Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Towns near NM Fire, Nuclear Lab Wary of Wildfire and Smoke

Tsunami (Japan), river flood (Nebraska) and wildfire (New Mexico). Nukes and natural disaster seem to go hand in hand these days.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

FW: A $286 Billion Play on Japan's Nuclear Fallout: FIT in Japan




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A $286 Billion Play on Japan's Nuclear Fallout

By Jeff Siegel | Monday, June 27th, 2011

It was in 2006, while on a train from Frankfurt to Hanover, that I got my first look at something spectacular.

Although the train was traveling at around 150 mph, it wasn't hard to catch a glimpse of the rows upon rows of rooftop-mounted solar panels that were sucking in the sun's rays and spitting out electrons...

Certainly solar panels were not new to me. But to see this many — in an environment that boasted a solar resource about as strong as what you might find in Portland or Seattle — well, that was definitely not something I expected.

Of course, in 2006, Germany was well into its sixth year of its solar feed-in tariff, a mechanism designed to rapidly integrate solar into the country's energy mix. And boy, did it work...


From 2000 to 2010, Germany's installed solar photovoltaic capacity experienced a staggering CAGR of 66 percent.

solarchartThe robust demand for solar was so significant, many believe Germany's aggressive solar agenda is responsible for the global solar bull market we experienced from 2004 to 2008.

There's no doubt nearly every solar manufacturer today exists in its current form as a result of Germany's aggressive solar initiatives.

Of course these days, Germany is in the process of strategically cutting its feed-in tariff. After all, this thing was never intended to run forever. And as a result, solar growth in Germany will slow a bit — although the most recent data indicates it won't be nearly as bad as some would have you believe.

In any event, there's no argument that Germany's solar feed-in tariff allowed for incredible growth... and course dozens of opportunities for investors.

Now, if you weren't playing solar back when the profits were pouring in, don't worry; you may have another chance.

And this time around, the windfall could be even greater.

A $286 Billion Dollar Solar Pay Day

The anti-nuclear movement got a real boost following the Fukushima crisis. There's no doubt about that. And as a result, renewable energy was once again paraded around as one of the many forms of clean energy that could be used to displace any nuclear power that would be phased out in Japan...

Especially solar.

A few months ago, Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced a plan that would put solar panels on about 10 million roofs by 2030. Of course, he gave little details on how such a plan would be funded. But since the announcement, a number of high-level government officials have called for a solar feed-in tariff similar to that of Germany's.

University of Tokyo professor Ryoichi Komiyama recently offered his analysis of the effects of such a tariff, and noted that in a scenario where the country would seek 30 gigawatts of solar, a $261 billion market for solar panel production and installation would be created.

In the case of utility-scale solar, Komiyama added that developers would potentially have to spend an additional $25 billion for about 8 gigawatts of batteries.

As you know, we've long been bullish on utility-scale batteries, particularly in the case of solar. I would even argue that if Japan were to go full force on a solar feed-in tariff, it would be the utility-scale battery players providing the biggest pay day for investors.

You see, of the top five solar panel producers in Japan, only one is a pure play. And that's Suntech Power (NYSE: STP), which is actually the world's largest solar panel producer. If Japan were to implement this feed-in tariff, Suntech would get a huge boost.

Also benefiting from the tariff will be Sharp (PINK SHEETS: SHCAY), Kyocera (NYSE: KYO), Panasonic Corp (NYSE: PC), and Mitsubishi Electric Corp (PINK SHEETS: MIELY).

A Solar Market on Steroids

If Japan were to implement this feed-in tariff, we'll also see an even quicker drop in production costs. As my colleague Nick Hodge pointed out last week, for every doubling of solar manufacturing capacity, production costs fall about 20 percent.

With a Japanese feed-in tariff implemented, you can be sure that solar manufacturing would kick into overdrive with a serious shot of steroids. And consider Japan's energy demands as the world's third largest economy. They're talking about 30 gigawatts of installed solar, or 75 percent of what the entire world installed from 2000 to 2010.

This is a very big deal.

To take it one step further, Japan's environment ministry indicated the potential for commercial solar projects could theoretically reach 150 gigawatts. That's about ten times the capacity of Germany, currently the world's largest solar market.

