Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Solar Charging Stations for Electric Vehicle - SolarCity & Rabobank

SolarCity® and Rabobank, N.A., announced a partnership to create the world’s first solar-power enhanced, fast-charge electric car charging corridor. When complete, the corridor will include four locations between San Francisco and Los Angeles (Salinas, Atascadero, Santa Maria and Goleta), allowing all-electric cars to make the trip using solar energy and provide for the fastest charge time available for public electric vehicle (EV) charges. The SolarCity owned and operated corridor, built in cooperation with electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors, will provide a full charge in one-third the amount of time of other charging stations.

San Francisco and Los Angeles each support local infrastructure for EVs and many enterprising EV owners have successfully completed ambitious road trips throughout California and cross-country. Allowing drivers to plug in and charge up at multiple locations along well traveled corridors will dramatically increase the convenience and practicality of the growing number of EVs on American roads. Rabobank branches are positioned all along the high-traffic Highway 101 corridor, close to shops, restaurants and other commercial centers in Northern and Southern California, making them ideal locations for charging stations.

“This charging station corridor demonstrates an important component of SolarCity’s vision for a carbon-free lifestyle. We’re combining clean, renewable solar power with all-electric transportation, allowing drivers to travel through California with zero emissions,” said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive. SolarCity has installed more than 100 solar home-charging stations for Tesla owners. The company has also assumed responsibility for a distribution contract for electric vehicle chargers for Toyota Tsusho as part its acquisition of SolSource Energy, announced last week.

Rabobank, N.A., is a California community bank that provides personalized service and a full array of quality products to individuals, businesses and agricultural clients. The bank has completed a 30 kilowatt solar installation at its South Broadway branch in Santa Maria and is evaluating installing solar at additional locations. In addition to providing renewable energy to charge electric cars, the systems will offset electricity used by the locations. As part of the Rabobank Group, a global leader in sustainability-oriented banking, Rabobank, N.A., will offer local California customers and local shoppers convenient charging stations with clean, renewable energy.

“We hope that this corridor of charging stations provides new travel opportunities for electric vehicle owners and gives further momentum to the renewable energy movement,” said Marco Krapels, co-chair of the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility committee.

The corridor would be the first interregional effort of its kind and would be the first to include solar power at a charging station. California is the first state in the United States to be aggressive about EV transportation. The Bay Area is home of Tesla Motors, makers of electric sports cars, among other EV manufacturers. State and local governments, electric utilities, the federal government and other entities are working together to support this infrastructure. Rabobank and SolarCity are taking the EV movement one step further by charging electric vehicles with power from the sun.

Tom Dowling, electric vehicle charging infrastructure manager for the Electric Auto Association, is experienced with installing, tracking and maintaining EV charging stations. “These bank branches are what I call enabler locations because they allow EV drivers to take longer trips and thereby use the EV as their primary car,” says Dowling. “Solar-powered charging stations mean true zero-emission driving, from well to wheels.”

For more information about charging stations and electric cars:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Training African women as solar engineers

This article is one of a series featuring the finalists for World Challenge 09 - a global competition seeking to identify and reward projects and businesses which bring economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities through grassroots solutions. World Challenge 09 is run by BBC World News and Newsweek, in association with Shell.

WC '09 finalist – Barefoot Solar Engineers of Africa
An Indian energy venture benefiting African communities, The Barefoot Women Solar Engineers of Africa aims to improve the lives of people living away from an electricity supply in rural parts of Africa by giving them clean, renewable and low-cost sources of energy. The ‘barefoot approach’ demonstrates that illiterate women from remote African villages are capable of becoming solar engineers who can fabricate, install, maintain and repair residential solar lighting systems in their villages with six months of training at the Barefoot College in Tilonia, Rajasthan, India, where they are tutored by Indian women who also have low levels of literacy.

