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Listen Up: Solar Energy Start-Ups

Solar start-ups are hot again — especially those that address the "downstream" part of the value chain: installer services, customer acquisition, system design tools and analytical systems. And as in years past, there are a dozens of companies showing new types of solar panels, trackers, racking systems and integrated systems.

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If these products can deliver on their promises, we can look forward to further reductions in both hardware and soft costs for systems. And not surprisingly — after a few successful IPOs and acquisitions — VCs are investing again in solar deals. 

At this years Solar Power International (Chicago, October 22-24th), many of these promising startups are highlighted in a new section called "Start-Up Alley." Here, 19 early stage solar companies will be demonstrating their products and services, and will be presenting their business proposals to potential investors. But Start-Up Alley is not the only place to learn about ways to improve your solar business — industry stalwarts like UnThink Solar, OnGrid and Solar Marketing Group will be at the show.

This is the 10th year for Solar Power International. We've watched the show grow from a few aisles of hippy-eco solar products on the ground floor of a San Francisco office building — to a major international trade show. So listen to this week's Energy Show on Renewable Energy World for a preview of the hottest solar start-ups, and a picture of where the industry is going for the next ten years.

Find more episodes of The Energy Show here.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don't have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we'll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He's been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Read more renewable energy news here.

Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock

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