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SolarWorld Falls Most Since April on Net Loss

August 13th, 2012
SolarWorld AG, Germany's largest solar-panel maker, dropped the most in almost four months in Frankfurt trading after posting its second-biggest quarterly loss and forecasting negative earnings for the year.

Only Three Weeks Left to Nominate — Submit Your Nomination for the 2012 Project of the Year Awards!

August 13th, 2012
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/awards/2012

The Deal: European Supergrid Sets High Expectations

August 13th, 2012
Imagine if we lived in a world where constant sunshine, flowing rivers, steady wind, abundant forests, and hot rock beneath our feet were equally accessible resources able to instantly power our around-the-clock energy demands. Alas, we do not live in a perfect world, and sometimes the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.

Internet Sensation “United Breaks Guitars” and Its Lesson for Solar Companies

August 13th, 2012
One of the good things about solar not being a main stream product—yet—is that solar companies can learn from the huge PR blunders of more established brands, such as United Airlines.  With over 12 million views on YouTube, you may already be aware of this huge PR customer service blunder, but for those who aren’t, here’s the story: A few years ago

Two Years Later: Revisiting the Taxonomy of Cleantech

August 10th, 2012
It's been two years since Kachan & Co. first published its definition of what industries and categories constitute cleantech. A lot happens in two years, so it's time to refresh our taxonomy. A clean technology taxonomy, a list of nested categories, is important. It shows where a clean technology “fits.” It helps vendors understand their competitiv

Latin America Report: Region Offers New Direction for China’s Solar Giants

August 10th, 2012
Suntech recently passed the 1 gigawatt (GW) mark in the Americas, and of course, the vast share of those installations were done in the more mature, lucrative and stable North America region.

Sustainable Industry Predictions for the Second Half of 2012

August 10th, 2012
The outlook for sustainable industries looked challenging during the first half of 2012, as cleantech average deal sizes along with equity financings, and project financings were down compared to the last quarter of 2011. The upcoming elections European debt crisis, and other macro issues have also been weighing on the US economy during the past several months. However, despite these unfavorable conditions, Cascadia believes that financing and M&A in the sustainable industries will begin to make progress and consequently, stabilize by the end of this year. We expect this recovery to be led in part by activity in the energy efficiency and solar sectors, along with early stage investments.

Trendspotting: US States Warming up to Renewable Energy Heating and Cooling, Part 2

August 10th, 2012
If states are going to add a heating requirement to their RPS or even allow heat energy to be applicable, monitoring and metering will be key and that can be problematic.

American Battery Maker A123 Looks to China for Financial Rescue

August 9th, 2012
A123 Systems Inc.'s financial rescue by China's largest auto-parts maker is fueling renewed scrutiny of the government's funding of clean-energy technology.

Local Content Rule Thwarts Solar Development in Brazil

August 9th, 2012
Brazil's bid to spur solar-energy projects is failing as a ban on state subsidies for foreign-made panel parts hinders sales by the world's biggest producers.

Follow Germany’s Lead: Streamlined Permitting

August 9th, 2012
Germany, a leader in renewable energy, recently set a world record when it produced 22 GW of power on May 26th, 2012.  At that point in time, half of the country's electricity was generated from solar.  Germany's current capacity for solar energy reaches about 28 GW and the country aims to reach 66GW by 2030. By the end of 2011, Germany had about 2

Trendspotting: US States Warming up to Renewable Energy Heating and Cooling, Part 1

August 9th, 2012
Of the fifty U.S. states, four territories and one District of Colombia, almost forty of them have some kind of renewable energy requirement on the books and of those forty, only about fourteen allow some type of thermal renewable energy to meet at least a portion of its renewable portfolio standard. But that might be changing.