Of course, it all comes down to how aggressive the Japanese want to be. While there have been dozens of polls showing Japanese consumers want to transition to cleaner forms of power generation, the question is, Will they be willing to pay for it?

I can't imagine Japan's total installed solar reaching 150 gigawatts anytime within the next 20 to 30 years. I just don't think there would be enough political support for it. And I'm pretty sure no matter how much the Japanese despise nuclear right now, they're probably not going to be too willing to pony up any significant increases in their utility bills in order to pay for the integration of 150 gigawatts of solar...

That being said, a temporary feed-in tariff used to get 30 gigawatts installed over the course of 20 years is not out of the question.

And if there's any indication that this tariff will actually get approved, you would be wise to load up on a few solar and utility-scale battery stocks.

We saw what Germany's aggressive feed-in tariff did for solar investors. It essentially launched a solar bull market.

The impact of a similar feed-in tariff in Japan would do the same — but on a much bigger level.

To a new way of life, and a new generation of wealth...

Jeff Siegel Signature 

Jeff Siegel
Editor, Energy and Capital


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2011-06-23 - Brianna Panzica

Economic Releases for the week of Monday, June 27th, 2011:

Jun 27 - Personal Income and Spending
Jun 28 - Case-Shiller 20-city Index
Jun 29 - Pending Home Sales
Jun 30 - Chicago PMI
Jul 01 - Construction Spending
Jul 02 - Auto and Truck Sales
Jun 28 - Consumer Confidence
Jul 01 - Nonfarm Private Payrolls
Jul 01 - Michigan Sentiment
Jul 01 - ISM Index
Jun 29 - MBA Mortgage Index

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ArcStar Energy Mail - Renewable Energy Law Alert: EPA Releases Draft 2012 Renewable Fuel Standards -

Solar Subsidies are Saturated | EnergyBiz

Flood berm fails at Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska

FW: Solar PV cost per watt below $1 by Q1 2012

Panels are in a kamikaze dive thanks to our Chinese colleagues (and others)
providing huge oversupply. See recent hard data below.


Solar PV cost per watt below $1 by Q1 2012

Henning Wicht, PhD, IHS iSuppli

June 17, 2011 -- Crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar photovoltaic (PV) modules
will costs less than $1 per watt by Q1 2012, projects IHS iSuppli research.
$1/W is the most broadly pursued goal of solar photovoltaics promoters. IHS
iSuppli believes the benchmark could give a boost to PV installations
globally and forestall a market downswing.

An accelerated, rapid decline in pricing came about after Intersolar Europe
this month in Germany. Going into Intersolar, spot prices from the top
Chinese brands, among the major players in the market, had been running at
$1.49 per watt for mainstream c-Si modules. By the time Intersolar closed,
prices had fallen to $1.30 per watt. IHS iSuppli states that this could have
happened because of the predicted flat or negative growth forecast for 2012.
Top-tier module brands lowered prices to gain market share in the face of
slowed growth or a market decline, explained Henning Wicht, senior director
and principal analyst, photovoltaics, at IHS. Solar wafers have experienced
price declines in 2011 as well: wafers were quoted in the $2.30 per-piece
range in June, down from $3.50 in March.

Figure. IHS iSuppli outlook for the cost of silicon + non-silicon content,
gross margins and prices from top-tier module players, covering the second
quarter for each year from 2011 to 2014.

While gross margins are projected to range between 10 and 12% this quarter,
intense competition will slash margins to 5-9% by Q2 2012, IHS iSuppli
research indicates. This margin pressure calls into question the vertically
integrated business model popular in the PV industry. Can a vertical
operation invest in wafers, cells and modules on the one hand, finance
downstream projects on the other, and also continue to run world-class
operations at each level?
Certain installations could drop to $2/W, said Mike Sheppard, analyst for
photovoltaics and financial services at IHS, which he predicts would be "an
important driver for stimulating demand," preventing a solar installations
dip in 2012.

Though many vertical operations will continue to thrive, the space likely
will find increased competition from another breed of player—the so-called
specialists that will be able to aggressively invest in just one area, and
more important, hold their own against their vertically integrated rivals.

Learn more on IHS iSuppli Photovoltaics Research here.
Subscribe to Photovoltaics World
Follow Photovoltaics World on via editors Pete Singer, and Debra Vogler,
Or join our Facebook group

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FW: U of T Researchers Crack Full-Spectrum Solar Challenge | Product Design and Development

University of Toronto puts local brains to work on great idea.

