Archive for August 3rd, 2009

Colleges Look to Cut Down on Paper with Kindle

Six colleges and universities are participating in a pilot program using the Kindle for accessing textbooks.  Princeton University, the University of Virginia, Case Western Reserve University, Reed College, Pace University and Arizona State University are all testing the technology in select courses this fall.

In May, Amazon announced its launch of a new version of the Kindle (the Kindle DX) with a larger screen designed for textbook and periodical reading and a better web browser.  This pilot program is putting the new e-reader directly in the hands of its intended market.

The colleges are hoping the pilot program will lead to another way for them to increase their sustainability by reducing their use of printed paper.  Textbooks and other course materials will be made available online for the classes and students selected to use the Kindles.

This idea is great, but mainly because textbooks and course materials should be available electronically at all schools for all classes, whether they’re accessed by a Kindle, a laptop or on a computer at the library.  It seems like that conversion is long overdue for textbook makers and universities.  The universities participating are ones that have a bit of influence, so let’s hope that if they adopt electronic course materials, others will quickly join them.

via Green Inc.


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Harry Potter’s Emma Watson to Launch Sustainable Clothing Line?
Emma Watson
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Hogwarts to haute couture, our little Hermione is growing up fast. But rumor has it that Emma Watson, who also happens to be the new face of Burberry, isn’t content to merely play clotheshorse—the fashion-forward ingenue might be designing her own line with organic and fair-trade clothier People Tree, according the Daily Mail.

Read the full story on TreeHugger
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Fotowatio’s Renewable Ventures Completes $200 Million Fund to Finance and Develop New Solar Projects in the U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ — Renewable Ventures, a Fotowatio company, today announced the completion of Solar Fund V to finance more than $200 million of new solar energy projects across the United States. The fund’s first project is a two-megawatt solar photovoltaic project located in Ft. Collins, Colorado that will sell energy to Colorado State University and renewable energy credits to one of the state’s utilities, Xcel Energy.

Solar Fund V, the fifth fund organized by Renewable Ventures and the first as Fotowatio’s U.S.-based subsidiary, reinforces the company’s growth strategy in the United States. The fund will focus on the development and acquisition of commercial, public sector, and utility-scale solar projects from one to 10 megawatts in size.

“With this new infusion of capital, we stand ready to work with businesses, utilities and others to immediately finance, develop, or acquire megawatts of large-scale solar projects in the U.S.,” said Renewable Ventures CEO Matt Cheney.

Solar Fund V is structured to include both debt from John Hancock (a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, NYSE: MFC) and equity from Renewable Ventures and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), and will enable the construction and permanent financing of around 35 megawatts in the next year. The combination of debt and equity enables the fund to seek a broader range of federal government incentives, improving project economics for prospective customers such as municipalities, universities, electric utilities and companies.

“Wells Fargo’s and John Hancock’s continued commitment to investing in renewable energy will allow us to replicate the success of our previous relationships,” added Mr. Cheney. “Solar Fund V has been designed to use capital and incentives available under the stimulus program in a way that can accelerate the development of more solar projects and quickly create jobs in the U.S. renewable energy sector.”

“We are pleased to continue building our relationship through setting up this fund with Renewable Ventures,” said Barry Neal, director of Environmental Finance at Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo’s commitment to clean energy and Renewable Ventures’ development and operating experience together will help our nation take advantage of clean, renewable energy.”

“John Hancock is proud to be working once again with Renewable Ventures, extending our partnership by helping to finance, develop, and deliver clean, renewable energy projects making a difference globally and to the communities we serve,” said Jerry Hanrahan, Managing Director, at John Hancock.

The fund’s first project, to be located at Colorado State University, will generate enough solar power to provide more than 10% of the electricity needs on the university’s Foothills Campus. The 15-acre solar power plant is expected to be one of the largest solar installations at a U.S. university when it is completed in 2009.

Fotowatio is one of the world’s largest independent solar producers, and has financed, owns, and operates 130 megawatts of photovoltaic projects in the United States and Europe. The company recently began construction on a five-megawatt solar photovoltaic project in Italy and is developing over 1,000 megawatts of concentrating solar power and solar photovoltaic projects across Spain, Italy and the United States.

