Rise & Shine: January 5, 2009
The Rise & Shine is your daily source for all solar-industry news. Brought to you by Sweet Solar Home and the Experts at SunRun.
Solar-Power Industry Remains Hot in California
“While we don’t have the final numbers yet, it appears we nearly doubled the amount of solar installed in 2008 versus 2007,” said Molly Tirpak Sterkel, director of the California Solar Initiative. “That’s a magnificent story.”
Solar Panel Heist Foiled
A tip from a watchful citizen led to the capture of two men believed to have stolen solar panels in Rutherford.
Eurus Energy America Launches Solar Initiative
Eurus will focus on the development of large-scale photovoltaic projects throughout the U.S., with a particular focus on the West.
With aid from the state, Californians Warm to Rooftop Solar Power
Some consumers are concluding that sunshine is their safest investment.
Encinitas: City Completes Residential Solar Power Program
Under a proposal that the City Council asked staff to review earlier this month, homeowners could pay off new solar installation expenses through 20-year loans. The loans would appear on their yearly property tax bills.
Getting Renewable Power to the People
Any electricity generated in the desert by solar plants or wind farms needs to travel via power lines to the cities, most of them clustered along the coast. And the state’s grid of transmission lines can’t do the job. It doesn’t have enough lines in the right places to carry all that power.
More Solar Panels Stolen
Forty solar panels were stolen from the City of Napa?s water treatment plant at Lake Hennessey, the Napa County Sheriff?s Department reported Dec. 19.
Milpitas Schools, Chevron & BOA Complete 3.4MW Solar Project
The 3.4-megawatt (MW) solar parking canopies and shade structures supply 100 percent of the district’s power during the summer months when California’s peak-demand electricity needs are greatest.
Pasadena Volunteer Committee Creating Energy Road Map
The committee’s plan for reducing emissions by 30 percent wouldn’t require reducing Pasadena’s coal intake. Instead, it calls for modest expansions in local green power sources – such as small solar panel projects – and a larger expansion in remote sources, like solar, wind, or other sources.
First Solar Home Project for City of Gridley
The energy contributed could generate more positive off what he pulls off the grid, depending on how much is used. Statewide, municipal utilities, such as Gridley Municipal Utilities, are committed to providing over $780.000 in rebates up to 2017 paid for by the utilities.
Waldorf School Unveils New Solar Installation
Waldorf School of the Peninsula, a K-8 school in Los Altos, partnered with SolarCity to commemorate the opening of the school?s new solar-energy system Dec. 6 at the school?s Holiday Faire.
Solar Firms Seek Land
NextLight Renewable Power, a new California company, had asked to lease 2,000 acres of Nevada-owned land west of U.S. 95 in the Eldorado Valley for a thermal solar plant.
Executives of the Year: SolarCity?’s Rive Brothers are Bright Lights of Silicon Valley
Siblings Lyndon and Pete Rive run their company SolarCity Corp. like coaches of a football team.
The Geyers Taps Solar Power
The Northern California Power Agency has completed a solar energy system to generate electricity for a pump station supplying water to one of its geothermal plants at The Geysers.
Residents Powering Homes Face Problems
But the Missouri Public Service Commission, which oversees the utilities, is requiring homeowners to buy insurance before they install solar and start feeding electricity to the grid. And it appears that no Missouri insurance companies sell the insurance.
The Year in Solar: A Mix of Victories and Woes
More government incentives are becoming available to boost solar energy projects in 2008, while new solar technologies are making their market debuts. But the credit crunch has caused no small amount of heartaches.
Solar’s Future Luster
Forecasts for the solar industry’s immediate future are cloudy, but analysts are predicting a clearer picture in the longterm.
Solar Meets Polar as Winter Curbs Clean Energy
In regions where homeowners have long rolled their eyes at shoveling driveways, add another cold-weather chore: cleaning off the solar panels. ?At least I can get to them with a long pole and a squeegee,? said Alan Stankevitz, a homeowner in southeast Minnesota.
Palm Bay Considers Solar Power Plant
The Palm Bay, FL city council recently approved a commitment to Southern Alternative Energy, based in Melbourne, to allow the fledgling company to build a solar power demonstration site at the city’s water plant on Osmosis Drive.
Homeowners Tapping Into Massachusetts Solar Panel Fund
In less than a year, the Commonwealth Solar program granted nearly $15 million in rebates out of an initial $17 million block of funding that was supposed to last until next April.
2009 Tax Creak Gives Solar Suppliers a Boost
If you’re considering energy-efficient improvements to your home, 2009 is the year to do it.
Economy Squeezes Out Solar
CEO Blake Jones hastily called a meeting last month to discuss Namaste Solar’s plunging sales of solar panels, its generous culture and uncertain future.
Lower Fuel and Home Prices Stall Green Building
Homebuilders slapped on solar panels and added other eco-friendly enhancements as energy prices soared earlier this year, hoping greener homes would lure reluctant buyers.
Boulder City’s Green Power Push
Boulder City, the community established for the builders of Hoover Dam, is securing its claim as a hot spot for renewable energy, including solar power.
Port Orange Wish List Includes Solar
Port Orange, FL has developed a list of projects, from cleanup of an environmental jewel, to road and sewer projects, to a solar power array.