What are the benefits for the community and environment?
The project reduces the depletion of forests and use of kerosene and diesel, replacing fossil fuel sources with clean, sustainable, low-cost renewable energy. It provides light from a renewable source to households in remote off-grid areas at minimum expense, facilitating income-generating work and enabling children to read and study at night. Community solar energy committees have been established in each village that ensure community ownership of decision making, select women as solar engineer trainees and establish fees to be paid by community members on a monthly basis from savings made by avoiding purchase of fossil fuels. Fees cover a monthly stipend paid to the women solar engineers for carrying out repair and maintenance duties.

How does the project measure its achievements?
Since its initiation in 2005 up until January 2009, 81 women from 11 countries in Africa trained as Barefoot Solar Engineers at the Barefoot College in Tilonia. They have equipped the homes of 2000 families in 50 villages with solar electricity, installing 3000 fixed solar units and 1500 solar lanterns. Another group of 36 additional women from 7 new African countries are currently undertaking similar training at Barefoot College and are expected to return and complete installation of solar units in their villages before the end of 2009.

World Challenge '09 - who will get your vote?
It's up to the public to decide who wins this year's World Challenge competition. Online voting opens on 28 September and runs to 13 November. BBC World News is broadcasting six 30-minute programmes profiling each of the 12 World Challenge 09 finalists throughout October and November.

Find out more
World Challenge website and online voting:
Barefoot Women Solar Engineers of Africa:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Home Solar Provider Raises Funds: Sungevity

Leading online solar provider Sungevity announced today that it has raised an additional $6 million led by Greener Capital, a new venture capital firm.

Charles Finnie, managing partner in Greener Capital, said. "This is the best business model we have seen in the residential solar space.
Sungevity's unique web-based direct selling model has enabled the potential for rapid deployment, great customer service and scalability at the lowest installed cost in the industry. We are excited to invest in Sungevity, as solar power becomes competitive with grid electricity across the US."

Finnie will join the Sungevity Board. The company has also added three
key members to its executive team, doubled its salesforce, and plans
to enter three new geographies by the end of the year.

"We're very pleased to welcome such a remarkable group to Sungevity,"
said Danny Kennedy, president and cofounder of the company. "We
believe that the support from Greener Capital and our growing world
class team will be a tremendous boost to our mission of giving more
customers greater access to solar electricity. We're making going
solar easy, an excellent investment and a smart way for you to reduce
carbon pollution."

Joining Sungevity are:

* Charles Ferer, CFO. Most recently Ferer served as CFO for
SolarCity, the US's largest solar installer, where he helped raise
over $60M in tax equity and launch a successful solar leasing program.
He has more than 20 years of experience for companies including Gap
and PepsiCo. Ferer has a B.A. in Economics from the University of
Puget Sound, and an MBA in Finance from Indiana University.
* Daphne Li, COO. Li has held key leadership positions in
marketing, product management, strategy and M&A at ADP and Apple. As
Chief Strategy Officer and VP, Marketing for DoveBid, she helped start
up business online auctions and grew revenue from $12M to $150M. She
currently sits on KQED's board. Li has a B.A. in Economics and an MBA,
both from Stanford.
* Ariel Tseitlin, VP, Technology and Product Development. Tseitlin
was most recently the Founder & CEO of CTOWorks, a software
consultancy advising early-stage start-ups on their technology
strategy. Prior to CTOWorks, Tseitlin was the VP of Engineering at
Playboox, a SaaS CRM start-up. Tseitlin has also held senior
management positions at Oracle and Siebel Systems. He holds a
bachelor's degree in Computer Science from UC Berkeley and an MBA with
Honors from Wharton.

"With our easy online service, we have the lowest-cost way of getting
solar power into American homes," said Andrew Birch, CEO and cofounder
of Sungevity. "Now we have the team and resources to make sunshine
online available to millions of home-owners."

Sungevity launched to the public in April of 2008 and has quickly
become a leading provider of residential solar in California with its
unique online solar sales offering. It is the only company to provide
firm online quotes and make sales a site visit. Sungevity's solar
sales process reduces costs by around 10% by removing the need for
technicians to visit a home, enabling consumers to go solar more
efficiently than ever before. Sungevity has provided thousands of
solar quotes to homeowners across the state, offering a more
affordable way for consumers to reduce their carbon emissions with a
positive long-term investment.