Renewable Ventures finances and operates solar projects of all sizes, from one to 50 megawatts and larger. The company’s recent projects in the United States include the photovoltaic system at Denver International Airport, the largest solar PV project in North America at Nellis Air Force Base, and installations at Macy’s, Roche, University of California-San Francisco, California State University-Fresno, Lowe’s, and many others.

Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Yingli Green Energy Appoints Director of Corporate Development and Legal Counsel

BAODING, China, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (NYSE: YGE) (“Yingli Green Energy” or the “Company”), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (“PV”) product manufacturers, today announced the appointment of Ms. Jingyi Judy Tzeng as Director of Corporate Development and the appointment of Mr. Zhuo Arthur Chen as Legal Counsel.

Ms. Tzeng will play an important role in defining and implementing the Company’s business strategies and developing partnerships that will increase the Company’s product reach and create additional revenue opportunities. Prior to joining Yingli Green Energy, Ms. Tzeng served as assistant vice president at Piper Jaffray & Co., a leading international middle market investment firm, for approximately four years. Her investment research work covers a wide range of solar related companies as well as other alternative energy, clean technology, renewable energy companies in China. Ms. Tzeng received her dual bachelor’s degrees in business administration and Japanese from the University of California at Berkeley in the United States.

Mr. Chen will provide counsel to the management team and the Board of Directors of the Company on various legal issues, serve as liaison with outside counsel and be closely involved in further business expansions. Prior to joining Yingli Green Energy, Mr. Chen served as a corporate associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, a leading international law firm. He has represented many renowned corporations and financial institutions in securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, as well as general corporate matters. Mr. Chen is a New York qualified attorney. He received his dual bachelor’s degrees in law and international relations from Peking University in China and an LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School in the United States.

“We are delighted to welcome Judy and Arthur to the Yingli team,” commented Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy. “We have known Judy since the Company went public. She has deep industry knowledge and extensive financial expertise. Most importantly, she has achieved a solid understanding of our business model, strategy and operations during her work as a solar analyst. Arthur brings his proven legal intellect and valuable experience to the process of innovating and perfecting our products and services. We look forward to utilizing his expertise to grow our global business with enhanced precision and speed. We believe Judy and Arthur will make valuable contributions to the Company’s growing strategy.”

Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Innovative Solar Group Purchase Program Comes to Denver Metro Region

DENVER, CO–(Marketwire – August 3, 2009) – Two solar power leaders have joined forces to make solar power more affordable for metro area businesses and residents.

REC Solar (, an industry-leading provider of residential and commercial solar electric systems, and One Block Off the Grid (1BOG,, the largest residential solar community purchasing group in the US, will offer a unique group buying program that allows consumers to pool purchases and receive lower rates for solar installations — making it easier and cheaper to bring solar to Denver area rooftops.

“Our goal is to dramatically increase solar in the Mile High City and beyond,” said 1BOG Co-Founder and General Manager Dave Llorens. “This is a great opportunity to bring together friends, family, and neighbors to save money and reduce energy consumption.”

“Our partnership with 1BOG is a win for consumers and communities across the Denver metro area,” said Cary Hayes, REC Solar Colorado regional manager. “By having multiple solar projects in one neighborhood, we can lower installation costs and simplify the buying process for homeowners, while making a difference for our neighborhoods and our environment.”

The Denver area program includes Denver, Boulder, Aurora, Lafayette, Longmont, Louisville and Littleton, as well as the Highlands Ranch and Stapleton neighborhoods. The deadline to sign up for the program is August 20.

Raising Awareness for Group Solar Buying Program

Representatives from REC Solar and 1BOG have fanned out across the metro area to spread the word about the group-buying program. In addition to e-mail and community organizing campaigns, the firms are posting lawn signs, handing out t-shirts in neighborhoods and hosting house parties to raise awareness.