Assessing the Nova Scotia RFP and the Future of Wind Power in Atlantic Canada

August 8th, 2012
Nova Scotia announced three winning bids for wind projects totalling 116 MW last week completing the province’s request for 300/GWh per year of electricity derived from renewable energy. The winning bids include two phases of the South Canoe Wind Project totalling 102 MW, which is being led by a partnership between Nova Scotia-based companies Oxfor

Poland Moving to Feed-in Tariffs

August 8th, 2012
Poland, a country that produces 90% of its electricity with coal and once a seemingly impregnable bastion of neoliberalism in the heart of Europe, has announced that it will introduce a new law on renewable energy. The new law will introduce feed-in tariffs for the first time.

Los Angeles California’s Incentive Programs for Large and Small Solar Systems

August 8th, 2012
For those of you who may not know, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has developed a Solar Incentive Program (SIP) to support solar energy in Los Angeles. This Solar Incentive Program can help you with the cost of installing a new solar system.  The Solar Feed-in Tariff Program, which allows owners of large-scale on-grid solar systems t

Wind and Solar Developers Get Access to U.S. Land Used by Pentagon

August 7th, 2012
The U.S. will give wind- and solar- energy companies access to 16 million acres of federal land previously set aside for military testing and training.

Making Projects Happen with Group Net Metering Policies

August 7th, 2012
Almost every state in the country has net metering laws on the books. But only a few states allow a lesser-known policy that is critical for the expansion of distributed renewables, particularly community-scale solar — that’s aggregate, virtual, or group net metering.  And there are a lot of good reasons to want to see its expansion. The basic prem

Are the Batteries Ready? 100% Clean Energy Requires Progress on Storage

August 7th, 2012
In the long run, there’s no avoiding energy storage for a 100% renewable energy society.  The two major sources of renewable power are wind and sun, and they are either fickle or reliably not available at night. The problem is that the simplest energy storage option for electricity is batteries, and this image from Wikipedia (hat tip to Robert Rapi

Asia Report: World Takes Hard Look at India Grid, Promises of Solar

August 6th, 2012
Suddenly, the world is intrigued by India's unstable grid and the role solar can play in providing solutions for a country desperately in need of a new energy strategy.

U.K. Pledges 100 Million Pounds for Energy Investment Funds

August 6th, 2012
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will pledge 100 million pounds ($156 million) for two investment funds that seek to back renewable and energy efficient projects.

Can Clean Energy Strike Back Against the Growing Smear Campaign?

August 6th, 2012
There has been a noticeable shift within the clean energy industry over the last few months as the election season brings a fresh round of attacks.

11 Clean Energy Stocks for 2012: August Update

August 6th, 2012
July was a good month for my Clean Energy model portfolio. Since the last update, these 11 stocks are up an average of 3.3%, with a year to date return total return a tiny loss of -0.5%. While it's never pleasant to be down for the year, it's helpful to compare this performance to that of the most widely held clean energy ETF, the Powershares Wilderhill Clean Energy ETF (PBW), which was down 8.7% for the month, and down 21% year to date. All in all, it has been a miserable year so far for most clean energy investors, and I'm happy to say that my model portfolio has managed to avoid almost all of that misery.

Why I Donate Every Year to These Solar Organizations — What Are Your Favorites?

August 6th, 2012
It’s that time of year again. For the last three years, I’ve consistently made a summer donation to The Vote Solar Initiative, the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), and Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). This year, I’ve also added SolarPAC, the political action committee set up by SEIA. The amount I donate to each is not so much an obl

2012 Summer Olympics: The Greenest Games Ever?

August 3rd, 2012
Last Friday kicked off the beginning of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.  Nine years of planning went towards minimizing the carbon output of this event.  An all-encompassing goal of "sustainability" was set for the 2012 Summer Olympics.     The organizers of the event aspired to make this international event socially and environmentall

Next Economy and Faith for Empiricists

August 3rd, 2012
Let's be clear: Justice is not an immutable law of nature. Neither math nor physics nor chemistry recognizes justice as one of the universe's governing principles. The strong, rich, and powerful have, since long before humans emerged, by and large taken what they wanted, when they wanted, and never counted the costs to those they took it from. Despite what Socrates may have said, justice has forever occurred, at best, in fleeting, ephemeral flashes. We yearn for a god capable of seeing and ultimately judging all rights and wrongs -- because we know we can't be counted on to do it ourselves. Small wonder that the legend of Robin Hood – the original 99 percenter -- still resonates after 800 years.