Green Industry in Need of Trained Workers
One of the most promising fronts in the green economy is solar energy. What will the future solar workforce look like? And do the prospects look promising enough for people to make the leap?
Hoku Solar Arranges Financing for Solar Power Projects
Hoku Solar and and United Fund Advisors (UFA) have established an investment company intended to provide financing for photovoltaic power systems to be installed and operated in the State of Hawaii by the company.
PRC Approves Solar Incentives for NM Business
The state Public Regulation Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to require New Mexico’s largest utility, Public Service Company of New Mexico, to pay businesses 15 cents for each solar-produced kilowatt hour they use. The incentive for homes remains at 13 cents per kilowatt hour.
Mayor: Put Solar Panels on SL County Roofs
Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon wants solar panels on top of more than 50 county buildings.
Solar Panels Can Energize Work Force
While other American cities are asking for bailouts to keep doing things the same way, Toledo changed from making car windows to making solar panels. This not only creates jobs for Toledo but helps all of America to get off the addiction of war for oil.
City Tries to Shed light
A Janesville, WI household wants to use solar panels to collect energy, but the City of Janesville needs to clarify the rules for that sort of construction.
UTILITY INDUSTRY & REGULATORY NEWS
PG&E to Trim Rates Slightly as of Jan. 1
PG&E called off its planned January increase as natural gas prices kept tumbling.
Gainesville to Launch Solar Feed-In Tariff
In March, the Florida city plans to launch incentives that would allow residents and businesses to profit from selling solar power to the city-owned utility. The program would make Gainesville the first city in the country to do so.
Smart Grid Takes Off
Analysts point to demand-side management as a way to take the pressure off the need for new energy generation while providing flexibility in the grid to accommodate new technologies. Former director of the CIA, R. James Woolsey,, points to demand-side management as a national security issue.
Positive Energy Raises $14M from NEA
Positive Energy, a startup that makes software and analytics systems used by utilities to provide better smart meter services, has raised a $14 million round from New Enterprise Associates.
Hawaiian Electric in Smart Meter Deal with Sensus
Sensus said that Hawaiian Electric, which provides electricity for 95 percent of Hawaii?s residents, plans to install Sensus FlexNet smart meters for 430,000 residential and commercial electric customers, subject to approval of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.
FINANCIAL NEWS & MARKETS
Solyndra Raises $219.2M
The money came from 23 investors including CMEA Ventures and Redpoint Ventures. The funds consist of $96.6 million in working capital and $122.2 million for the ?conversion of convertible promissory notes into Series E preferred stock.?
Lending Woes Push Alternative Energy to Back Burner
Analysts say many capital-intensive new projects or expansions of established ones are pretty much on ice until access to money loosens up.
What a Dark Year for Solar Stocks
Of the six solar stocks valued at more than $500 million (a club that grew much smaller during 2008), none outperformed the S&P 500 index, which fell 38 percent last year.
SolarWorld CEO: Solar Module Prices to Slide More Than 10% By 2010
SolarWorld AG?s photovoltaic solar module prices will decline more than 10 percent during the next two years, tightening a squeeze on the German manufacturer’s profit margins.
Piper Jaffray Lowers View on Solar Power Co.’s
Piper Jaffray Friday lowered its view on the solar power sector, saying it had “zero visibility” in most markets and that the first quarter would be a trough for industry shipment.
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
Green Jobs Compete for Stimulus Aid
In one of the first internal struggles of the incoming Obama administration, environmentalists and smart-growth advocates are trying to shift the priorities of the economic stimulus plan that will be introduced in Congress next month away from allocating tens of billions of dollars to highways, bridges and other traditional infrastructure spending to more projects that create “green-collar” jobs.
Sono-Tek Launches New Selective Fluxing System for PV Manufacturing
Sono-Tek Corporation announced that the SelectaFlux SC ultrasonic selective fluxing system designed for fluxing solder bus lines in Silicon solar cell manufacturing has been released.
Carbone Lorraine Acquires Calcarb?s Rigid Graphite Felt
Carbone Lorraine announced the acquisition of Calcarb, the second largest manufacturer of rigid graphite felt for the solar industry. This venture compliments Carbone Lorraine’s position as the leader in graphite solutions for solar, industrial, semiconductor and high temperature furnace components.
Metallised balloons may be the best way to make solar electricity.
Toshiba Enters Photovoltaic Systems Integration Market
Toshiba Corporation has announced plans to enter the solar photovoltaics market as a large scale utility and industrial systems integrator and components supplier.
Big Solar Power Plant Planned for Northwest China
Two Chinese companies on Friday announced plans to build a solar power plant in northwestern China that could one day be the largest photovoltaic solar project in the world.
Japan to Bring Back Solar Power Subsidy for Homes
METI said the government would offer 9 billion yen ($99.6 million) in the first quarter of 2009 and possibly more in the fiscal year starting next April to foster use of solar panel equipment in homes.
China Plans World’s Largest Solar Power Plant
At 1 gigawatt, the solar power plant in northwest China would be the world’s biggest, but the timeline is a bit iffy at the moment. Construction starts next year.
Solar Stadium in Taiwa
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