REC and 1BOG will also host a series of free seminars to further educate consumers on the financial benefits of going solar and the discounted pricing available through this community purchase program. The seminars will take place:

--  Monday, Aug. 3rd, 7:00-8:00pm, at the Highlands Ranch Library, 9292   Ridgeline Blvd., in Highlands Ranch, 80129

--  Tuesday, Aug. 4th, 7:00-8:00pm, at the Lafayette Public Library, 775   W. Baseline Road, Lafayette, 80026

--  Friday, Aug. 7th, 6:00-7:00pm, at the Hiawatha Davis Recreation   Center, 3334 Holly St., Denver, 80207   

1BOG selected REC Solar as its Denver area partner, in part for its established Colorado presence and its industry leadership in the depth, breadth, and quality of its solar design, engineering and installation services. For the past two years REC has installed more solar electric systems in the United States than any other company.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with 1BOG, a firm that shares our unwavering commitment to delivering excellent results for our customers, for each and every installation,” said Hayes. “We are excited about expanding solar energy in Colorado and working with homeowners and businesses that see the triple bottom line benefits of solar.”

“With its national presence and its vision to make solar electricity part of the mainstream energy supply, REC is helping us deliver exceptional value to the Denver area,” said Llorens. “Our combined strengths allow us to deliver the best deal ever.”

Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Ioxus Launches Ultracapacitors With Higher Power Densities for Military, Transportation and Alternative Energy Industries

ONEONTA, NY–(Marketwire – August 3, 2009) – Ioxus, Inc., developers, manufacturers and commercializers of innovative ultracapacitor technologies for a wide range of energy storage markets, today launched its first family of Electric Double Layer Capacitors (EDLCs) and power modules for military, transportation and alternative energy applications. Ioxus’ family of ultracapacitors provides smaller-sized solutions with more capacitance and greater power densities over competitors.

Higher Power Density

Ioxus’ ultracapacitors provide energy storage to improve the efficiency of hybrid electric vehicles by recycling the energy captured during braking and lowering peak power requirements on hybrid-diesel, fuel cell or battery-based vehicles. By stabilizing the power output of these systems with ultracapacitors, fuel-cell and battery-based applications realize significant increases in life cycles. When used in combination with batteries or other energy sources, Ioxus EDLCs reduce power drain from the energy source and extend its available life up to 400 percent.

Made in the U.S.

Ioxus stands alone in providing 100 percent U.S.-made ultracapacitors that extend the charge time and reduce the use of batteries for electronics, hybrid vehicles, wind farms, material handling equipment and other green technologies. As a subsidiary of Custom Electronics, Inc., which has supplied commercial and military clients with high-reliability capacitors and integrated electronic solutions since 1964, Ioxus manufactures price competitive products that have higher capacitance and adhere to rigorous quality standards. The company also is working towards AS9100 and ISO-9001 certification.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) awarded up to $1.5 million to Ioxus in April 2009 to support the company’s manufacturing facilities. As a result of the NYSERDA program, Ioxus raised $5 million in venture capital funding to support manufacturing and development of its solutions.

“Attention to alternative energy sources is increasing rapidly as the world searches for sustainable, renewable solutions,” said Linnea Brush, senior research analyst of Darnell Group. “This launch further validates that the market continues to grow and that there is large demand for promising ultracapacitor and battery technologies from economic and environmental perspectives.”

The following Ioxus ultracapacitors and pseudo-capacitors are available now at, starting at $8 for high quantities of 100 Farad cells:

--  100F, 2.7V ultracapacitors--  350F, 2.7V ultracapacitors--  400F, 2.7V ultracapacitors--  600F, 2.7V ultracapacitors--  2000F, 2.7V ultracapacitors--  220F, 2.3V pseudo-capacitors--  800F, 2.3V pseudo-capacitors--  1000F, 2.3V pseudo-capacitors 

“Renewable energy sources such as ultracapacitors are a sensible solution to augment fossil fuel energy sources,” said Chad Hall, chief operating officer at Ioxus. “The cyclical nature of solar, wind and wave systems require a means to temporarily store energy and deliver power when required. Our high performance products offer these systems a solid solution while delivering the stored energy during down cycles.”

Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Borrego Solar Systems Launches Power Purchase Agreement Program to Help Schools, Companies and Government Organizations Finance Solar Projects

EL CAJON, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Borrego Solar Systems, Inc., a leading designer and installer of grid-tied solar electric power systems, today introduced a new financing option for schools, companies and government organizations interested in adopting clean, renewable solar energy. Borrego’s new power-purchase agreement (PPA) program gives its customers a new, simple way to finance a solar project without having to assume the up-front costs of the project or work with a third-party financier.