How to Make a Parking Garage Energy Efficient

August 3rd, 2012
It's no secret that researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) do cool things — including finding new ways to capture energy from the sun and wind. But there's nothing cooler than working on a parking garage, right?

First Solar Profit Surges 81% on Shift to Sales of Power Plants

August 2nd, 2012
First Solar Inc., the world's biggest maker of thin-film panels, said profit jumped 81 percent after it recognized revenue for selling power plants, validating a strategic shift to building solar farms using its modules.

Sunlight Goes To Waste: India’s Grid Failure

August 2nd, 2012
India's recent electric grid failure on July 30 and 31 has been determined the world's largest blackout. This event will no doubt spur some movement toward efficiency and discipline. India requires new and innovative thinking and effectiveness through structural change. This is also the time to focus on renewable energy, particularly solar photovoltaics.

Community Development Finance Institutes: Providing Clean Energy Capital

August 1st, 2012
Oftentimes, larger institutions do not finance small renewable energy and energy efficiency projects due to their lack of scale and higher risk profile. But, this is exactly the niche community development financial institutions (CDFIs) are filling by making it possible for small developers, businesses, and underserved homeowners to finance clean energy projects.

Massachusetts Solar PV Market Returns to Normal with Electrical Licensing Decision

August 1st, 2012
In 2009, the Massachusetts Board of State Examiners of Electricians (BSEE) took an unprecendented step and required that all solar PV installation work performed in Massachusetts could only be performed by licensed electricians.  Recently this ruling was overturned, which allows the solar PV industry to return to how it was operating before 2009. T

Hawaii Drives Past Solar Power Cost Barrier, Surprised by Additional Roadblocks

August 1st, 2012
Solar has crossed a major threshold in Hawaii.  The state’s homes and businesses can cut their electric bills with unsubsidized solar power, but are also discovering that cheap solar is not a panacea.  As the tide of solar costs has receded, a number of unexpected barriers have emerged. An island state reliant on imported oil for 83% of its electri

Time To Honor the Great Renewable Energy Projects

August 1st, 2012
There is nothing more important than celebrating the victories of an emerging industry. The wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower industries have been putting projects online this year with gusto. Even though project development may slow down for some of those industries in 2013, now is a good time to honor some of the outstanding accompl

A Rush to Innovate Silicon Solar Technology

July 31st, 2012
It wasn't so long ago when some solar company executives – particularly those in the thin film business – dismissed the idea that innovation could still thrive in the world of crystalline silicon technology. The silicon technology was getting cheaper and factories were getting larger, and its dominance seemed unshakable, at least in the short-term. Why would anyone invest in new materials or production processes?

First Solar Road to Profits Amid Red for Global Industry

July 31st, 2012
First Solar Inc. Chairman Mike Ahearn has found the best way to make money from photovoltaics is to sell whole power plants to Warren Buffett and NextEra Energy Inc. instead of competing with China on panel sales.

Solar Philanthropy: Five Groups Using Solar to End Energy Poverty

July 31st, 2012
Approximately 1.3 billion people live without regular access to energy. People are forced to use fuels that pollute and cause respiratory illnesses, like kerosene and biomass, and spend long hours time collecting fuel. It is a global crisis that is harming the health and well-being of people in the developing world, in addition to harming the planet.

Trackers Lead Solar Into Harshest of Environments

July 31st, 2012
There are two particularly egregious arguments against solar power: it does not work in certain areas because of weather and it costs too much. But as we saw at Intersolar in San Francisco earlier this month, the industry's continuous innovation is helping to blow these false perceptions out of the water.