Get a quote by going online to or by calling 877.257.8648.

New Solar AC Micro-Inverter Company: Direct Grid Technologies

Island Technology announces the launch of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Direct Grid Technologies, LLC. The new company will manufacture leading-edge solar micro-inverters for residential and commercial photovoltaic (PV) applications.

Island Technology is a leading manufacturer of electric utility
products and services. Direct Grid is a natural progression of Island Technology's heritage and today takes its expertise to the solar market for "direct grid" tied solutions…and thus the origin of the company name.

The investment by Island Technology into this emerging market enables
Direct Grid to swiftly move forward with manufacturing, key
partnerships and commercial launch.

The main thrust of Direct Grid is an innovative, patent-pending,
closed loop MOSFET planar micro-inverter design made specifically for
thin-film type PV modules. The cost effective solution significantly
increases micro-inverter reliability and efficiency.

"Today's PV systems can be unreliable and complex. We aim to leapfrog
the competition currently in the marketplace and offer customers a
true modular micro-inverter that permits scalable freedom," stated
Frank Cooper, president of Direct Grid.

"While the growth of the solar industry is undisputed, a need still
exists to bring the costs of a PV system down to a reasonable level
that enables residential installations on a larger scale. We are
excited with our micro-inverter approach and believe we have a market
disruptive solution that will also help realize the 'do-it-yourself'
goal," added Cooper.

At the Solar Power International conference in late October, the
company plans to initially launch the OEM Series and SMART Series
micro-inverters for thin-film PV manufacturers and original equipment
manufacturers interested in offering turnkey systems. The OEM Series
will consist of a stand-alone unit that incorporates state-of-the-art
technology and converts DC to AC, enabling 200 or 300 watt power
generation for direct connection on the grid. The SMART Series shall
incorporate additional communication functionality to enable theft
prevention and remote monitoring via a separate web-based user
interface or phone application. Both the OEM Series and SMART Series
offer safeguards in the event of power outages and fire. First product
shipments are expected in the fourth quarter 2009.

Transforming urban waste into a healthy food source

This article is one of a series featuring finalists from World Challenge 09 - a global competition seeking to identify and reward projects and businesses which bring economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities through grassroots solutions. World Challenge 09 is run by BBC World News and Newsweek, in association with Shell.

World Challenge ’09 finalist – BTTR Ventures
The BTTR Ventures project (pronounced better) was launched to transform an urban waste stream into a healthy food for local consumers and a job-creating enterprise. BTTR stands for ‘Back to the Roots’, a phrase that encompasses the idea sustainability, progress, and social responsibility. BTTR Ventures, founded by two business majors from the Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkeley aims to turn one of the largest waste streams in America – the tons of coffee ground waste generated daily – into a highly-demanded, nutritious, and valuable food product for local consumers: speciality mushrooms such as oyster and shiitake. This project has already launched in the San Francisco area, sold mushrooms to local campus food services at UC Berkeley and local chefs, established relationships with over a dozen local coffee stores, and partnered with Whole Foods, a large socially and environmentally conscious regional grocery chain, to distribute the mushrooms at 26 of their Bay Area stores. Beyond the unique approach of using waste to produce a valuable product, the group is focused on using this idea to change the way business is done. Not only will this initiative create a healthy food source, but it will also provide urban employment (10 ‘green-collar’ jobs within six months), prevent thousands of tons of valuable substrate from being dumped into landfills, and donate a substantial portion of its profit back into the communities from which the coffee ground waste originated.

How does the project benefit the environment?
BTTR Ventures aims to contribute to a cleaner environment to live in while simultaneously building a stronger community. From a global perspective, most mushrooms are currently grown on saw dust or oak chips that were created by cutting trees. By growing mushrooms from coffee grounds, the project reduces the need for deforestation. Furthermore, its own waste from the production of mushrooms (rich fungal compost) will be donated to urban gardening programs, adding a second production cycle to a substance that would have simply been sent to the landfill. By providing customers with locally produced food (through retail and restaurant distribution channels), this project will reduce urban centres’ carbon footprints due to the fact that food will now be arriving from no more than a few miles away.

