Another alternative energy company that received a loan guarantee from the U.S. government has filed for bankruptcy. Beacon Power, which makes energy storage devices used to help the power grid become more efficient, filed for bankruptcy protection Sunday, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company received a $43 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy last August. "This latest failure is a sharp reminder that DOE has fallen well short of delivering the stimulus jobs that were promised," Florida Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns said in a statement Sunday night. "Now taxpayers find themselves millions of more dollars in the hole." Stearns is leading an investigation into the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a solar panel maker that received a $535 million government loan guarantee last year. The Beacon bankruptcy will likely only make that investigation more urgent.
Wind energy is more affordable than ever, and new installations across the country are saving consumers money on their electric bills, as utilities rush to lock in long-term favorable rates. "This is what a successful business looks like with stable tax policy. Utilities are locking in a great deal for their electric customers while it's available. We're keeping rates down all across the U.S., even in the heart of the South," said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), pointing to recent wind power purchases by the Southern Company in Alabama, Austin Energy in Texas, and Xcel in Colorado as examples. The U.S. wind industry installed just over 1,200 megawatts (MW) in the third quarter, and about 3,360 MW on the year so far – but has more than 8,400 MW under construction. That is more than in any quarter since 2008, as the federal Production Tax Credit has driven as much as $20 billion a year in private investment. "This shows what we're capable of: adding new, affordable electric generation," said Bode. "Traditional tax incentives are working. There's a lot of business right now, people are employed, and manufacturers are looking to expand here in the U.S."
By measuring and monitoring solar thermal system performance, installers can correct mistakes and fine-tune and optimize systems. As a result, US consumers are likely to regain confidence in the technology, spurring what is expected to be a burgeoning market for solar hot water heaters.
MicroCSP power projects all include sun tracker and thermal storage. The cost is around the same as PV but you generate more electricity per day because of the tracker/storage combination so you have a lower cost of energy.
Recent advances in materials science have led to the development of innovative new materials that provide enhanced durability to photovoltaic modules. Unique polymeric thin film technologies, such as ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) frontsheets, provide modules with the protection they need to perform at high levels even when exposed to the elements.
Research has shown that LEED buildings consume over 25% less energy, have 13% lower maintenance costs, 27% higher occupant satisfaction and a 33% reduction in GHG emissions compared to the average commercial building.
Bard College and Hawthorne Ridge Retirement Community are two examples of down to earth solar energy projects that make a difference.
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.
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 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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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Solar FlexRack's latest solar tracker technology bundles an advanced tracker design with a full team of seasoned engineering and installation experts at your service. The next-generation solar tracker delivers a package of features that both enable increased energy yields for commercial and utility-scale solar installations, and significantly reduce project risks. That translates to smart installation cost-savings across your project budget.