U of T Researchers Crack Full-Spectrum Solar Challenge
By University of TorontoMonday, June 27, 2011
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In a paper published in Nature Photonics, U of T Engineering researchers
report a new solar cell that may pave the way to inexpensive coatings that
efficiently convert the sun's rays to electricity.

The U of T researchers, led by Professor Ted Sargent, report the first
efficient tandem solar cell based on colloidal quantum dots (CQD). "The U of
T device is a stack of two light-absorbing layers – one tuned to capture the
sun's visible rays, the other engineered to harvest the half of the sun's
power that lies in the infrared," said lead author Dr. Xihua Wang.

"We needed a breakthrough in architecting the interface between the visible
and infrared junction," said Sargent, a Professor of Electrical and Computer
Engineering at the University of Toronto, who is also the Canada Research
Chair in Nanotechnology. "The team engineered a cascade – really a waterfall
– of nanometers-thick materials to shuttle electrons between the visible and
infrared layers."

According to doctoral student Ghada Koleilat, "We needed a new strategy –
which we call the Graded Recombination Layer – so that our visible and
infrared light-harvesters could be linked together efficiently, without any
compromise to either layer."
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Friday, June 24, 2011

FW: New Cleantech Syndicate to Invest in Clean and Renewable Energy Space; Eleven Families Form a $1.4 Billion "Virtual Private Equity Fund" - ElectroIQ

High-net-worth money bands together.

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy

New Cleantech Syndicate to Invest in Clean and Renewable Energy Space;
Eleven Families Form a $1.4 Billion "Virtual Private Equity Fund"

McNally Capital, LLC and Black Coral Capital announced today the formation
of the Cleantech Syndicate, a consortium of 11 prominent families from
across the United States representing a collective net worth in excess of
$30 billion. The Cleantech Syndicate was formed to enable its members to
share capital, deal flow, knowledge and networks as they continue to invest
in and support Cleantech companies. The members, and their collective
investment team of 17 dedicated professionals, plan to invest $1.4 billion
of their private capital in Cleantech companies over the next five years.
This is the largest pool of dedicated capital to the Cleantech space.
Prior to the Syndicate's formation, over the past five years its members and
their affiliates have collectively invested over $1.2 billion directly into
privately held Cleantech businesses and have been important investors in
some of the most notable Cleantech success stories. The backgrounds of the
members include: developers of utility-scale wind and solar generation
facilities, founders of solar technology companies, and owners/operators of
large real estate properties and fleets of industrial vehicles looking to
enhance efficiency. They have extensive operating and investment experience
across all subsectors and stages of Cleantech investing, from seed-stage
venture capital to project finance.
"The Cleantech Syndicate is the first vehicle of its kind to fully tap into
the collective expertise of multiple families," said Ward McNally, managing
partner of McNally Capital. "By working together and sharing capital and
investment opportunities, the Syndicate's members can achieve exceptional
scale and act cooperatively to accomplish their long-term investment
objectives. Family offices with deep and complementary expertise in an
industry have a unique investment advantage, especially given their
indeterminate hold period."
Christian Zabbal, managing director of Black Coral, added: "Families have
been investing in the Cleantech space for many years. The Cleantech
Syndicate is a natural evolution for us - a way to pool our experience and
networks with those of other like-minded family offices and create
partnerships that will support better, stronger Cleantech and green energy
The Syndicate members are active, long-term capital partners for management
teams seeking operational value-add from highly knowledgeable investors. The
Cleantech Syndicate is establishing a network of partners to support their
efforts, including corporations, sovereign wealth funds, endowments and
other parties interested in collaborating with the Cleantech Syndicate for
knowledge, access and capital. Later this year, the Cleantech Syndicate
plans to launch a European Cleantech Syndicate, as well as a U.S.
co-investment vehicle that will allow selected non-Syndicate members to
invest alongside the members.
About McNally Capital
McNally Capital works directly with family offices to help them make and
manage their investments in private companies and private equity funds. The
Firm also invests alongside its clients through direct co-investment and
through its proprietary fund vehicles. At the core of everything the firm
does is an extensive network of more than 350 family offices, which
generates unparalleled access to capital and expertise. For more information
please visit: .
About Black Coral Capital
Black Coral Capital is a family office which invests in funds, companies,
and projects in the Cleantech and renewable energy space. Black Coral
Capital backs superior management teams across a number of areas such as
energy efficiency and the solar supply chain, and invests at all stages of
growth from early stage to growth capital. For more information please
visit: .
About The Cleantech Syndicate
The Cleantech Syndicate was co-founded by McNally Capital, LLC and Black
Coral Capital to bring large, sophisticated Cleantech investors together to
share capital, deal flow, knowledge and networks to promote and increase
their support of clean energy companies. To date, the 11 members of the
Cleantech Syndicate have collectively invested over $1.2 billion and are
seeking to invest an additional $1.4 billion directly into other clean and
renewable energy companies. The members have extensive operating and
investment experience across all subsectors and stages of Cleantech and are
interested in investing directly into companies where they can bring value
to management teams. For more information please visit:
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shifting PV markets in the US, Europe, and Asia/India - ElectroIQ