How does the project measure its achievements?
BTTR Ventures uses three unique and easily quantifiable metrics to measure its achievements. Firstly, it calculates the pounds of coffee grounds diverted from the landfills. Currently, the company is diverting nearly one ton of coffee waste per week (potentially a total of over 100,000 pounds over the next 12 months). Given that mushrooms leave the compost in which they grew rich in nutrients, BTTR Ventures donates that leftover ton of fungal compost to local urban farm programs. Secondly, the project will track its success by calculating how many pounds of its locally-grown mushrooms are provided to the surrounding community. BTTR Ventures is currently on track to produce over 700 pounds of mushrooms per week. This local food production program will further reduce the carbon footprint of urban centres by providing produce harvested within an average of five miles. Lastly, it measures the number of jobs created in an area suffering from double digit unemployment.

World Challenge '09 - who will get your vote?
It's up to the public to decide who wins this year's World Challenge competition. Online voting opens on 28 September and runs to 13 November. BBC World News is broadcasting six 30-minute programmes profiling each of the 12 World Challenge 09 finalists throughout October and November.

Find out more
World Challenge website and online voting:
BTTR Ventures:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

DoE Smart Grid Vision Presentation, $144 Million Funding

In his keynote speech to the GridWeek 2009 Conference this morning, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu detailed his vision for implementing the smart grid and modernizing America's electrical system: a stronger, smarter, more efficient electricity infrastructure that will encourage growth in renewable energy sources, empower consumers to reduce their energy use, and lay the foundation for sustained, long-term economic expansion.

Download Secretary Chu's Presentation:

During his remarks, Secretary Chu also announced more than $144
million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for
the electric power sector, including $44 million in awards to state
public utility commissions and $100 million in available funding for
smart grid workforce training programs.

"America cannot build a 21st Century energy economy with a mid-20th
Century electricity system. This is why the Obama Administration is
investing in projects that will lay the foundation for a modernized,
resilient electrical grid," said Secretary Chu. "By working with
industry leaders and the private sector, we can drive the evolution to
a clean, smart, national electricity system that will create jobs,
reduce energy use, expand renewable energy production, and cut carbon

$100 Million for Smart Grid Workforce Training
Secretary Chu also announced the availability of $100 million in
funding from the Recovery Act to support workforce training for the
electric power industry. This initiative will expand job creation and
career advancement opportunities associated with smart grid and
electricity transmission projects and will help establish training
programs for workers in the utility industry and electrical
manufacturing sectors who will play a key role in modernizing the
country's electrical grid.

The Funding Opportunity Announcement announced today will support two
primary workforce training strategies:
- $35 -$40 million to develop training programs, strategies and
curricula that will be used as models for how to train or retrain
workers in the electric power sector, with a focus on achieving a
national, clean energy smart grid. This funding will be open to a
range of applicants, including utilities, colleges and universities,
trade schools, and labor organizations.
- $60-$65 million to conduct workforce training programs for new hires
and retraining programs for electric utility workers and electrical
equipment manufacturers to further knowledge of smart grid
technologies and their implementation.

These programs will expand the United States' capability to
manufacture and install the electrical equipment and new technologies
needed to implement the smart grid, and help ensure that the U.S.
maintains its position as a global leader in innovation and
technological advancement.

$44 Million for State Public Utility Commissions
State public utility commissions (PUCs), which regulate and oversee
electricity projects in their states, will be receiving more than
$44.2 million in Recovery Act funding to hire new staff and retrain
existing employees to ensure they have the capacity to quickly and
effectively review proposed electricity projects. The funds will help
the individual state PUCs accelerate reviews of the large number of
electric utility requests that are expected under the Recovery Act.
State PUCs will be reviewing electric utility investments in projects
such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, carbon capture and
storage, transmission lines, energy storage, smart grid, demand
response equipment, and electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Food additive for cows reduces methane emissions

This article is one of a series featuring finalists from World Challenge 09 - a global competition seeking to identify and reward projects and businesses which bring economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities through grassroots solutions. World Challenge 09 is run by BBC World News and Newsweek, in association with Shell.

