading jurisdictions like California and Germany are driving the building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) with adoption deadlines as early as next year


Floating Solar Trampoline By Ocean Sun Tested By Statkraft

March 12th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

A uniquely designed floating solar trampoline manufactured by Norwegian startup Ocean Sun has been purchased by Statkraft’s Albania unit for deployment at the Banja reservoir in Albania. The 2 megawatt array consists of four floating units of 0.5 MW each, at a total cost of €2.3 million


Australia Adding One Mega-Solar Project Per Month

March 10th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

Australia is adding one mega-solar project equivalent per month, with the current installed base of 10 gigawatts projected to double by the end of 2020. The latest mega-solar project is the 333 megawatt Darlington Point Solar Farm headed for Griffith, New South Wales, according to Array Technologies, which is providing the single-axis trackers for the project


Montecito Fire Protection District Solar Microgrid To Be A National Model

March 5th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

A project to build a solar+storage community microgrid within the Montecito, CA, fire district is being developed as a national model for other communities across the country, according to the Clean Coalition and the World Business Academy. The two organizations are boot-strapping the project and have raised some funding for the microgrid, within the unincorporated community of about 10,000 in Santa Barbara County


California Solar Rights Bill Up for March Hearing

March 1st, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

California’s Solar Rights Bill, SB 288, is up for hearing as early as March 5 by the State Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications, with the potential to become law by the end of March. The bill would remove barriers to solar, including outdated tariffs and delayed connections to the grid, protecting the estimated 800,000 solar homes in the state, as well as potential adopters


Maryland Advances “Customer-Centric” Solar & DER Planning

February 27th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

Maryland is proving to be one of the states in the union that is most advanced in its efforts to move utility treatment of solar energy, EVs, and other distributed energy resources toward a “customer-centric” universe. Maryland Public Service Commission hearings on energy storage, one element of a six-pronged review of DER, are scheduled to begin March


California’s $100 Million 2019 Low Income Solar Program Near Roll Out

February 25th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

California’s investor-owned utilities are preparing to spend up to $100 million this year bringing solar to low income buildings, with an expected launch of the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program this spring or summer, says Somah Program Administrator Chris Walker


New Fraunhofer Solar Cell Stringer Uses Adhesives For 2% Boost

February 22nd, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

An R&D team at Fraunhofer ISE has unveiled a new solar cell stringing machine that can boost cell performance 2% by using electrically conductive adhesives to fix solar cells to a foil substrate in a shingled pattern. The process reduces the number of manufacturing steps that soldering a connective ribbon would require, and imparts more efficient cell performance in several incremental ways


Top 2019 Solar Trends Foretold By IHS

February 21st, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

Solar energy analysts at IHS Markit have identified the Top Solar Trends in 2019, including globalization, photovoltaics+storage, panel evolution, China and other hot spots


Record 29% Concentrating Solar Cell Aims At Low-Cost Manufacturing

February 20th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

A novel combination of high-grade spacecraft solar cell material and advanced light-concentrating lenses has yielded solar panels with a record 29% efficiency that may become available for general rooftop use by 2022. The crux in the commercialization of the planar optical micro-tracking technology will be cost-controlling manufacturing process, which is the current stage of study for Insolight, the cell developer


Consumers Power Stop-Work On New Solar Sparks Fire of Protest

February 19th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

Michigan’s Consumers Power has sparked a storm of protest over its inability to keep up with new solar requests for grid interconnection in its territory. Since the utility received over 2,400 interconnection applications in 2017 and 2018, compared with 215 in 2015, the increase in interconnection applications was “too substantial and too sudden” to cope with, it complained to the Michigan Public Service Commission


Spokane Tribe Goes Solar With Private, Fed Funding

February 18th, 2019 | by Charles W. Thurston

The Children of the Sun, as the Spokane Tribe refer to themselves, are going solar this year with installations in 28 locations generating over 600 kilowatts of energy, thanks to the support of Wells Fargo Foundation, the US Department of Energy and non-profit Grid Alternatives. The project is being managed by the Spokane Indian Housing Authority, in Wellpinit,



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