Solar Power World’s Top 10 stories of 2021

Last year was another atypical year for Solar Energy World and the industry as a whole. Breakthrough solar policies and tariff news kept editors busy in front of computers, while trade shows to see new products in person were still hampered by the pandemic. Team SPW kept an eye on the latest solar products, services and trends from afar, and readers flocked to stories about new battery and module innovations and much more.

Below the 10 most read stories of 2021 on Solar Energy World. Stay up to date with all the latest solar industry news for the coming year and beyond by subscribing to SPW’s free weekly newsletter.

10. Think Before You Throw Away: The second-hand solar market is booming

Over the next five years, a growing number of U.S. solar owners and operators will choose to power their systems. Installers can play a role in the circular economy by diverting energy-producing decommissioned modules to the secondary market.

9. Now no more avoiding: soon the top 4 polysilicon manufacturers will be located in China

A ranking of the best polysilicon manufacturers by the German research firm Bernreuter Research in May 2021 shows that four of the five largest producers in the world are located in China. This finding was amid growing concern over the use of forced labor in China’s Xinjiang province.

8. Duracell enters the residential energy storage market with 14 kWh LFP batteries

Renowned alkaline battery manufacturer Duracell launched a residential energy storage solution through California-based distributor Power Center+. The Duracell Power Center product line consists of 5 kW and 10 kW inverter outputs with lithium iron phosphate batteries.

7. All about all-black solar panels

While residential solar customers want the highest power systems for maximum energy cost savings, aesthetics are still paramount when it comes to choosing solar panels. Fully black modules run slightly hotter and offer less opportunities for reflected light absorption, resulting in a slightly lower efficiency.

6. Biden Infrastructure Plan Includes 10-Year Extension and Phaseout of ITC with Immediate Payment

President Joe Biden rolled out his infrastructure package, the American Jobs Plan, on March 31 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The solar industry’s key provisions are in the Build Back Better Act, which is currently being debated in the Senate.

5. Unique Alternatives to Rooftop Solar Panels for Small-Scale Installations

Rooftops aren’t the only place to harvest a few kilowatts of solar energy for smaller energy applications. Homes with yards or in off-grid locations can use the ground underfoot or south-facing walls to mount solar panels.

4. Panasonic stops producing its own solar panels

Panasonic announced that it would cease manufacturing solar products at its Malaysian and Japanese plants and exit the solar panel and wafer manufacturing market by March 2022. The company said it will continue to sell Panasonic branded modules, but through a subcontractor.

3. Going Off-Grid Into The 2020s: Updated Battery Choices For Today’s Power Needs

Describe an off-grid solar installation, and 20 years ago someone would imagine a remote cabin in the woods, with lead-acid batteries and diesel generators used as backup power. But in the 2020s, off-grid homes may be closer than you think — like, right next door.

2. The US solar industry has a Chinese production problem

The silicon solar PV cell was invented in America, but we now have no hand in manufacturing it. How did we let China dominate solar energy production?

1. When utilities stranded him, a homeowner went off-grid with solar + storage

Many homeowners may have given up and bought another home when faced with the utility problem that landowner Derrick Zearley was experiencing. Instead, he looked to solar + storage to avoid interconnection altogether.

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