World Challenge ’09 finalist - Mootral
Mootral came about as a result of a research collaboration with Aberystwyth University, led by Professor Jamie Newbold, looking at the effect of different plant extracts for reducing methane emissions in ruminants in an artificial rumen model. Neem Biotech's garlic extract was the most effective out of over 2000 plant extracts tested in vitro, reducing methane by 94 per cent. A further trial fed to sheep showed a 15 per cent reduction in methane. A business model has been developed under the brand name Mootral and aims to enable carbon emitters such as airlines to buy into the scheme by offsetting their emissions via carbon credits. Sufficient revenue would be generated to enable the feed additive to be offered free of charge to distributors and farmers who in turn would receive payments from the scheme from surplus revenue.

How does the project benefit the community and environment?
Mootral aims to make ruminant livestock production more energy efficient by reducing the amount of wasted energy in the form of methane into the atmosphere. This benefits the environment by reducing GHG emissions, a major contributor to climate change, being up to 72 times more potent than CO2. It is estimated that on average 20 per cent of global warming is caused by ruminant livestock emissions and a reduction of 15-25 per cent with optimum dose rates, would offer a significant reduction in global warming.

What would the project do if it won World Challenge?
Neem Biotech Ltd gained considerable success by coming second in the FT Climate Challenge Competition 2009 and aims to build on that achievement. The firm hopes to gather further efficacy data on its additive, looking at dose rates, timing of doses, longevity and the most efficient methods of delivery to the animal. Its goal is to generate this data for global registrations, starting with EU registration.

World Challenge '09 - who will get your vote?
It's up to the public to decide who wins this year's World Challenge competition. Online voting opens on 28 September and runs to 13 November. BBC World News is broadcasting six 30-minute programmes profiling each of the 12 World Challenge 09 finalists throughout October and November.

Find out more
World Challenge website and online voting:

Friday, September 18, 2009

How Your Favorite Brands Use Solar Power: Forbes 50

You might be surprised at how many of the fattest conglomerates in the world claim to care about solar power and renewable energy. And given that most are oil, gas or bank firms, they all have some connection to the solar industry.

Below are the Top 20 Forbes companies and a quick description of how they succeed, or epically fail, for that matter, at incorporating solar power into their business model. And then we’ll complete the top 50 with a few highlights of those companies that excel above their peers. Solar Hall of Shame, here we come…

1. General Electric
The clear winner of the 2009 Forbes Global 2000 is General Electric, one of our oldest surviving corporate conglomerates. GE employs 323,000 people worldwide and has nearly $800 billion in assets, but its environmental record over that 100+ years is not as rosy as its ability to grow. GE is also in the top 5 polluters in the U.S. (based on year 2000 stats). Now that the green revolution is picking up speed, GE has jumped on the bandwagon. In 2005, they initiated the “Ecomagination” program to develop new energy and efficiency technologies, including solar energy. GE invested roughly $900 million in renewable energy alone, including the sale and manufacture of complete solar electric systems for the commercial, residential and utility sectors.

2. Royal Dutch Shell
Officially the largest oil and gas company in the world, Shell is the last of the corporate oil and gas giants on the list. It was also one of the most diversified of the group, but most attempts to integrate Shell’s energy portfolio have dissolved without long-term success. In 2006, Shell sold the entirety of its solar energy operations — roughly 80 megawatts’ worth — to German solar giant SolarWorld. Shell’s energy diversity at this point revolves around hydrogen, biofuels, carbon capture, compressed natural gas, and its original claims to fame: oil, gas and chemicals.

3. Toyota
Toyota’s got an obvious winner on the energy efficiency front: its hybrid Prius, complete with optional solar ventilation for the newest model. Toyota is the hands-down leader in fuel efficiency and sustainability in the mainstream auto industry. But rooftop solar panels on the Prius is not the extent of Toyota’s reach into renewable energy. In 2009, Toyota commissioned the world’s first solar-powered car carrier to transport its own cars, as well as its Lexus and Scion brands. The second-largest single-roof solar power installation in North America sits atop Toyota’s North American Parts Center in Ontario, California. Several of Toyota’s buildings, including the first auto dealer in the nation to receive the honor, are LEED certified.

