Will the Chinese government make a good cleantech VC? The government recently announced a plan to invest directly or through venture capital funds into startups that are developing technologies including clean power and green cars. The Ministry of Finance posted a policy statement last Friday outlining its criteria for pumping up emerging technology development in the country. The criteria spells out what types of startups will qualify (founded no more than five years ago, for example) and what kind of venture capital funds might attract government participating (each equity fund must have a minimum of 2.5 billion yuan, or $391 million). The government said, in general, it wants to contribute no more than 20 percent of a fund, and it doesn’t want to stay in a fund for more than 10 years.
SolarCity has made headlines for its unique business model. The company's focus is on residential and commercial solar roof installation, and has spread its influence across the U.S. with great success. SolarCity has now received a $344 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy to outfit military housing rooftops with solar panels. The loan guarantee will see SolarCity partnering with military housing developers to install up to 160,000 solar rooftops, with an estimated 371 megawatts of generating capacity. That will effectively double the amount of installed solar rooftop power in the U.S., with 166,000 solar roof installations total reported in Q1 2011 by GTM Research. The project is being carried out in partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, SolarCity, and USRG Renewable Finance—a subsidiary of U.S. Renewables Group—who will serve as the lead lender.
First Solar Inc. is the world's largest maker of thin-film solar modules. The company is looking to power project investments in Canada and has secured a $455.7 million of loan guarantees from the U.S. Export-Import Bank. First Solar plans to build two solar plants in southern Ontario with a combined capacity of 90 megawatts. Ontario has seen a significant spike in solar energy investment following the passing of the Canadian province's recent Green Energy Act, catapulting it into the position of number two in installed solar capacity, trailing only California. The loan guarantee in the largest ever approved by the U.S. Export-Import Bank for solar products shipped abroad, and is aimed at helping President Obama in his goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.
More entries in this years Solar Decathlon for your interest and enjoyment.
The Italian market is growing faster than ever before. In the first half of 2011, the market volume was almost three times that of Germany. Italy is on its way to becoming the world's number one market in 2011.
Anyone with a financial interest in renewable energy has exposure to weather and climate-related risk. Understanding, quantifying and managing that risk is absolutely essential to the successful development and operation of renewable energy projects.
Solyndra, a California-based thin film solar company that received a $535 million loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy, has halted operations and plans to file for bankruptcy. Solyndra is the third US solar manufacturer to close its doors in less than a month, and like Evergreen Solar and SpectraWatt before it, Solyndra says it is unable to compete with larger rivals in Asia, as the price of solar panels continues to drop. President Obama visited Solyndra's DOE-supported facility in May 2010 to promote the agency's investments in renewable energy. The company's failure will undoubtedly fuel the fires of the administration's critics. For several months Republicans have been calling for an investigation into how Solyndra was chosen to receive a loan guarantee.
A new report shows that the U.S. is central to the global solar supply chain. In 2010, U.S. solar firms achieved a positive trade flow of $1.9 billion globally according to SEIA® and GTM Research's U.S. Solar Energy Trade Assessment 2011. Photovoltaic (PV) components accounted for more than 99 percent of the year's exports, with solar heating and cooling (SHC) claiming the remainder of the positive balance. For the U.S. PV manufacturing industry, 2010 was a record year. Exports totaled more than $5.6 billion, with PV polysilicon feedstock and capital equipment leading all components at $2.5 billion and $1.4 billion respectively. The leading destinations for U.S.-sourced PV components were China and Germany. Meanwhile, U.S. imports of PV products totaled $3.7 billion, the majority of which ($2.4 billion) came from procurement of modules assembled overseas. China and Mexico were the top two sources of PV goods headed to the U.S. in 2010. Furthermore, the U.S. was a net exporter of solar products to China last year by more than $240 million. The U.S. primarily sold capital equipment and PV polysilicon to China, while China primarily sold PV modules to the U.S.
Developing a wind farm is a complex process requiring the integration of a number of third parties such as engineers, contractors, and turbine suppliers/erectors. Fully capturing available federal, state, and local incentives will require communication, cooperation and some flexibility. Owners and developers should not rely on ad hoc solutions after bids are placed and contracts are signed, because that will increase transaction costs and the risk that certain incentives will be permanently lost.
The share of renewables in electricity generation is around 18%, with 15% of global electricity coming from hydroelectricity and 3% from new renewables. This paper aims to disseminate new methods of obtaining energy.
Through events, direct engagement with Commission staff and membership of technology platforms, SEGEC is focused on delivering innovative, low carbon energy projects - the key for marine energy is to unlock the deployment opportunities and to demonstrate the benefits that wave and tidal energy projects provide for emissions reduction.
KACO Canada is a manufacturing and assembly plant. Components are mainly shipped from KACO headquarters in Neckarsulm Germany. Certain parts are found locally in Ontario. All assembly is done by members of the London community.
Even during Vermont's shortest days, the systems can collect enough energy to support their normal operation through 15 hour nights. This is partly due to algorithms built into the controller to monitor and adjust voltage from the solar module (Maximum Power Tracking).
Despite a struggling domestic economy, the US solar photovoltaic (PV) market will double in 2011, according to the latest Solarbuzz® United States PV Market Report. 2011 growth rates vary significantly by market segment, an outcome of the vast movements in incentives and policies at the federal, state and local government level over the past 12 months. “With rapid declines in factory gate prices over the past eight weeks as manufacturers and distributors focus on depleting module inventories, demand has picked up across residential, corporate and government segments,” noted Craig Stevens, President of Solarbuzz. “This acceleration is being supplemented by explosive utility demand and the rush to install before federal cash grants are scheduled to expire at the end of the year.” The US is forecast to become the third-largest solar photovoltaic market, behind Germany and Italy in 2011. While the US currently comprises 5% of the world PV market, Solarbuzz projects an increase to 12% by 2015.
The U.S. government is growing into one of the most important cleantech customers. It’s been investing and proselytizing the value of clean power, biofuels and energy efficiency products and services for job creation, energy security and (insert your favorite cliché here). And it’s a natural extension that it also should set an example as a major consumer of these technologies. The U.S. Defense Department, which uses 80 percent of the energy consumed by the federal government, is increasing its efforts to fund and use cleantech. A lot of these efforts are centered on drafting purchase plans and testing technologies in the field and one thing to consider is that larger companies might have an easier time convincing the military to buy than startups. Click here for a list of some of the military’s plans and projects .
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