FW: Survey: Americans overestimate US solar leadership, use - ElectroIQ

Interesting data below:

Survey: Americans overestimate US solar leadership, use

June 22, 2011 - As solar PV marches toward grid parity -- $1.25/Watt for
solar PV panels, vs. $4/W in 2008, with 19 countries (plus California)
poised to reach grid parity by year's end -- a survey of US residents finds
a majority overestimate how much solar energy contributes domestically, and
where the US sits in terms of solar "leadership."

Among the findings of Applied Materials' annual Summer Solstice survey (also
compiled in infographic form):
One-fifth (21%) of Americans believe the US is "the solar energy leader."
(Fact: Germany, Spain, Japan, and Italy all use more solar power, and China
is by far the leader in solar manufacturing.)

51% of Americans think solar energy makes up >5% of total US energy
consumption; one-third thinks it's somewhere between 0%-5%. (Fact: it's less
than 1%.)

32% think solar energy is the "most efficient renewable energy source" vs.
wind and hydro, defined as easiest to convert raw material into usable

One in four Americans (27%) would consider installing solar panels on their
home; 48% aren't currently considering it, but 80% would if they were
assured about cost savings both for installation and as a long-term
investment. (72% would expect energy-savings ROI in 10 years or less.) In
order of preference: government incentives to offset installation costs
(65%), increased home value (54%), having more information (49%), and
ability to resell excess power back to the utility (47%).

Solar interest skews to a younger generation; almost a third (32%) of
respondents age 18-44 would consider installing solar, vs. 27% for age
45-64, and 15% aged 65+.
The results are from a June 9-12 telephone survey conducted by Opinion
Research of ~1000 adults living in private households in the continental US;
margin of error is ±3%.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

FW: Solar photovoltaic projects to use Satcon technology - POWER-GEN WorldWide

Project aggregation and bulk buy is where the market has evolved in CA. SPP
is doing the same thing with our DG project. Funny that we have been
positioned this way from the start in Ontario, don't you think?

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy

-----Original Message-----
From: Rebecca Van Nichols []
Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 5:34 PM
To: Monty Bannerman
Subject: Solar photovoltaic projects to use Satcon technology - POWER-GEN

Solar photovoltaic projects to use Satcon technology

Published: Jun 7, 2011
Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG) picked Satcon Technology Corp. (NASDAQ CM:
SATC) for 65 MW of photovoltaic power projects across the United States.

The installations will use a variety of panel technologies, such as thin
film and polycrystalline, and array types like ground mount and rooftop and
will use Satcon inverters.

The largest of these solar power projects is for an aggregate 25 MW of
ground mounted PV power plants located near Sacramento, Calif. These
developments feature twenty-five Satcon PowerGate Plus 1 MW inverters.
Constellation Energy will own and operate the systems and sell the
electricity generated from them to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District
(SMUD) under ten, 20-year power purchase agreements. Belectric, Inc. is the
engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project which
is anticipated to be commercially operational by the end of 2011.

Satcon has also been selected for a 5 MW rooftop system that will use 13
Satcon PowerGate Plus 500 kW inverters.

The remaining projects will use Satcon PowerGate Plus 500 kW or Equinox 500
kW inverters.

