An activist caravan to bring one of Jimmy Carter’s solar panels back to the White House symbolizes not only the time the U.S. has lost in developing new energy technologies – but also the urgent need for taking action on climate.
After years of delay, things are finally heating up for large-scale solar thermal power plants in California’s remote deserts. In the last month, a California Energy Commission (CEC) siting committee has recommended at least five solar plants for approval. Last week the first of these projects gained official go-ahead from the agency. The Beacon Solar Energy project (more…)
Despite recent legislative attacks that had one manufacturer threatening to pull up stakes, Arizona’s solar industry seems to be doing quite well. Global solar giant (and near stake-puller) Suntech Power remains committed to building a manufacturing plant in Goodyear, and recently, Governor Jan Brewer, Mayor Lyn Truitt and industry representatives announced the arrival of a (more…)
Solar Energy (both photovoltaic and solar hot water, aka solar thermal) are great resources to have at your disposal. In the case of photovoltaic, you can substitute the power from your utility grid by harnessing the sun’s power and converting the sun’s rays into electricity. With rising electricity prices, photovoltaics (aka solar electric) is a great hedge against ever expanding utility bills. The photovoltaic industry is growing by leaps and bounds. You may want to get into the action. (more…)
BrightSource Energy, Inc., developer of utility-scale solar thermal power plants, has raised an additional $150 million in its most recent equity financing. The Series D round brings BrightSource’s total equity financing to more than $300 million and positions the company for significant growth.
New investors including Alstom and the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) joined existing investors in this round, led by VantagePoint Venture Partners, Morgan Stanley and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
The additional financing will be used to support BrightSource’s 2,610 megawatts in contracts with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Southern California Edison to build 14 solar power plants in the US southwest by 2016. The funds will also be used by BrightSource to further its international expansion plans.
California recently approved the decision of a state-wide solar heating program consisting of almost $360 million financial incentives and market development funding by 2018. This initiative will soon be followed by rest of the country that lagged behind the world in installing solar thermal systems.
Global statistics show that the solar thermal industry is taking large steps in fulfilling heating and cooling demand in the world. Most of the countries around the world have adopted incentive programs for both solar water heating and space heating. Whereas in some countries, solar thermal systems have been widely utilized for so many years even without incentives.
The most important decision criteria for a household to install a solar thermal system is basically the payback times of their investment. The main driving factors of the investment payback time are the total cost of the systems and the cost of alternatives heating systems. (more…)
HelioFocus announced the investment last week at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, where HelioFocus is developing its solar thermal technology to boost electricity production of existing power plants.
HelioFocus CEO Ory Zik said Sanhua, the Chinese maker of appliance components whose stock is traded on the Shenzhen stock exchange, would be not just a financial investor in the company, but will also produce some solar thermal components.
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.
BrightSource announced a huge deal today (and last month they announced an even bigger one for 1,300 MW with Southern California Edison) but before jumping up and down too much, lets take a wait and see approach to how this will unfold.
Remember, BrightSource is led by a man that I quote often for having said “this is an industry of billions and decades, not millions and years.” While it is enormous, and it is great news for solar, let us not forget how just over a week ago Optisolar sold its pipeline of deals to FirstSolar.
That was the question I put to Nat Bullard – Senior Solar Thermal Analyst at New Energy Finance. He brushed off the question as stupid – so in case you feel like asking him here is his response:
A) they require at least 9 months of permitting
Unlike Nat, I don’t think that these are necessarily reasons for not presenting – but he did come up with a good point: where was FirstSolar? “If you are established, then you are established,” he said. Well then Nat… what about SunPower’s huge party? Or are they not established enough for your liking? How about Q-Cells’? Was their party just for fun? (it was!)
I don’t know about his analysis on the absence of the big guys in STEG (Solar Thermal Electrical Generation) either – there are more and more companies coming on line, and while I saw some BrightSource executives and at least one former Ausra exec neither of these companies, nor any from the other recognized solar thermal players had a presence on the Expo floor (SkyFuel was there). Why would they skip out on a chance to tell the world what they do? The natural response to my question is, why should they have been there if the whole world already knows about them? I say because there were plenty of utilities there from outside of California and the United States.