Time To Honor the Great Renewable Energy Projects

July 30th, 2012
There is nothing more important than celebrating the victories of an emerging industry. The wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower industries have been putting projects online this year with gusto. Even though project development may slow down for some of those industries in 2013, now is a good time to honor some of the outstanding accompl

Wal-Mart Beating Ikea, Apple in U.S. Solar Panel Installations

July 30th, 2012
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, has installed more than 150 U.S. solar projects and expects to have as much as 90 megawatts of capacity by year-end, more than Ikea Group and Apple Inc.

NLP Solar Sales Training Live Webinar August 8th & 9th

July 30th, 2012

Clean Energy Stocks Decline to Nine-Year Low on Policy Uncertainty

July 30th, 2012
The WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index, a global index of clean-energy stocks, declined to a nine-year low as the industry faces oversupply, falling prices and uncertain government support.

Lime Energy or Lemon Energy?

July 30th, 2012
Last week, when Lime Energy (NASD:LIME) announced that an internal investigation by its audit committee had revealed up to $15 million in misreported revenue, my first instinct was to sell, especially because the misreported revenue included not only revenue assigned to the wrong period, but possibly completely fictitious revenue.

A “Third Way” Approach for U.S.-China Solar Trade

July 30th, 2012
Last October, SolarWorld led a U.S. manufacturer coalition that asserted trade law violations by Chinese makers of solar cells. The coalition's filing with the Department of Commerce led to significant tariffs being levied on solar products originating in China entering the U.S.

Portugal Utility Plans To Export Solar Energy to Germany

July 27th, 2012
EDP-Energias de Portugal SA's former head of finance plans to avoid austerity-driven cuts in support for solar projects in the country by exporting power to Germany.

7 Ways Your Solar Website Is Driving Away Business — Yes, Your Website

July 27th, 2012
There are at least a million ways to design a solar website today, and there are probably just as many ways to turn that expensive investment into useless cyber real estate. In this post, we’ll discuss seven common mistakes that drive away visitors. Given the billion websites in the world, someone arriving on your site is almost a solar marketing m

Solar Cells Light Up Prison Cells on ‘The Rock’

July 27th, 2012
"Machine Gun Kelly," Al Capone, the "Birdman" — Alcatraz prison has had some infamous residents on the craggy island known as "The Rock" in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

Philippines Introduces New Feed-in Tariff

July 27th, 2012
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in the Philippines today approved the feed-in tariffs (FITs) that apply to renewable energy generation sources such as hydro (run–of–river), biomass, wind and solar. Initially the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) that petitioned the FIT proposed values that they calculated during the time the petition wa

Eggs in Many Baskets: Arizona Public Service Diversifies Generation Sources

July 26th, 2012
Arizona Public Service (APS) changed how it selects new generation supply with a March 2012 filing; it will no longer use "least cost" as the dominant factor. Instead, it will diversify and distribute its generation eggs in many baskets. Not only that, APS will reduce carbon emissions and total water use, and has protected itself from potential future price spikes and volatility in the natural gas market.

SolarWorld Among 20-Plus Manufacturers to File EU Complaint

July 26th, 2012
A SolarWorld coalition of European-based manufacturers officially filed a trade complaint in Brussels late Wednesday, eliciting a strong response from leading Chinese manufacturers and setting the stage for a process that could further shake up the global solar industry.

U.K. Boosts Gas While Cutting Subsidies From Wind to Biomass

July 25th, 2012
The U.K. government granted tax relief for natural gas drillers and cut subsidies for renewable energy, signaling more reductions in the months ahead as it balances demand for cheaper power against a goal to lower pollution from fossil fuels.

Confusion Reigns As European Solar Trade Complaint Appears Imminent

July 25th, 2012
After months of rumors and false starts, it appears that SolarWorld AG is on the cusp of filing a trade complaint with the European Union trade commission against Chinese solar cells and modules, and it looks like the announcement could come later this week.