4. ExxonMobil.
The largest publicly traded international energy company in the world, ExxonMobil is also the least popular. Its contemporaries, BP, Shell, Chevron, et al, have all at least ostensibly embraced alternative energy sources, but ExxonMobil remains distant. The company does list climate change and energy efficiency as important “twin challenges of our time,” but appears not to be all motivated by them. They do point to ongoing opportunities to increase energy efficiency at their plants by 15-20 percent, but no long-term plans. Solar energy gets a shout-out as a potential long-term solution after 2030.

5. British Petroleum
BP is one of the Big Seven oil companies, but also a longtime leader in the solar industry. Its BP Solar arm has gained its own individual identity, manufacturing and installing solar panels around the world. BP Solar is not only one of the top solar manufacturers in the world, but also one of the top commercial users of solar energy.

6. HSBC Holdings
“The World’s Local Bank,” as it cleverly says on the website of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (based in Great Britain), HSBC has developed a policy for lending to socially and environmentally sensitive sectors to restrict or encourage investment in certain areas or to certain companies depending on the environmental characteristics of the situation. Tricky, I know. HSBC apparently has no direct involvement in the solar industry outside of possible financing agreements.

7. AT&T
AT&T is a household name in the United States and one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. But any solar energy future for AT&T is still undetermined. In 2008, a 1-megawatt solar PV array was installed on a facility in San Ramon, California. That, plus an agreement to buy wind energy in Austin, Texas, constitutes the whole of AT&T’s foray into alternative energy.

8. Wal-Mart
It’s hard to find a more controversial and well-known company in the U.S. It’s both wildly popular and widely criticized. Wal-Mart is the largest grocery chain in the United States, with 1.3 million workers in the U.S. alone. And yet on average, Wal-Mart workers make 25 percent less in wages than competing grocery store workers. Wal-Mart is also on the Global Exchange list of 14 Worst Corporate Evildoers. Perhaps in an effort to clear its tarnished name, Wal-Mart has set remarkable goals toward sustainability and renewable energy implementation at its stores. A few years ago, the company vowed to someday supply 100 percent of its power from renewable sources. In California, Wal-Mart already has 18 solar arrays in place on its stores, with 10-20 more planned for the coming year. These arrays will power 20-30 percent of each location’s electrical needs. If only they cared about humans as much as the planet…

9. Chevron.
Chevron is a mixed bag. On the one hand, you have blatant environmental abuses, and on the other, Chevron Energy Solutions, which recently installed a 1.2-MW solar electric system in downtown Los Angeles. This is a company that was also named by Global Exchange as one of the 14 Worst Corporate Evildoers on the planet for environment and human rights abuses, but then again, Fast Company magazine named Chevron Energy Solutions (not its parent company, mind you) as one of the “Most Innovative Clean Energy Companies” in the world. Still, the vast proportion of Chevron’s revenue and profit comes through its oil and gas operations, and it’s hard to support such a paradoxical group.

10. Banco Santander
Banco Santander Central Hispano, a newcomer to the Forbes top 10, is nothing short of a banking cartel. In the last 10 years, Banco Santander has been swallowing up banks throughout Europe and is now the largest bank dealing in Euros. Last Spring, the bank created a venture capital firm with the sole purpose of investing in renewable energy. In 2006, Banco Santander signed a historic deal with BP Solar to build as many as 278 PV solar plants throughout Spain with a total capacity of up to 25 MW.

