Tesla’s SolarCity to open Florida facility

SolarCity, a subsidiary of electric car maker Tesla Motors and the largest solar panel installer in the U.S., has announced it is opening an operations center in Clermont, near Orlando, and has plans to expand into other areas of Florida.

According to a company spokesperson, a typical operations center employs about 100 people and SolarCity is now hiring for sales and installation jobs at its new Florida facility.

We make it easy to switch to solar. Our dedicated team will handle everything from start to finish. We’ll even assign a solar concierge to your project who will guide you through the process and keep you informed about what’s happening every step of the way.

SolarCity currently installs custom solar systems in 22 states, and also provides maintenance and repair services. Nationwide, the company offers four financial models: zero-down-payment loans, cash purchase, lease the system or a solar PPA (solar power purchase agreement). Florida law, however, forbids the PPA’s – only utility companies are allowed to sell electrical power directly to consumers.

Even without the PPA’s, SolarCity’s loan and leasing programs provide homeowners with the ability to switch to solar power with little to no upfront costs. Miami residents may also qualify for PACE or other types of green financing.

For more information about SolarCity, visit SolarCity’s website.

Melanie Dawn Molina Wood is a licensed Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. She has earned her LEED Green Associate accreditation, the NAR GREEN designation, and an Eco-broker credential. She is also a proud member of the US Green Building Council – South Florida Chapter, and a member of the Sierra Club. For more information about sustainability in Miami, or to connect with a real estate agent anywhere in the world, contact Melanie Dawn by text/phone at 305.801.3133, or by email at MelanieinMiami@gmail.com

Solar panels as inexpensive and as easily applied as paint?

Qiaoqiang Gan, University at Buffalo assistant professor of electrical engineering. Photo courtesy of University at Buffalo
Qiaoqiang Gan, University at Buffalo assistant professor of electrical engineering. Photo courtesy of University at Buffalo

According to a press release from EurekaAlert, researchers at the University at Buffalo are one of several teams working on photovoltaic cells that “could one day be applied to surfaces as easily as paint is to walls.”

“Most Americans want the U.S. to place more emphasis on developing solar power, recent polls suggest. A major impediment, however, is the cost to manufacture, install and maintain solar panels. Simply put, most people and businesses cannot afford to place them on their rooftops. Fortunately, that is changing because researchers such as Qiaoqiang Gan, University at Buffalo assistant professor of electrical engineering, are helping develop a new generation of photovoltaic cells that produce more power and cost less to manufacture than what’s available today. One of the more promising efforts, which Gan is working on, involves the use of plasmonic-enhanced organic photovoltaic materials. These devices don’t match traditional solar cells in terms of energy production but they are less expensive and – because they are made (or processed) in liquid form – can be applied to a greater variety of surfaces.”

Solar roofing tiles, solar glass, “peel and stick” solar panels, and soon – if Qiaogiang Gan is successful – “paint on” solar panels… all leading to my idea of a truly integrated “green” building.


EurekAlert! is an online, global news service operated by The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Melanie Dawn Molina Wood is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate LLC in Miami, Florida. She is an Eco-Associate and is currently working on her LEED Green Associate’s accreditation.

Invisible Solar Cells in Place of Window Glass?

It sounds like science fiction, but the technology has already been developed in a public-private partnership between the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and New Energy Technologies, Inc.  Tina Casey of Clean Technica gives us all the details in her guest post below. I think she would agree – this is an exciting time to be a tree-hugger.

Your Tax Dollars At Work: Invisible Solar Cells That Look Like Glass

If researchers could develop a low cost, invisible solar cell to sub in for ordinary window glass, the result would be a sustainability twofer of epic proportions. Windows are notorious as a weak spot for energy efficiency, even in newer buildings. That goes double for millions of older buildings in the U.S. Upgrade to new see-through solar cell windows and you get to cut down on energy loss, keep all the energy savings from using natural daylight whenever possible, and generate renewable energy, too.


In terms of President Obama’s national energy policy, see-through glass solar cells provide another pathway for transforming the nation’s stock of older, inefficient buildings from an energy-sucking liability into a major source of clean, renewable energy. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the invisible solar modules being developed in a public-private partnership between the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and a company called New Energy Technologies, Inc.

Read More at Clean Technica

Solar-Powered Affordable Housing in Chicago

Like the LEED certified Silver Vista Mar development in the Wynwood area of Miami, affordable housing is going green throughout the country. This guest post by Zachary Shahan talks about the Kyocera Solar and VGI Energy partnership that is retrofitting Chicago affordable housing buildings with solar power.