Read more solar energy news

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U.S. Supreme Court Reverses AEP v. Connecticut: EPA, Not Judges and Juries, Will Decide Climate Change Policy





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U.S. Supreme Court Reverses AEP v. Connecticut: EPA, Not Judges and Juries, Will Decide Climate Change Policy

June 21, 2011

Yesterday, the Supreme Court spoke for the second time on climate change. Observing that the Supreme Court "endorses no particular view of the complicated issues related to carbon-dioxide emissions and climate change," a unanimous Court, in a decision written by Justice Ruth Ginsburg, held that Congress, through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - and not a group of states and cities using federal common law - should decide national policy on climate change. The case is a welcome relief for the utility industry but not the last word on whether greenhouse gas emitters can be sued in tort.


Unlike the complex facts related to global warming, the facts in this case are relatively straightforward. In July 2004, two groups of plaintiffs filed separate complaints against four major electric power companies and the TVA. The first group included eight states and New York City, and the second joined three nonprofit land trusts. According to the complaints, the defendants were the five largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the United States. By contributing to global warming, the plaintiffs asserted, the defendants' emissions created a "substantial and unreasonable interference with public rights" in violation of the federal common law of interstate nuisance, or, in the alternative, state tort law. The states alleged the public lands, infrastructure, and health were at risk from climate change. The trusts urged that climate change would destroy habitats for animals and rare species of trees and plants. All of the plaintiffs sought injunctive relief requiring each defendant to "cap its carbon dioxide emissions and then reduce them by a specified percentage each year or at least a decade."  The lawsuits, in other words, attempted to cap carbon emissions from electric utilities.

The District Court dismissed both suits as presenting non-justiciable political questions, but the Second Circuit reversed. On the fundamental issues, the Second Circuit held not only that the suits were not barred by the political question doctrine, but the plaintiffs had adequately alleged Article III standing.  Specifically, the Second Circuit held the Clean Air Act did not "displace" the federal common law of public nuisance. At the time of the Second Circuit's decision, EPA had not yet promulgated any rule regulating greenhouse gases, a fact the court thought dispositive.

The Supreme Court's Decision

The Court decided the case based on the doctrine of legislative displacement. According to the Court, when Congress enacted the Clean Air Act, Congress spoke on who should regulate carbon dioxide and climate change. And in its Massachusetts v. EPA decision in 2007, the Supreme Court made it clear that EPA was required to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under certain provisions of the Clean Air Act. In direct response to that decision, the Court noted, in December 2009 EPA released its draft endangerment finding proposal, has committed to issuing a proposed greenhouse gas New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for electric utilities by July 2011, and expects to promulgate a final rule by May 2012.

The Court found it particularly important that Section 111(d) authorizes EPA to establish greenhouse gas NSPS for existing sources. On the other hand, EPA found that federal common law tort actions were displaced even if EPA decided against issuing GHG NSPS at all. According to the court, "[t]he critical point is that Congress delegated to EPA the decision whether and how to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants; the delegation is what displaces federal common law. Indeed, were EPA to decline to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions altogether at the conclusion of its ongoing §7411 rulemaking, the federal courts would have no warrant to employ the federal common law of nuisance to upset the agency's expert determination."

The Court also noted that the Clean Air Act provides multiple avenues for enforcement. EPA may commence civil and criminal enforcement actions, and the Act provides for private enforcement through citizen suits. If EPA does not set emissions limits for a particular pollutant or source of pollution, the Court held, states and private parties may petition for a rulemaking on the matter, and EPA's response will be reviewable in federal court. Accordingly, the Act itself provides a means to seek limits on emissions of carbon dioxide from domestic power plants - the same relief the plaintiffs seek by invoking federal common law. In its opinion, the Supreme Court saw no room for a parallel enforcement track.

In addition, for the Court, it made more sense for EPA to tackle the problem of climate change first.  Indeed, the Court held, this prescribed order of decision making - the first decider under the Act is the expert administrative agency, the second, federal judges - is a key reason to resist setting emission standards by judicial decree under federal tort law. The Clean Air Act entrusts the complex balancing of issues to EPA in the first instance, in combination with state regulators. 

In addressing concern for trial courts, the Court found that it is "fitting that Congress designated an expert agency, here, EPA, as best suited to serve as primary regulator of greenhouse gas emissions."  For the Court, EPA is "surely better equipped to do the job than individual district judges issuing ad hoc, case-by-case injunction." Judges may not commission scientific studies or convene groups of experts for advice, or issue rules under notice-and-comment procedures inviting input by any interested person, or seek the counsel of regulators in the states where defendants are located.

