Monday, June 22nd, 2009
Southern Italy, with it abundant sunshine and high electricity tariffs from coal-generated power plants, could by 2010 produce solar power that is economically competitive with conventional power. That’s the assessment of Winfried Hoffmann, president of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, who also predicted that solar power could meet 12 percent of Europe’s electricity demand by 2020.
Hoffman said that the cost of producing power from photovoltaic cells is steadily declining, so much so that by next year solar power in southern Italy could be produced as cheaply as the 25 euro cents ($.35) per kilowatt hour that residents there now pay for coal-generated electricity. Hoffmann asserted that 12 percent of the continent’s electricity could come from solar power by 2020 if the European Union enforces rules on renewable power quotas and continues state-subsidized programs that pay generators of renewable power a premium for channeling their electricity into centralized power grids.
Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
Tigo Energy, a solar start-up whose unique technology significantly increases efficiency in photovoltaic solar installations, announced today that it has closed its Series B round of funding.
The $10 million round was led by Israel Cleantech Ventures and joined by all existing investors (Matrix Partners, OVP and Clal Energy). The series B financing represented a significant premium to Tigo Energy’s $6 million Series A venture round in May of 2008.
Meir Ukeles of Israel Cleantech Ventures has joined the Tigo Board of Directors following the round. In January, Tigo Energy added three cleantech industry veterans to its board of advisers.
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
Looking for a green technology job in the Solar industry is something more and more job seekers are focusing on these days. The reasons are easily explained if you turn to Frank Marquardt, author of Green Careers, coauthor of How Green Is Your City, and writer on the CleanTechies Blog: “Solar represents an attractive industry to many looking for an industry with a positive long-term outlook, and one where they can make a difference. Those who do find a job will have the opportunity to work alongside passionate people who realize their work will have a very real effect on some of the most significant geopolitical issues of the age, including energy independence and climate change.”
At the same time, that’s exactly why breaking into Solar is not an easy thing to accomplish. There is a lot of competition for a limited number of jobs, and companies have specific requirements to their jobs that many applicants do not necessarily meet.
Thursday, May 21st, 2009
BioSolar Inc., a publicly traded California company, says it’s come up with a way to build a better solar panel, with plastics made from plants.
I sat down recently with company CEO David Lee, both of us at keyboards, to discuss BioSolar’s plans for a plastic revolution in sun power manufacturing.
Lee’s protective backing is derived from cotton and castor beans, and costs 25 percent less than Tedlar, the petroleum-based film made by rival DuPont, company officials say. Lee, an electrical engineer, founded the company in 2006.
Q: What makes BioSolar different from other solar companies in the United States?
Lee: BioSolar is developing a technology to produce bio-based photovoltaic (PV) components from renewable plant sources that will reduce the cost per watt of PV modules. BioSolar will gradually replace the petroleum-based portions of the PV module and do so at a substantial cost savings.
Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
The Australian government plans to build the world’s largest solar power station, a 1,000-megawatt plant that would generate three times as much electricity as the world’s largest solar electric plant, now located in California, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced.
Preliminary plans call for the construction of four individual plants — two solar thermal plants that use mirrors to focus the sun’s heat on steam-generating pipes or towers and two plants that use photovoltaic cells. Over all, the proposed facility would cost about U.S. $1 billion, Rudd said, and would generate electricity equivalent to a large coal-fired power plant.
Monday, May 18th, 2009
Ormat Technologies is combining with Itochu Corporation to build a 330 megawatt (MW) geothermal power plant in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia.
The project will cost an estimated $800 million, according a report in Reuters. Ormat and Japan’s Itochu Corp. were originally awarded the contract in 2006 and are working in collaboration with Indonesian energy firm PT Medco.
Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
CleanTechies is proud to be official media partner of two upcoming clean technology-related events that are just upon our alley: Both events connect CleanTechies from different parts of the world and allow them to share their insights and experiences with their counterparts. Both events are being held for the 5th time this year – while TABCON brings US professionals together with those from Turkey, the Germany California Solar Day unites them with their German counterparts.
Check out our Events Calendar for more upcoming CleanTech conferences, and submit more events.
If you are interested in a media partnership with CleanTechies, please contact us.
Friday, April 17th, 2009
Following up from my last post. Other areas of interest at the World Bank’s Energy Week conference included rural electrification. Grid connection is notoriously poor throughout Africa. Tanzania, for example, is around 22% depending on whom you talk to. In addition, just because a community has a grid penetration, it doesn’t mean everyone in that community has power at their house. Connections are expensive. The waiting list for the utility to make the connection is long.
Often time people take it upon themselves to make their own connection. Even if they do have power, it might not be reliable. Kenyan Power and Lighting Company is estimated to have around 11,000 outages per month. The other option for people to address lack of (or unreliable) grid connection is to support it with solar PV or fuel based generators. These two technologies support communities, can add capacity to the grid (if connected), and provide a potentially cheaper way to provide power to end-users (factoring in the implied costs associated with transmission) .
Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
Solar energy system: $1,000,000
Last month’s energy bill: $1.19
Reduced carbon emissions: Priceless
What sounds like an advertisement by a well-known financial institution is actually taken from a postcard you can find at Honig Vineyard. In August 2006, the winery threw the switch on its photovoltaic system and has been 100% solar-powered since then. With 819 Sanyo 200-watt modules, the installation was one of the largest in the country when it was installed. Mounted on the ground, the modules generate sufficient power to run the whole winery, including cooling and bottling. This allows Honig to save over $42,000 a year in electricity bills. Not only that: Over the next 30 years, it will prevent over 7.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions (the equivalent of planting more than 34 acres of carbon dioxide-absorbing trees). The economics seem to be working out, according to Michael Honig:
Thursday, March 19th, 2009
Solar professionals, what are you doing on Saturday?! I would like to invite you to a special event with a unique cause: CleanTechies is organizing a “Solar-Powered Wine Tour”, an exclusive event for thought leaders in Solar and in organizations and industries that support it – and it would be great if you could join us!
We will be visiting three innovative solar-powered vineyards close to San Francisco, and all proceeds of the event will go to Solar Richmond, a fabulous non-profit that deserves recognition and backing.
Space is limited to 24 people, and there are still a couple of spaces left. So if you don’t have plans for Saturday yet and want to join an interesting group of Solar professionals for a fun and relaxed day, read on to learn more and how you can participate.