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Solar News Blitz!

Posted on Monday, March 5th, 2012 at 12:23 pm by Solar Energy USA
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The following article contains a recap of solar installation news for the week of March 5th, 2012:

Chocolate Sweeter Than Ever Thanks To Solar Power

Mars Chocolate North America recently completed a 4.4 acre “solar garden” installation at a chocolate manufacturing facility in Nevada. The solar energy system features over 2,000 ground-mounted solar panels and is one of the largest solar panel installations by a food manufacturer in the state of Nevada. “At Mars Chocolate North America, we have the opportunity to make a difference in the world,” Mike Wittman, vice president of supply for Mars, said in a statement.  “We are proud of the investments we are making to ensure we are using the earth’s resources responsibly.  This newest solar garden moves us closer to our goals of eliminating our carbon footprint at our sites by 2040 and using 100 percent renewable energy.”

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Audi To Enter Electric Vehicle Market

Luxury automaker Audi plans to enter the electric vehicle (EV) market with an initial research program designed around their new Audi A3 e-tron, a modified Audi A3 that is equipped with an all-electric powertrain operated by a 26kW lithium-ion battery pack. The A3 EV has a 90-mile driving range with a top speed of 90 mph. According to Jeff Curry, head of sustainability strategy at Audi of America, Audi’s EV test program will be conducted throughout four major U.S. markets: San Francisco, California, Los Angeles, California, Wachington, D.C. and Denver, Colorado.

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Massive Solar Roof To Be Unveiled in North Georgia

The Solar Energy USA office of North Georgia is on the final phase of a commercial solar installation using over 200 solar panels. The rooftop solar project was ordered by a local manufacturing company who will see their power bills decrease by 50% or more thanks to the new solar panels.

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US Energy Secretary Says Solar Will Be Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels

US Department of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu says by 2020 solar energy will be cheaper than energy from fossil fuels.  The cost of solar panels has decreased dramatically in recent years, much lower from the $8 dollars a watt level for a large-scale solar installation in 2005. Once the total system cost gets to $1 a watt, utility scale solar will have a long term cost of energy of 6.5c/KWh. At that point, Chu says, it will be the same price as natural gas, without the need for any solar subsidies. Gas, he noted, was already cheaper than new build coal in the US, thanks to extensive shale gas reserves, as was onshore wind, which also has a declining cost curve ahead of it.

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New Electric Ford Focus To Debut Late 2012

Ford is entering the EV market by debuting an all-electric version of their popular Focus model sedan. The 2012 Ford Focus Electric will seat five people while delivering an EPA-certified 110 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe ), topping the Nissan Leaf. The EPA-approved Focus Electric label also certifies that the car has a range of 76 miles on a single charge compared with the 73-mile range of the Leaf. The Focus Electric can be driven up to 100 miles on a single charge depending on driving habits. The average driver drives 29 miles a day, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics website.

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