Biofuel investments keep on coming

Developing biofuels continues to be a bright spot in the cleantech world. Two startups, plant genetic engineering company Chromatin and biofuel producer ZeaChem, announced separately on Tuesday that they have raised new rounds of funding.  Chicago-based Chromatin said it has lined up $10 million – the first close of the D round – from investors including the venture arm of oil giant BP and the investing arm of product firm Unilever. Chromatin has developed a technology to genetically modify energy crops so that they grow fast and abundant, and its plant of choice if sorghum, a grass with some desirable, natural characteristics as a bioenergy feedstock, such as a high tolerance for drought and heat.

Solar Trade Case May Backfire on US Firms

Like Detroit automakers taking on the Japanese a generation ago, the seven American solar panel makers that filed a trade case on Wednesday against China might find that a legal victory, if it comes, may not translate into business success.In the 1970s and ‘80s, American car companies won a long series of trade cases to limit Japanese car imports. Japan’s automakers responded by moving assembly lines to the United States, creating many new blue-collar jobs. But they kept most of the high-paying design and engineering positions back in Japan. The new factories in the United States not only shielded Japanese auto companies against most further trade protectionism but helped them stay competitive when the yen soared against the dollar.   Meanwhile, American consumers had many new, affordable choices in cars — while Detroit continued to have trouble competing with its Japanese rivals. Don’t be surprised if Chinese solar companies try to pursue a similar path, which could benefit American consumers of solar power if it helps propel the technology beyond its current niche status.

Solar Power International 2011 Report

Solar Power International 2011 took place in Dallas, Texas, with a goal to generate powerful new ideas, connections and business opportunities for the solar industry. An estimated 24,000 professionals and over 1200 exhibitors from businesses spanning the entire spectrum of the industry will be on hand for four days of product exploration, discussion, professional enrichment and networking. The AltEnergyMag team has taken some time to put together a list of some of the interesting new products and services seen at this year's show.

U.S. Solar Jobs Census Finds Solar Employment Soars As U.S. Economy Lags

The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit solar education and research organization, today released its second annual review of the solar workforce in the United States. The report, titled, "National Solar Jobs Census 2011: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce" found that hiring in the solar workforce is on the rise. More than 100,000 Americans are now employed in the solar industry.  "The solar industry has grown into a major economic force with more than 100,000 employees in the United States," said Andrea Luecke, executive director of The Solar Foundation. "We expect even greater growth in the foreseeable future. But policymakers, workforce training providers, and the industry must work together to continue creating good jobs for skilled workers."  As of August 2011, the National Solar Jobs Census 2011 identified more than 17,198 solar employment sites and 100,237 solar jobs in all 50 states. The solar industry's job growth rate of 6.8 percent is significantly higher than the 2 percent net job loss in fossil fuel power generation and the economy-wide expectation of 0.7 percent growth over the same period.   

Solar Power International held this week in Dallas, Texas

Solar Power International 2011, October 17-20, is in Dallas, Texas to generate powerful new ideas, connections and business for the solar industry—and your enterprise. 24,000 professionals from businesses spanning the entire spectrum of the industry for four days of product exploration, discussion, professional enrichment and networking. As ususal AltEnergyMag.com will bring all the news coming from this years show via our SPI Newspage .  Make sure to post your company news and check back regularly. Follow us on Twitter @AltEnergyMag

Removing the Rare Element Limitations from Solar Energy

Many of the cutting edge thin-film technologies require rare elements that are a finite resource already in short supply. There simply is not enough material on the planet to make these devices for worldwide consumption.

Understanding Solar Power Purchase Agreements
A Guide to Hosting a Solar Energy System

Under the terms of a solar PPA, a solar services provider installs solar equipment at a host business, government site, university, or other organization, and the host agrees to buy the solar electricity generated by the system for a fixed price and term, usually 5-20 years.

On Energy Management, Manufacturing and Factory Automation

I wrote this article for HomeToys.com, our Home Technology website but it applies to Alternative Energy as well. It's not enough to monitor our energy use. We don't really care about that unless it does something to change our lives or save us money. So, let's put a solar system on the roof. Now that can do both of these things and should attract our attention. But let's take it a step further. With that solar system there is a new variable in the mix --- FREE CLEAN ENERGY. What can and should we do with it.

Don't Forget: NREL are the Good Guys. And so is solar energy.

The Denver recently reported the NREL was going to lay off 10 percent of its employees. It took about two light seconds for a popular Washington D.C. news site to pronounce the layoff a "scandal," because NREL had taken federal stimulus money. That is silly. NREL, of course, is where the Department of Energy tests and develops new materials and techniques for solar, wind and other kinds of energy.

Harvesting Energy from Organic Materials

Harvest uses a platform of technologies - including advanced composting, anaerobic digestion, and material recovery - to harness the full carbon, energy and nutrient value from discarded organic materials.

The OPDE Group

OPDE is a Spanish corporation with a global vision that specialises in photovoltaic solar energy systems. We have three business lines. OPDE develops, builds, and carries out maintenance of photovoltaic solar plants; PROINSO supplies modules, inverters, trackers, and other equipments for photovoltaic installations; MECASOLAR specialises in the design and manufacture of solar trackers, fixed structures, and foundation screws.

Nissan developing a 10-minute car charger, report says

One of the main arguments against electric cars is that it takes too long to recharge the battery. Even using a DC fast-charger, going from 0 to 80 percent capacity still takes about 30 minutes. But Nissan is working on a new super-rapid charging system that can recharge a drained EV battery in 10 minutes, which could be a game changer for the industry. Nissan engineers and researchers at Japan's Kansai University have created a new capacitor electrode made of tungsten oxide and vanadium oxide instead of the usual carbon, according to an article in Paul Tan's Automotive News. According to an unnamed report, the new capacitor electrode can hold more power and reduce charging time without reducing capacity or voltage.

SolarCity to develop 1.6MW solar project for California school district

The project for the Chico Unified School District was announced along with the launch of SolarChico on Friday, a collaborative community initiative offering residents and businesses discounts on solar power. SolarCity will also donate a portion of the SolarChico program's revenues to the District and conduct free educational solar workshops throughout the community. "Chico Unified School District is excited to support the City of Chico's emissions reduction goals and celebrate our shared commitment to clean energy with our SolarChico Community Program, which we hope inspires more of our community to go solar," said Kelly Staley, Chico Unified School District Superintendent. "SolarChico will generate new funds for the District, which we will utilize for much needed facilities projects."

Small wind heading into boom period, report says

The small wind industry is about to enter a major growth spurt. It is poised to grow from a $255 million industry in 2010 to $634 million industry in 2015, according to a recent Pike Research report. The report attributes a growing interest and expected success in the coming years to the fact that small wind is currently more efficient and, therefore, cheaper on a cost-per-watt basis than solar photovoltaic cells. Because the return on investment can take as little as 5 years to 10 years, depending on area wind conditions, it offers an accessible option to small businesses, farms, and communities even in the absence of state or federal incentives, according to the report. But perhaps the most interesting statistic thrown out there by Pike Research is that it expects the average price of a small wind turbine system to reach $4,150 per kilowatt by 2015.

Q and A about Solyndria and the Clean Energy Industry

In 2009, there were 2.2 million green jobs in America, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By July of this year, the number was 2.7 million, according to the Brookings Institution. That compares with 375,000 jobs mining coal, producing oil and gas and turning fossil fuels into consumer products.

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