Friday, October 27, 2006

Aussies To Build World's Largest Solar Power Plant

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia will build the world's biggest solar power plant amid warnings of blackouts within five years unless it can increase electricity generation to meet growing demand for air conditioners.

With climate change becoming a major issue in Australia as a severe drought eats into economic growth and cities impose water restrictions, the government has begun to support alternative forms of energy.

Besides the new $420 million ($318 million) solar power plant, the government also announced on Wednesday a A$360 million pilot project to produce cleaner energy through brown coal drying and carbon capture and storage.

Australia, one of the world's biggest producers of greenhouse gases per capita, refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol aimed at lowering greenhouse gases which cause global warming.

It is the world's largest coal exporter and relies on coal-fired power stations for its power supplies, supplemented with gas fired plants.

Environmentalists welcomed news of the solar power plant but were disappointed the government continued to fund coal more

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Google To Go Solar

The system, to be built by EI Solutions, a unit of Energy Innovations Inc., of Pasadena, Calif., will use 9,212 solar panels and have a total capacity of 1.6 megawatts, or enough electricity to supply 1,000 average California homes. That will satisfy 30% of the campus' peak electricity needs, saving the company an estimated $393,000 per year in utility costs or close to $15 million over the 30-year lifespan of its solar system. At this rate, the system will pay for itself in approximately 7.5 years..The installation at Google's headquarters, known as the Googleplex, will begin next month and will be completed in the spring of 2007. It will be the largest solar-power system ever constructed at a U.S. corporate campus and one of the largest on any corporate site in the world, EI Solutions said.
The solar panels, which cover an area equal to about four acres, will be installed on the roofs of some campus buildings and double as shading for cars in parking lots. Most of the panels will be made by Sharp Electronics, a unit of Japan's Sharp Corp.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Solar Energy System planned for Glen Ellen Winery

The new system will consist of 174 Mitsubishi 170 watt solar panels. These environmentally sound panels contain no lead, creating 100% clean energy production.

Wellington's new solar system will generate enough clean electricity each day to power 8.5 average homes. The new system will spare the air nearly 52 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to driving over 3.5 million miles. The system will pay for itself in approximately 6 years.

A certified Sonoma County Green Business, utilizing green energy is Wellington's primary motivation for installing the PV system. A long-time environmentalist, owner Peter Wellington says "It's the right thing to do. Solar energy is good for the environment and the reduction of greenhouse gases is good for the community. With the financial incentives, it's a no-brainer." He said Wellington chose SolarCraft based on their reputation and long track record in the industry.

About Wellington Vineyards

Wellington Vineyards
is a family winery owned by the father and son team, John and Peter Wellington. They practice sustainable agriculture, using a blend of organic and traditional farming practices that promote healthy vines and a healthy environment. 50% of their wine is sold through the tasting room; availability elsewhere is and will continue to be extremely limited.

SolarCraft is the most experienced solar energy contractor and retailer in California. For more than 22 years the certified "Green Business" has been providing Solar Thermal and Solar Electric services including consulting, design, sales, installation and maintenance. SolarCraft has installed more than 4,000 solar energy systems in California that account for over a million square feet of solar energy collectors, saving customers $6.5 million and eliminate more than 24,000 tons of greenhouse gasses every year.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Solar Powers China's Frontier

10-03-2006 10:28

China is experiencing a rapid increase in energy demand. Renewable energy has become a strategic policy in the government's mid and long-term energy development plan.

Bulunkou township is 30 kilometers from the Tajikistan border. With a population of 6,000 most of the residents are Kirgiz nomads.

The harsh geographical conditions of the remote area have long been an obstacle for power. Extending the power grid to ensure steady supply could cost as much as 8,000 U.S. dollars per meter.

Before 2002, people living in Bulunkou county had no access to electricity. They used candles during night time. Thanks to the efforts of the government and the international community, solar energy and wind power equipment are now available at each household.

Due to assistance from the government, the UNDP, and various other donors three years ago, windmills, solar energy panels, and battery and diesel backup generators were installed in the Bulunkou township.