With $30 million backing from a PPA fund launched by Walsin Lihwa, a current investor, Borrego is well positioned to develop and finance more than $100 million solar projects over the next 12 months. The PPA program is also the first commercial PPA of its kind designed to finance school and commercial solar projects in Massachusetts. Borrego has already received interest in the program from early customers in Massachusetts, New Jersey and California.

“Borrego Solar has long been a leader in commercial scale solar systems, bringing significant expertise, quality of service and optimum system performance to its customers,” said Yu-Lon Chiao, Chairman of Walsin Lihwa. “As a result of this deal Walsin Lihwa has committed to supporting Borrego Solar in its mission to become the leading provider of commercial scale solar electric solutions in North America. We are excited about the market potential for Borrego’s integrated solar energy services.”

“We continue to see significant demand for grid-tied solar systems, but a common concern for many customers is the lack of financing available to design, install and maintain the system,” said Mike Hall, CEO of Borrego Solar. “And though the PPA is not a new concept, some customers don’t want the hassle of finding a third-party financing option or the restriction of having to deploy the technology chosen by the PPA provider. By choosing a Borrego PPA, customers deal with one company for system financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance. As a result of this program Borrego is now able to offer our customers a “one stop shop” for all solar energy services – all without the technology lock-in of other programs.”

Borrego finished 2008 with $58 million in revenue and more than $90 million in contracts, having completed some of the country’s largest projects for schools, companies and government agencies. By offering a commercial PPA, the company expects to increase the size and scope of projects it designs, builds and manages.

Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Ruby and the Rockits Sitcom Shows Off Equinox Fuel Cell Vehicle

The Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (EFCEV) is going prime time tomorrow night on a new ABC Family TV sitcom called Ruby and the Rockits. The sitcom made its debut July 21, 2009 and is produced by former teen idol Shaun Cassidy. The show ironically is about another former teen idol and his niece, Ruby.

General Motors has provided a sneak peek of the episode that airs at 8:30 / 7:30 Central. What is striking is that the Equinox is both unusual and usual at the same time. It is presented to the family as a hydrogen car and there are only 100 of them in the world.

And, of course the teenagers want to drive it for the weekend (who wouldn’t?). In a way this reminds me of General Motors’ product placement advertising in the movie Transformers where practically all vehicles were made by GM.

But, on the other hand, instead of placing the Equinox in a science fiction setting, GM has chosen to show off the hydrogen SUV in a mainstream family TV show. This normalizes the car (as it should be) showing the public this vehicle is like every other car except that it runs on hydrogen.

Visit the original post at: Fuel Cell News

The Pope Gets Solar Panels on His House

pope house

Pope Benedict XVI’s Bavarian house in Pentling next to Regensburg, will be getting almost 600 square feet of
photovoltaic solar panels.

They were intended to be installed on the roof July 27-31, by local students of a trade school. The panels were donated to the Pope by local workmen.

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Bosch expands into solar modules with aleo solar
· Bosch signs agreements to purchase 39.43 percent of aleo solar AG
· Takeover offer made to all outstanding shareholders of aleo solar AG to purchase shares for 9.00 euros per share in cash
· aleo solar AG manufactures and sells solar modules

Stuttgart – Bosch and the Eriksen Group, including related parties and other investors, have signed agreements relating to the purchase of 39.43 percent of the shares in aleo solar AG, in Prenzlau and Oldenburg, Germany. The purchase price for this stock amounts to 46 million euros, equivalent to a price of 9.00 euros per aleo share. In addition, Bosch plans to make all outstanding aleo shareholders a voluntary public takeover offer, in which Bosch will also make all aleo shareholders a cash offer of 9.00 euros per share. The offer is thus 43 percent above the weighted average Xetra® price of the aleo share over the past three months. The entire transaction is conditional on Bosch holding at least 75 percent of aleo shares following the conclusion of the public offer. It is also subject to approval by the antitrust authorities.

aleo is an established brand name in the solar module market. It manufactures these modules on the basis of in-sourced mono- and polycrystalline solar cells. The modules are sold via a wide network of specialized dealers and installers to end-customers in Germany and other important European markets. In 2008, the company generated sales of roughly 360 million euros, and employed some 800 associates. This acquisition will give Bosch broad access to the market. In 2008, the technology and services company already acquired a solar cell manufacturer when it took over ersol Solar Energy AG in Erfurt, Germany. The administrative offices of aleo are located at its sales center in Oldenburg, Germany. Its manufacturing facilities are located in Prenzlau, Germany, and near Barcelona, Spain.