What The Decision Did Not Decide

Several key issues on climate change tort lawsuits remain open.

First, at the end of its decision, the Court noted that its decision did not address whether state tort actions were pre-empted. The plaintiffs had brought state law tort claims, but the appellate court did not reach those issues and so neither did the Supreme Court. There were also state law claims brought in the ongoing Kivalina lawsuit now in the 9th Circuit and in the Comer lawsuit dismissed and now refilled in Mississippi. Noting that none of the parties briefed preemption or otherwise addressed the availability of a claim under state nuisance law, the Court left that matter open for consideration on remand. The unanswered question is whether displacement equates to pre-emption under the Clean Air Act when the topic is climate change.

Second, the Court did not reach the issue of whether, regardless of displacement, there is a cause of action under federal tort law for greenhouse gas emissions. This could be an important issue given efforts in Congress to repeal EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases. Depending on the nature of such legislation, repealing EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions could mean that the displacement doctrine would not prevent federal common law tort claims. But the Court left open the issue of whether such claims might be dismissed anyway for failing to state a cause of action.

Finally, the Court split 4-4 on standing and so declined to disturb the appellate court decision finding that the case should not be dismissed on that basis. But as in Massachusetts v. EPA, which also refused to find that the case should be dismissed for lack of standing, the plaintiffs in AEP v. Connecticut were states rather than individuals or organizations. Given that the standing issue in Massachusetts v. EPA was decided in part because of the "special solicitude" that Courts accord states in having access to the federal courts in cases involving impacts originating from other states, it is possible that standing may still prevent non-state parties from pursuing climate change nuisance causes of action.


As decided, this case is less about the importance of global warming and more about which branch should decide energy and environmental policy appropriate to address climate change. The decision is not pro-business or anti-environment; the decision says nothing about what measures should be taken to address climate change, if any. Rather, the take-away is that Congress - for good or bad - should decide how the United States will respond to climate change in the United States, not Courts and not states or cities. Still, given the fact that the Court did not resolve the state law issues, it can be expected that climate change nuisance actions will continue, including on remand of AEP v. Connecticut, until that issue is resolved.




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Chinese manufacturers dominate the 2010 PV market

Chinese manufacturers dominate the 2010 PV market

In 2010, Asia produced 69% of the world's modules, up from 57% in 2009. European manufacturers held on to 18% of the global module supply, while US-headquartered companies supplied just 13% as the market grew bigger than established companies could address. Source:Bloomberg New Energy Finance


Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Siemens Acquires Stake in Semprius | Solarbuzz

Monday, June 20, 2011

Power outage closes FERC offices - MarketWatch

Supreme Court Blocks Climate Change Lawsuit

The supreme court blocks states from cutting power plant emissions just as the Republican congress moves to gut funding of the EPA, which the court says has sole jurisdiction in the matter. Looks like business as usual in DC.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Large-scale Solar: How Big Is Too Big? | Renewable Energy News Article

The Rise of Concentrating Solar Thermal Power | Renewable Energy News Article

China Communist Party doubles up on solar

The Chinese Communist Party this week announce as part of the 12th 5 year-plan they will double their current objectives for installations of domestic grid-interconnected solar to 10 Gigawatts by 2015 and 50 Gigawatts by 2020.


1 Gigawatt = 1,000 Megawatts.


Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Friday, June 17, 2011

The Washington Cornhuskers -

Humorous article about the pending elimination of $8B in tax breaks to oil refiners for blending ethanol (which we subsidize farmers to grow). Looks like it has bipartisan support. Looks like the tea party doesn’t count elimination of tax credits as a tax increase.

Investing in America. Public Lands are the New Energy Frontier | The White House

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Samsung officials voice support for Ontario's green energy plan

This is a mere squeak compared to the uproar the Conservatives will face if they are intent on being tea-party clones.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Florida Tea Party & renewable energy - An odd couple with a lot in common - Miami Alternative Energy |

Financier complaining that PPAs are still considered in violation of FPL’s monopoly charter (by FPL and their stooge regulators).

FW: 2011: The rise and importance of solar inverters - Photovoltaics World

Note percent of outage losses due to inverter failure.

