3-02-2015 The Industry 5: A Round Up of Top Solar Stories From February
February saw several big stories in the solar industry. From record-breaking events to jaw-dropping business deals, here are five of the top solar stories this month.
What Apple Just Did in Solar Is a Really Big Deal – Bloomberg
Apple CEO Tim Cook went solar. He signed an $850 million agreement to buy solar power from First Solar. The deal gives Apple 130 megawatts of solar power, enough to power all of Apple’s California stores, headquarters, offices, and a data center.
First Solar Hits Record 21.5% Conversion Efficiency – Greentech Media
Once again, First Solar has broken the conversion efficiency record for cadmium telluride. In 2014, the company raised the bar with a world-record 20.4 percent conversion. Now, just two months into 2015, the company has achieved a new record conversion of 21.5 percent. First Solar is taking its accomplishment in stride, expecting to surpass its 22 percent conversion target for 2015.
Duke Energy Buys Major Stake in REC Solar, Aims to Invest $225M in Commercial PV – Greentech Media
Duke Energy is expanding its business by buying a majority stake in REC Solar, a commercial solar installer. REC Solar will add to Duke Energy’s 1,800 megawatts of solar and wind capacity. The deal benefits both companies. Duke Energy has a chance to enter the commercial solar market, and REC Solar gets Duke Energy’s lows cost of capital.
First Solar and SunPower Plan to Form Joint-Venture YieldCo – Bloomberg
The two titans – and rivals – in U.S. solar-panel manufacturing are talking about teaming up for several projects. Plans are in motion to form a YieldCo, a publicly traded group that gives shareholders payouts. The First Solar-SunPower deal benefits both companies. However, the question remains as to whether or not the rivals can bury the hatchet long enough to make the YieldCo profitable.
Here Are Seven Ways the U.S. Solar Market Will Change in 2015 – Greentech Media
2014 was an exciting year for solar, and 2015 promises to be even more dynamic. As the solar market continues to grow, it attracts the attention of new companies, especially utilities. Another change the solar industry can expect: the completion of more than 250,000 solar projects.