With a government subsidy of 1,500 yuan, it costs each household 500 yuan to install a private solar panel.

28-year-old Ibadit is one of the beneficiaries of the renewable energy system. She says the equipment generates enough electricity for lights and the radio for her 6-person household.

groSolar Closes $2.2m Million VC Round

Today groSolar, which integrates solar energy into new and existing homes, announced that it has closed its first round of venture funding with a total of $2.25 million. The investment will be used to fund groSolar's national marketing initiative and its expansion to new locations. Led by SJF Ventures, the financing round included three venture funds that specialize in the cleantech and renewable energy sectors, SJF Ventures, Calvert Social Investment Fund, and Allco Financial Group.

"We are delighted to have each of these venture funds join us as partners to help groSolar become the first choice for builders and homeowners who are installing efficient solar energy systems in new and existing homes and businesses,'' said Jeffery Wolfe, groSolar CEO. "We are aggressively bringing groSolar solutions to the market, both through a preferred dealer network and through groSolar branch offices in under-served markets. Our new name, "groSolar,'' symbolizes the mission of our company, to grow the utilization of solar energy in new and innovative ways."'

groSolar provides clean, efficient solutions for homes and businesses, including solar electricity, solar hot water, and solar air heating. The company has the engineering capability to deliver complete systems, turn-key solutions and zero energy home designs.

According to Cleantech Venture Network LLC, more than $1.4 billion in venture capital has been invested in North American cleantech companies during the first six months of 2006. The clean energy segment was particularly strong, pulling in 70% of all cleantech VC funding for the 2nd quarter. A large portion of this was invested in early stage solar technology firms.

"We believe there is a significant investment opportunity in the deployment of both proven and emerging solar technologies," said SJF Ventures Managing Director David Kirkpatrick. "The groSolar executive and product development team has the vision, expertise and technology partnerships to execute on this opportunity."

groSolar is a subsidiary of GRO, a national solar integration firm focused on designing, distributing and installing high quality energy systems.

About GRO
GRO is a national solar integration firm focused on designing, distributing and installing high quality energy systems. GRO distributes solar electric, hot water and hot air systems throughout the U.S. from offices in VT, NJ, NY, MA and CO. The company recently changed its name from Global Resource Options to GRO. The company has more than $10MM in revenues, recently signed a four year, $88 million supply agreement for solar photovoltaic (PV) panels with Evergreen Solar. GRO integrates components from leading solar manufacturers including Evergreen, Suntech, Heliodyne, Outback, SMA, Magnetek, Gridpoint and UniRac into elegant solar energy systems for its customers that generate clean, reliable energy for decades. For information, contact Kevin Ellis 1-800-498-5390 or Sue Lewis at 1-800-374-4494. To help fuel its growth, GRO is actively recruiting a COO. Interested parties may contact Clark Waterfall of the Boston Search Group at 617-266-4333.

About SJF Ventures
SJF Ventures, with offices in Durham, NC and New York, NY, is a venture capital fund with $40 million under management that helps accelerate the growth of companies whose competitive advantages include cleantech and workforce innovations. SJF focuses on companies seeking equity capital of $500,000 to $5 million particularly in the renewable energy and efficiency, green building, organic and premium products, business services, and water and infrastructure sectors. , (919)530-1177.

About Calvert
Calvert Group manages the first and largest family of socially screened mutual funds, designed to help investors achieve financial security while helping to build a sustainable world and protect our quality of life. Calvert has been in the mutual fund business for 30 years and manages more than $12 billion in assets., (301) 951-4800

About Allco Financial Group
Allco Finance Group is a New York-based investment banking and project development firm. Allco is actively investing in and developing renewable energy companies and projects across the United States. Since Allco's incorporation in the U.S. in 1995, we have arranged financing for and/or made investments in more than $25 billion of equipment, infrastructure and other projects and assets in sectors including transportation (aviation, rail and shipping), high technology, energy/renewable energy and film. (212) 681-6974

LDK Solar Announces IPO

HONG KONG (XFN-ASIA) - LDK Solar Hi-Tech, a China-based manufacturer of solar power equipment, plans to raise 300 mln usd in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock market next year, the South China Morning Post reported, quoting sources.

