Next-gen solar makers still finding funding

Despite the fact that solar panels are quickly becoming a commodity — cheap and uniform — it looks like investors are still willing to put a small amount of funding into the next-generation of solar equipment. Three startup solar makers have raised funds over the past week or so — two that make concentrating solar technology and one that makes crystalline silicon solar cells. Last week Solexel, which uses silicon gas to make solar wafers, closed on $25 million in funding, according to a filing. Bloomberg reported on the deal and said that the funds would be used to build a pilot plant in California, which would be a testing ground for a larger commercial plant in Malaysia. Solar panel maker SunPower participated in the round, as did venture investors Kleiner Perkins, Technology Partners and DAG Ventures, reported Bloomberg.

Commerce Preliminarily Finds Dumping of Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules from the People's Republic of China

On May 17, 2012, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) announced its affirmative preliminary determination in the antidumping duty (AD) investigation of imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules (solar cells) from the People’s Republic of China (China). For the purpose of AD investigations, dumping occurs when a foreign company sells a product in the United States at less than fair value. Commerce preliminarily determined that Chinese producers/exporters sold solar cells in the United States at dumping margins ranging from 31.14 percent to 249.96 percent. Check out our Newspage for statements and reaction coming in from across the industry.

Scientists to harness solar energy in space

Solar power from space could be a valuable source of renewable energy, thanks to an innovative research. Researchers at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, have already tested equipment that would provide a platform for solar panels to collect the energy and allow it to be transferred back to earth through microwaves or lasers. This unique development would provide a reliable source of power and allow valuable energy to be sent to remote areas in the world, providing power to disaster zones or outlying areas that are difficult to reach by traditional means. "Space provides a fantastic source for collecting solar power and we have the advantage of being able to gather it regardless of the time of the day or indeed the weather conditions," said Massimiliano Vasile, mechanical and aerospace engineer at Strathclyde, who is leading the research, according to a university statement.

PV Fleet Management

PV by nature is an intermittent energy source that can be affected greatly (even over the course of seconds) by weather influences such as passing clouds. While this variability may not be a concern for the individual PV system owner, it is for utilities or system operators that may have tens of thousands of grid-connected PV systems within their service territories.

Asia Report: Solar Dumping Announcement Set for May 17

Seven months after a trade investigation was launched, American solar companies and Chinese solar manufacturers will finally get a clear picture of the challenges ahead. SolarWorld’s American operation led the filing of the complaint in October, making the case that Chinese manufacturers were getting an unfair level of subsidies from their government and they were then illegally dumping those products into the American market. The first phase of the ruling came down in March, and in that the Department of Commerce found an illegal level of subsidies. However, it preliminarily set the tariffs at between 2.9 and 4.73 percent. A determination on the second of the two tariffs is set to be made on May 16 and announced on May 17. The history of international trade disputes suggests that the anti-dumping tariff, if one is set, is generally higher than the countervailing duty that measures the level of subsidies.

Going Green in Indian Country: Two Sides of the Buffalo Nickel

Hopefully both sides of the coin - cultural property protection in the face of any callous non-Indian energy development, and streamlined tribal energy development for sake of tribal self-determination - can be realized by the revised S. 1684. The protection of Indian Country, both in the long and short term, quite literally depends on it.

Solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPA)

PPAs are best for organizations that own their own buildings or homes. Or plan to occupy their space for an extended period of time. Also, a property owner who has a large open property or rooftop space (such as a warehouse or distribution center) may also enter into a PPA in connection with a rooftop or property lease as a means to generate not only renewable energy, but also revenue from energy sales to the local utility.

Solar Project Insurance

The inability of some solar project developers to secure the right coverage coupled with concerns about the long-term viability of equipment manufacturers has created fear and uncertainty in the marketplace, preventing some investors from financing projects.

Case Study: William G. Mennen Sports Arena

Tioga helped facilitate a first-of-its kind financing program ("the Morris Model") in which taxable bonds were issued to finance the solar program

Woody Biomass: An Emerging Bio-Energy

The WBUGP provides financial support to projects ( up to a maximum of $250,000) that responsibly use woody biomass to produce energy. It also supports projects that seek to remove economic and market barriers that restrict the use of woody biomass as a source of renewable bio-energy.

U.S., India glimpse a bright future together in solar power

There are few places in the world where the opportunity for solar power is more blindingly obvious than India. There are also few industries where the possibility of collaboration between India and the United States is more tantalizing. But while India’s solar industry is finally taking off, massive hurdles must be overcome before it can make a meaningful contribution to the country’s rapidly growing power needs, experts and business leaders say. “India is a very important market for the solar industry, one of the top three markets worldwide,” said Jayesh Goyal of California-based concentrated solar power technology provider Areva Solar. “The general view is that India will reach the 3 percent target before 2022.” The logic for the Indian solar sector appears almost irrefutable.

Solar-Powered Catamaran completes record-setting circumnavigation

Turanor PlanetSolar, a futuristic-looking 100-foot catamaran, on Friday became the first vessel to have circumnavigated the planet exclusively on power generated by the sun. The voyage, which began and ended in Monaco, lasted 19-plus months and included layovers in 28 countries, which were designed to promote the importance of solar energy.   Traveling on an equatorial route to take advantage of abundant sunshine, Turanor PlanetSolar covered more than 37,000 miles and set multiple Guinness World Records. The five-man crew enjoyed stops in such destinations as Tangier, Miami, Cancun, the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bombay, Abu Dhabi and Doha.  

New Study Shows US Solar Energy Could Employ Hundreds of Thousands of Americans by 2020

A new independent research report released today by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, found that solar energy is following the same path to commercialization as other traditional energy sources spurred by federal incentives. The study, titled "Assessment of Incentives and Employment Impacts of Solar Industry Deployment," also estimates that the U.S. solar industry could employ hundreds of thousands of Americans by the end of the decade. Like oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear, and all other traditional energy sources, the Baker Center finds, solar has received support from the federal government to promote its usage in order to drive our economy. In fact, according to the report, diffusion of solar energy technology in the energy markets is very similar to the paths that many American industries have traveled to become mainstream. Unlike more mature technologies, however, that continue to receive subsidies, solar energy is currently in a very early phase of its growth trajectory.

SolarCity to file for an IPO

Despite the series of withdrawals of greentech IPOs this month, solar rooftop installer SolarCity announced on Monday that it is planning for an IPO. The company says it filed its IPO registration on April 26, and is waiting for the documents to be reviewed and approved by the SEC. A SolarCity IPO has been an open secret for the past few months and a report in Bloomberg in February said that an IPO could value SolarCity at more than $1.5 billion. Back in February SolarCity also raised $85 million from investors like Silver Lake Kraftwerk to expand its rapidly growing solar rooftop empire. Overall, SolarCity has raised just over $200 million in venture capital, company spokesman Jonathan Bass told us back in February.

The Smart Junction Box for Solar Panel Monitoring and Control

The Smart Junction Box allows for wireless communication with a central unit that can track the panels on their individual performance and allows the panels or its substrings to be quickly switched off in the case of failure, fire, tornado or other calamity.

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