2011: The rise of solar inverters

June 3, 2011 - One of the last steps in solar power delivery is flexing its

Solar PV developers, owners, and financial backers are increasingly looking
to improve their projects' economics with both reliability and power
delivery, especially in the current climate of tightening incentive programs
(take a bow, Italy). It's a story about both technology and "bankability."
And PV inverter technology has a play in both fields, explains GTM Research
analyst MJ Shiao in a new report.

"Advances in PV inverter technology promise to improve the commercial
viability of solar power," Shiao writes. In an increasing world of regional
solar incentive cutbacks (FiTs) and competitive PPAs, long-term project
generation and reliability are becoming crucial for project bankability, and
inverter technology will continue to attract greater attention.

Solar inverters can be a key for solar project cost savings -- inverter
losses account for more than half (59%) of total PV project failure costs,
GTM notes. Meanwhile, inverters can offer improved power quality and
operability -- grid-support features (fault ride-through, reactive voltage
support) for larger systems make PV more grid-friendly, while microinverters
and distributed power optimizers for smaller-scale systems can reduce
installation costs and boost performance. (Distributed optimization and
microinveter companies more than tripled their shipments in 2010, in a year
seeing 21GW of overall global inverter shipments.)

The brightening spotlight on inverters also means challenges and
opportunities for the suppliers themselves, from regional suppliers looking
to expand to large electrical conglomerates seeing solar as a growth engine
-- and their efforts to differentiate will drive new technology development,
Shiao notes. Europe's dominance in the inverter sector will continue to be
challenged by regional players in emerging markets such as North America and
China. SMA, Power-One, Kaco New Energy, and Fronius make up >61% of global
PV inverter shipments, but "a new guard of US- and Asia-based manufacturers"
will expand -- and EU-based incumbents must diversify and establish new
market inroads to avoid stagnation.

Global PV inverter manufacturer taxonomy. (Source: GTM Research)

(Note that while GTM Research projects $6.9B in inverter sales in 2011, the
sector is somewhat stuck for the moment -- PV inverter shipments actually
declined 39% in 1Q11 vs. 4Q10, a second straight quarter of decline in the
wake of late-2010 inventory builds, exacerbating what is traditionally a
weak year-opening period, notes IMS Research. The company predicts slow
growth in 2Q11 as well, with several GW of inventory plugging the supply
chain as European demand remains weak.)

Photovoltaics World Article Categories:

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

FW: SunPower Sets New World Record for Efficiency; 20 Percent Efficient E20 Series Solar Panels Available this Year

SunPower Sets New World Record for Efficiency; 20 Percent Efficient E20
Series Solar Panels Available this Year

PR Newswire
June 8, 2011
SAN JOSE, Calif., June 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ:
SPWRA, SPWRB) today launched the SunPower(TM) E20 series of solar panels,
the industry's first commercially-available solar panels to achieve total
area efficiencies of 20 percent or more.

The new 96-cell E20 solar panels are available in 333-watt and 327-watt
models for rooftop installations and feature SunPower's 22.4 percent
efficient patented Maxeon(TM) cell technology. The all-back contact Maxeon
solar cell captures significantly more sunlight and conducts more electrical
current than conventional solar cells, and holds the world record for
efficiency among commercially available, mass-produced solar cells.

Customers will also benefit from two new features offered by the E20 series:
positive power tolerance rating and comprehensive inverter compatibility.

The positive power tolerance rating ensures that the power generated by each
panel meets that panel's rating, or up to five percent more - but not less,
as is common in the industry.With comprehensive inverter compatibility,
SunPower customers now have the flexibility to use the highest performing
transformer-less inverters to maximize system output. Transformer-less
inverters are light-weight, easy to install and cost-effective.

"With the E20 series solar panels, SunPower has once again broken a world
record for efficiency," said SunPower CEO Tom Werner. "SunPower consistently
delivers the most efficient and reliable solar technology on the market,
guaranteed to deliver the greatest return on investment to our customers."

The prototype for the E20 was successfully developed using funds provided by
the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under its Solar America Initiative,
which was awarded to SunPower approximately four years ago. The E20
efficiency rating was confirmed by the DOE's National Renewable Energy Lab.