Solar-Powered Affordable Housing In Chicago (via Clean Technica)

Reposted from Solar Love: Kyocera Solar and VGI Energy have teamed up to put solar power on some affordable, multi-family housing units in Chicago. “VGI’s retrofitted buildings throughout Chicago have been outfitted with 20kW rooftop solar arrays, providing electricity from the clean, renewable…

Eco-Friendly Features from Green Building Elements


Guest Post: Turn Your New Real Estate Green for Big Money and Eco-Awareness Benefits (via Green Building Elements)

Want to create eco-awareness with your new piece of real estate? Eco-friendly hardware and pieces are going to be your best option. Apart from creating awareness, green installations would also increase the value of the location, luring in attractive offers if you sell it in the future. They’ll also…

Continue Reading

IKEA’s South Florida Location is the State’s Largest Non-Utility Solar Owner

Photo: Business Wire
Photo: Business Wire

IKEA Plugs-in South Florida’s Largest Solar Energy System to Become State’s Largest Non-Utility Solar Owner (via Green Building Elements)

IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its South Florida store in the City of Sunrise – which will be the largest solar installation in South Florida and, when combined with IKEA projects already completed atop stores…

Continue Reading

Making Solar Work in the Sunshine State! Broward County’s Go SOLARFest This Weekend

Broward Go SolarThis weekend Broward County, Florida, is hosting the “Go SOLARFest” at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center (1950 Eisenhower Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316.)

The two-day event starts Friday at 7:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast and registration, then continues through Saturday. The event will be attended by Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz; with a keynote address on “Building a National Solar Market” by Tom Tansy, Chairman of SunSpec Alliance and Program Manager, Solar 3.0.

Per the agenda, “Go SOLARFest will provide an open forum discussion of solar challenges, solutions, andrecommendations to advance solar regionally and statewide in the areas of permitting, financing, solar rights, zoning, and net metering and interconnection.”

For more information, download the Broward GoSOLARFestFlyer or visit Broward.org’s Go Solar Fest page.

Dow POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles Now Available in 10 States

photo provided courtesy of Saginaw Future

I have been following the progress of solar shingles, including Dow’s POWERHOUSE line, for several years, so I was encouraged to read that Dow has expanded their availability into seven additional states. Solar shingles seems like a “no-brainer” to me – “Building Integrated Photovoltaics” (BIPV) roof shingles that mimic traditional roofing materials including the S-tile so popular here in Miami. The solar shingles must meet standards for both the photovoltaic industry as well as regional building codes. I suspect our hurricane building codes, “some of the strongest… codes in the world” according to Popular Mechanics, will make the Miami-Dade market a difficult one to enter, but I am looking forward to Dow and the others arriving sooner or later. We are, after all, located in the Sunshine State.

Expanded Availability Announced for DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles (via Green Building Elements)

Expansion includes East Coast markets, Louisiana, Michigan The Dow Chemical Company has released good news for solar shingle enthusiasts today. The company will expand availability of its solar shingle line, a residential roofing system that protects homes like standard shingles that contain embedded…

Continue Reading

Europe Installed Two-Thirds of the World’s New Solar Power in 2011

In 2011, the United States ranked 31st for “Total New Solar Power per Million People”, while Florida ranked 17th in the country. However, according to SEIA’s “U.S. Solar Market Insight Report 2011 Year-in-Review”:

“2011 was a historic year. On the positive side, the market for solar installations continued to boom, as the U.S. installed 1,855 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) solar systems, representing 109% growth over 2010.”

Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Spain topping the list of “Total Installed Solar Power per Capita.” Add France and the United Kingdom to the same list for countries with the most new installations in 2011.

Here is a great article by Nathan over at Clean Technica discussing Europe’s solar power edge:

Europe Installed Two-Thirds of the World’s New Solar Power in 2011 (via Clean Technica)

  Two-thirds of newly installed solar power capacity in 2011 was in Europe, or 18.5 GW. Europe’s total solar power capacity now totals 52 GW. That’s enough electricity to power a country with the energy demands of Austria, which is 2% of the European Union’s total electricity needs. The European…

Continue Reading

Solar-Powered Air Conditioning Makes Sense in the Sunshine State

Just as our friends in northern states are enjoying the crisp cooler days of autumn, we in South Florida are sweltering in the hottest part of our year. With our air conditioning units working over-time, wouldn’t it be great to have a way to use the very solar rays we are seeking relief from to power the cooling system?

Kingtec Solar now offers exactly that, as this guest post by Nicholas Brown at TreeHugger explains:

Affordable Solar-Powered Air Conditioner in a Neat Little Package is Finally Here (via Clean Technica)

  Kingtec has developed affordable solar-powered air conditioning in a relatively neat package. Here are some of the key details: Price: $2,895 USD. Cooling capacity: 16,000 BTU (4.7 kW of cooling capacity). Power consumption: 850 watts. SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio): 22.5. EER (Energy Efficiency…

Continue Reading