In addition, Bosch intends to acquire from the Eriksen Group and related investors more than 60 percent of the shares in Johanna Solar Technology GmbH, Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany, in which aleo also holds a roughly 17 percent stake. Johanna started developing solar modules based on thin-film CIGS cells in 2006, going into production at the end of 2008. These thin-film modules are marketed by aleo. Johanna employs 125 associates.

“With this acquisition, we are boosting our position in photovoltaics and renewable energies. Together with the management and associates of aleo and Johanna, and in combination with the team at our subsidiary ersol, we see good opportunities to expand significantly in this promising field,” said Dr. Siegfried Dais, deputy chairman of the Bosch board of management with responsibility for the Solar Energy division.

Apart from photovoltaics, the Bosch Group offers many other systems for exploiting renewable energies. Bosch Rexroth supplies gear and drive technology for wind turbines, as well as hydraulic actuators for solar thermal power stations, and develops drive concepts for the still young area of marine power generation. Bosch Thermotechnology is one of the leading suppliers of electric heat pumps and of solar collectors for hot-water generation.

For further information on the planned public takeover, see

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Bloggers Go to Billings

Bloggers Go to Billings
I should have Part 2 of the series of answering readers’ questions posted by tomorrow, but until then I was just sent the following link, which was of great personal interest to me:

A Green Refinery?

The gist is that last year the American Petroleum Institute flew a group of bloggers up to the ConocoPhillips refinery in Billings, Montana where I used to work to give them a perspective of life in a refinery. A video diary of the trip was recently posted to the link above. An excerpt from the link:

The refinery has twice been awarded EnergyStar designation by the EPA for its comparatively efficient production processes. It also established a Citizen’s Advisory Council to maintain an open dialogue between the community and ConocoPhillips. This council has been instrumental in tracking the plant’s social, economic, and environmental performance.

It was kind of funny to see my old managers there lecturing on how a refinery works, and what makes the Billings Refinery unique. (Yes, Tim Seidel looks unusually young to be a manager in a refinery, but he is very talented).

Here were some of the essays that bloggers wrote following the trip:

How Much at What Pressure and Temperature?

Semi-coherent and random thoughts about the Billings trip

Refined Refinery? ConocoPhillips in Billings, MT

I do have one comment on some of the write-ups I have seen. There seems to be some misinformation that the refinery was either built for, or relies upon the Alberta tar sands for feedstock. First, that certainly wasn’t why the refinery was built, as it was there long before tar sands became an industry. Second, unless things have changed in the 2.5 years since I left, the refinery actually utilizes little or no syncrude from tar sands. It is a refinery designed for heavy, sour oil, and as such is not ideal for the syncrude coming out of the tar sands.

Anyway, just thought this might be of some interest. More answers to readers’ questions tomorrow.

Visit the original post at: Energy News

U.S. Air Force Cracks Top 20 List for Green Power

U.S. Air Force are major consumers of green energy, mainly from wind.Joining the ranks of such green notables as San Francisco and Portland Oregon, the U.S. Air Force has made the top 20 List of On-Site Green Power Purchasers.  The quarterly list is a subset of the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership program.  It includes organizations, businesses or government entities that purchase sustainable power from sources based in the U.S.A., either directly or through the use of Renewable Energy Certificates.

Read more of this story »

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U.S. Air Force Cracks Top 20 List for Green Power

U.S. Air Force are major consumers of green energy, mainly from wind.Joining the ranks of such green notables as San Francisco and Portland Oregon, the U.S. Air Force has made the top 20 List of On-Site Green Power Purchasers.  The quarterly list is a subset of the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership program.  It includes organizations, businesses or government entities that purchase sustainable power from sources based in the U.S.A., either directly or through the use of Renewable Energy Certificates.

Read more of this story »

Visit the original post at: Energy News

General Fusion Claims Cheap Nuclear Fusion Reactor: Competes With ITER

General Fusion, a small startup company from Canada, claims they can build a new type of a fusion power plant in the next ten years, and build it a lot cheaper than ITER – for less than a billion dollars. They have already gathered $13.5 million from various private and public investors, who understood their technology would work and want some share of the eventual profit.

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