SunPower's E20 series solar panels will be offered in Europe and Australia
this year, with availability extended in North America and Asia in early

About SunPower

SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWRA, SPWRB) designs, manufactures and delivers the
highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available
today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on the
company's quarter century of experience and guaranteed performance to
provide maximum return on investment throughout the life of the solar
system. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North
America, Europe, Australia and Asia. For more information, visit

SunPower is a registered trademark of SunPower Corp. All other trademarks
are the property of their respective owners.

SOURCE SunPower Corp.

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire Association LLCAll Rights Reserved
PR Newswire
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Friday, June 10, 2011

Cote-de-Beaupre Wind Power Project: Agreement Signed with Hydro-Quebec Distribution | EnergyBiz

Georgia Regulator: Raise level of power from sun | EnergyBiz

Greengate Power Enters into Agreements with Vestas for Canada's Largest Wind Energy Project | EnergyBiz

FW: Wind Power Equipment Subsidies Terminated by China After Successful WTO Challenge

Cheating bastards finally got their knuckles rapped.


From: Edmundson, Daniel C. []
Sent: Friday, June 10, 2011 10:06 AM
To: Edmundson, Daniel C.
Subject: Wind Power Equipment Subsidies Terminated by China After Successful WTO Challenge


Daniel C. Edmundson

Troutman Sanders LLP

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Daniel C. Edmundson

>> International Trade
>> Renewable Energy
>>Renewable Insights

Wind Power Equipment Subsidies Terminated by China After Successful
WTO Challenge

June 10, 2011

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced June 7 that China has ended targeted wind power equipment subsidies in response to a U.S. challenge at the World Trade Organization.

The WTO challenge of the Special Fund subsidies was initiated in response to a Section 301 petition filed by the United Steelworkers and initiated by USTR on October 15, 2010.  The petition had sought action against a wide range of allegedly WTO-inconsistent Chinese policies on wind and solar energy products, advanced batteries, energy-efficient vehicles and other products, including export restraints, prohibited subsidies, discrimination against foreign companies and imported goods, technology transfer requirements and domestic subsidies causing serious prejudice to U.S. interests. However, USTR only challenged wind power equipment subsidies in the formal dispute settlement process at the WTO. USTR claims that it is addressing the other policies in the context of bilateral negotiations.

USTR alleged that China's Special Fund for Wind Power Equipment Manufacturing provided grants to Chinese wind turbine manufacturers if the companies committed to using key parts and components made in China rather than purchasing imports.  Such "local content" subsidies are prohibited under WTO rules. The U.S. estimated that the grants provided to Chinese companies since 2008 could have totaled several hundred million dollars. China agreed to withdraw the program after formal consultations under the WTO.

Troutman Sanders International Trade attorneys and advisors regularly counsel clients on trade transactions involving countries and entities subject to regulatory requirements imposed by the U.S. Government, as well as a host of complex export control compliance issues.  Please feel free to contact any of the individuals listed above for assistance.



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Friday, June 3, 2011

Biomimicry: Namibian Beetle's Shell Offers Clues to Harvesting Water from the atmosphere

FW: US offers USD-27m funding to cut solar project costs

US offers USD-27m funding to cut solar project costs

ADP News Renewable Energy Track
June 3, 2011
The US Department of Energy (DOE) on Wednesday said it would provide USD 27
million (EUR 18.6m) in funding to reduce costs of solar energy projects and
step up the permitting process.

The funding is part of the US government's SunShot Initiative which aims to
make solar energy cost-competitive with fossil fuels within the current

The funding targets to reduce the so-called "soft costs" of installing solar
systems. Those costs include the capital needed for siting, permitting and
installation, and the cost of connecting the systems to the grid, and
account for up to 40% of the total solar system cost.

As much as USD 12.5 million of the funds will go to stimulate cities and
counties to compete in advancing and digitising permitting processes, in
order to reduce obstacles for residential and small commercial photovoltaic
(PV) solar installations and increase the financing for solar projects.

A total USD 15 million will be used to promote innovations in IT systems,
local zoning and building codes and regulations, which can help accelerate
the process of installing solar energy.

(USD 1 = EUR 0.690)

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Ontario Breaks Wind Record as Canadian Industry Flourishes

US solar is poised for $100bn growth surge | Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Sharp To Supply Thin Film Solar Panels For Canadian PV Project