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Whitepapers » Policy » Research

  • Investing in the Power of the Sun - The Capitalist Case for Solar Energy By: Michael Gorton, Chief Executive Officer / Chairman, Principal Solar and Dan Bedell, Executive Vice President - Marketing & Corporate Development, Principal Solar

    This paper examines the recent past and potential future of photovoltaic (PV) solar in terms of how it has compared with traditional generation and how, even without government subsidies, solar utility scale projects will reach a price per KWh that will be at - or less than - traditional generation, possibly as soon as 2014. Now is the time for traditional conservative thinking to re-examine the facts about solar energy and explore its potential for not only delivering more efficient and less costly power, but also for creating jobs and opportunities that jump-start economic growth. This jump-start would be possible because electricity drives... More »

    Investing in the Power of the Sun - The...
  • Solar Industry Goes Mainstream: Revolutionary PV Module Rating System Empowers Solar Professionals By: Ken Allen, COO, Principal Solar; Rick Borry, CTO, Principal Solar; Dan Bedell, Executive Vice President - Marketing & Corporate Development, Principal Solar; Kirk Blankenship, Institute Development, Principal Solar Institute; and Matthew Thompson, Executive Director, Principal Solar Institute

    The Principal Solar Institute (PSI) has launched the PSI PV Module Rating, the industry's first and only comprehensive, independent rating standard for comparing PV modules. The rating method is constructed without bias: PSI has no affiliation with any PV module manufacturer and no interest in promoting one over another. The ratings are designed to allow large-scale solar consumers to make informed, intelligent comparisons and decisions when selecting PV modules. The PSI PV Module Rating is a comparative number that can be used with pricing information to provide power plant designers, buyers and financiers with a consistent basis for choosin... More »

    Solar Industry Goes Mainstream: Revoluti...
  • Next Generation Vehicles: Addressing Air Quality, Fuel and Efficiency By: Margaret Keliher, Board of Directors, Principal Solar and Michael Gorton, Chief Executive Officer / Chairman, Principal Solar

    One hundred years ago, the automobile began showing up on the streets of our country. Many experts at the time opined that it was nothing more than a novelty. The horse, after all, had been the primary transportation source for thousands of years. Now, the car is mainstream and everything else is novelty - not to be taken seriously. The problem is that the internal combustion engine has not changed significantly since its introduction. It has been a great resource, yet it also has its weaknesses. The number one man-made contributor to dirty air is the automobile. Couple that with rising gas prices and national security issues associated with... More »

    Next Generation Vehicles: Addressing Air...
  • Technological Niches: Concentrated Solar Thermal vs. Photovoltaic Solar By: Rick Borry, CTO, Principal Solar and Brett Gage, Research Intern, Principal Solar

    Concentrated solar thermal and photovoltaic solar technologies have evolved independently for decades, and both are approaching "grid-parity" power prices in many applications today. This paper will explore the different situations where each technology succeeds or fails in today's electric power generation marketplace, specifically excluding non-electric applications such as solar hot water heating. As of 2012, PV has come to dominate all smaller-scale solar electricity applications, while retaining the majority market share even in commercial and utility-scale applications. CSP retains a strong niche at the utility-scale and in combined hea... More »

    Technological Niches: Concentrated Solar...
  • Energy Efficiency & Sustainability in Organic Food Supply By: Jim Keyes, Chairman, Key Development LLC; Michael Martin, EVP, Business Development, Principal Solar; and Brett Gage, Research Intern, Principal Solar

    Over the past few decades, the organic food industry has gained increasing attention among various sectors of the population. Consumers and suppliers, alike, have facilitated this growth by appealing to a health and wellness conscience that grew out of the 20th century. With the growth of the organic food industry is a parallel trend of social responsibility showing that consumers across all sectors are not only demanding great products at affordable prices, but also understanding that their products were produced with minimal harm to the environment. Examining the food industry, ONE OF THE BIGGEST QUESTIONS presented to suppliers is how to b... More »

    Energy Efficiency & Sustainability i...
  • Interfacing with the Electrical Grid By: Ken Allen, COO, Principal Solar and Ron Seidel, Principal, RBS Energy Consulting

    "Interfacing with the Electrical Grid" outlines a new generation of power plants that will become increasingly dependent upon solar energy systems as a heat source, and the role federal, regional and state regulatory agencies will play in ensuring that connection, transmission and performance remains stable. More »

    Interfacing with the Electrical Grid
  • Navigating Environmental and Regulatory Issues to Reduce Risk By: Scott Deatherage, Partner, Gardere Wynne Sewell and Michael Gorton, Chief Executive Officer / Chairman, Principal Solar

    Understanding the full breadth of legal, regulatory and environmental issues associated with determining when and where to develop solar projects is critical to reducing risks and avoiding costly delays. "Solar Power Installations: Navigating Environmental Regulatory Issues to Reduce Risk" suggests the research, planning and design warranted to develop both private and public lands that will lead to the timely approval and construction of a project. More »

    Navigating Environmental and Regulatory...
  • Shining Light on Renewable Energy in Developing Countries By: Robert Freling, Executive Director, Solar Electric Light Fund and David Ramsour, Ph.D., Private Consultant, Researcher and Economist

    Many of the poorest countries in the world have the highest exposure to the sun. "Shining Light on Renewable Energy in Developing Countries" explores the opportunities for unprecedented investment in clean, renewable alternative energy systems that have the potential to not only enrich newly industrialized countries, but positively alter the quality of life for populations around the world. More »

    Shining Light on Renewable Energy in Dev...
  • Turning Green into Greener By: Wendell Brown, Inventor, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Michael Gorton, Chief Executive Officer / Chairman, Principal Solar

    This paper - which the authors nicknamed "Solar 101" - teaches the fundamentals of Solar energy. It is packed with current information and virtually everything you need to know about industry basics -- simplifying the complex science of solar energy and providing an understanding of grid parity. Discover how energy efficiency investments can provide up to one-half of the needed greenhouses gas emissions reductions most scientists say are needed between now and the year 2050. Such a gain in energy efficiency would mean reduced greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy bills for consumers and businesses alike. Readers will learn how power is pr... More »

    Turning Green into Greener