LDK management met with investment banks last week, including UBS, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, and is expected to award a mandate for the sale in about two weeks, the paper said.

The company, based in Jiangxi province, has a yearly production of 100 megawatts (MW) and plans to increase that to 1,000 MW by the end of the decade, it added.

(1 usd = 7.8 hkd)

Solar Week Wraps Up in San Diego

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2nd Annual Solar Energy Week,
hosted by the nonprofit San Diego Regional Energy Office (SDREO), came to a
close this weekend, setting record attendance with more than 4,000
attendees, almost doubling the number of participants of the inaugural
Solar Energy Week in 2005. Following this summer's heat wave and the recent
announcement of the California Solar Initiative, local interest in solar
power continues to grow at an impressive rate. Solar Energy Week featured
four great events to help San Diegans learn about how they can implement
solar power in their homes, make cleaner energy choices and help alleviate
the effects of global warming.
"San Diego is the ideal place for people to take advantage of the
energy the sun provides, and the record turnout we had for Solar Energy
Week's activities proves that people in this region are truly interested in
making a change with solar power," said Irene M. Stillings, SDREO Executive
Director. "As locals continue to learn about solar power and the rebate
opportunities that exist, I think they will really embrace this opportunity
to reduce their energy bills and help the environment by making changes in
the way they power their homes."
On Sunday, September 24, Family Solar Energy Day kicked off Solar
Energy Week, with more than 400 people in attendance -- double that of last
year's event. Activities included solar powered car races, educational
presentations and a sun drawing contest, in addition to solar oven baking,
a solar heating display, plus free food and drinks. San Diego County
Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and Commissioner John Geesman from the
California Energy Commission also made brief presentations to an
enthusiastic crowd.
The Commercial Solar Tour, a guided bus tour of three major San Diego
companies showcasing various state-of-the-art solar installations, sold out
three weeks prior to the tour, which took place on Tuesday, September 26.
San Diego State University's Physics Building, QUALCOMM Inc.'s Building Q,
and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 569
Headquarters and Union Hall were featured on the Tour, demonstrating how
local companies and organizations are helping the environment and setting a
positive example by utilizing solar power.
The Solar Energy Conference, held at the University of San Diego on
Wednesday, September 27, brought in more than 500 attendees, making it the
largest such event ever held in Southern California and almost doubled the
number of people from last year's conference. The conference proved to be a
valuable event for all attendees, featuring an impressive range of local
and national solar and government experts discussing a variety of topics
from the basics of how solar energy works to high-level discussions on
renewable energy credits and solar legislation. Twenty vendors also showed
off the latest technologies both indoors and outdoors under the sun.
The grand finale of Solar Energy Week was the 7th Annual Solar Homes
Tour, which took place on Saturday, September 30. More than 30 homes
participated in the tour, offering San Diego County residents a rare
glimpse into homes with solar electric installations and solar pool and
water heating systems. SDREO estimates that more than 2,500 people attended
this year's tour to learn how solar can save them money on their home
energy bills, improve the environment, mitigate climate change and reduce
fossil fuel dependence.
QUALCOMM, Inc., SDG&E, the County of San Diego and Supervisor
Slater-Price all pledged substantial support for Solar Energy Week, helping
make it such a success. Major sponsorship also came from BP Solar, Kyocera
Solar and Independent Energy Solutions. Additional sponsors included Sanyo,
Unisolar, Powerlight, Renewable Technologies Inc., and the San Diego
Electrical Training Center (IBEW).
The San Diego Regional Energy Office (SDREO) is an independent,
nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation that helps residents, businesses and public
agencies save energy, reduce grid demand and generate their own power
through a variety of rebate, technical assistance and education programs.
SDREO also provides the community with objective information, research,
analysis and long-term planning on energy issues and technologies. For more
information, visit our website at or call us toll
free at 1-866-SDENERGY.