11. Total
No, it’s not the nutritious, delicious brand of cereal. Total is the fifth oil and gas company on the list. It formed in France and makes an avid commitment to new energy sources, including solar. So far, Total’s involvement in the solar industry has manifested through two partially owned subsidiaries: Tenesol (with EDF Group - #27), which designs, installs and maintains solar panels, and Photovoltech, a recent joint-venture with GDF SUEZ (#17) that manufactures high-performance PV solar cells.
12. ICBC
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest in its country and one of China’s “Big Four” state-owned banks, including CCB-#23 and Bank of China-#30. In terms of market value, ICBC is the largest bank in the world. According to their website, in just the first half of 2009, the bank had already lent RMB 400 billion ($58.5 billion) to support what they call “environment protective industries,” including alternative energy development.
13. Gazprom
Gazprom is what you might call corporate fallout from the end of the Cold War. When the Russian Ministry of Gas Industry turned itself into a corporation in 1989, Gazprom was born. Today, it’s the largest company in Russia and the second largest natural gas extractor in the world. Gazprom, of course, claims an environmental statement that includes careful extraction and transmission of its product, as well as at least ostentatious moves toward energy conservation, but has little to do with solar power. Like Jupiter, Gazprom is simply a gas giant.

14. PetroChina.
On the company website, oil conglomerate PetroChina boasts climate change awareness, having signed onto some key international agreements, such as the UN’s Global Compact, as well as helping to implement China’s National Climate Change Programme (always interesting to see leaders of the world’s most polluting industries working on climate change plans). But PetroChina has little to do with environmental responsibility. For example, they recently agreed to invest in harvesting oil sands in Canada. These sands are widely regarded as some of the dirtiest oil deposits on Earth, where there’s not a lot of oil to give, but certainly a whole lot of environmental risks.

15. Volkswagen
Volkswagen is in many ways a cult hero among international automakers. Its Beetle was (and is) ultimate predecessor to today’s compact car. Together with the company’s infamous road-tripping van, it has long provided Volkswagen with an air of “greenness.” Nowadays, when getting green is finally serious in the auto industry, Volkswagen is not so much about solar, as can be expected from an auto company, but rightly focuses more on fuel efficiency and alternative fuels. Drivers can expect to find the first in a new line of VW plug-in hybrids at their local VW dealership soon. The small van will have 12 on-board batteries to carry the car 62 miles on a single charge–not so hot–but a hydrogen fuel cell will also tag along to increase that range to roughly 220 miles, with the added help of roof-mounted solar panels.

16. JP Morgan Chase
One of the world’s largest and most notorious financial institutions, JP Morgan Chase has been connected to the violence in Darfur, war profiteering in Iraq, South African apartheid, and business ethics violations, among other allegations. But when it comes to renewable energy, criticism for our nation’s second largest bank dissolves. In 2008, JP Morgan bought a British carbon offset company to increase investments in solar and renewable energy. The company has also made it more difficult for new coal projects to get financing and in 2005, adopted a “sustainability commitment,” which included integrating environmental and social responsibility into the bank’s credit analysis and decision process regarding potential lending.

French utility company-turned-global conglomerate, GDF SUEZ and is now the second largest retail electricity provider in the United States. Along with Total (#11), GDF SUEZ shares subsidiary Photovoltech, a PV module maker in Belgium. Photovoltech is a relatively recent acquisition and marks GDF SUEZ’s first real step into the solar manufacturing sector, although they do own Iberdrola, which operates (or is waiting to build and operate) some solar power plants here in the U.S. and abroad.

18. ENI
ENI is an “integrated energy company,” which, in this case, means an oil and gas company looking to improve its image and increase its appeal to today’s more green-minded stakeholders. As far as solar energy goes, in early 2008, ENI and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) began a research partnership into advanced solar technologies - funding to the tune of $50 million over five years.

19. Berkshire Hathaway
Berkshire Hathaway is quite the conglomerate. Based in Omaha, Nebraska and founded by Warren Buffet, still partial owner and world’s second richest man, Berkshire Hathaway owns a slew of famous brands and companies ranging from retail products to the insurance industry, including GEICO, Fruit of the Loom, See’s Candies and more. Despite dozens of subsidiaries, Berkshire Hathaway has little apparent connection to the solar industry. One subsidiary and the nation’s largest homebuilder, Clayton Homes, however, has developed the i-House, allegedly the nation’s first affordable, green manufactured home to utilize solar energy design.

20. Vodafone
Vodafone is a leading international telecommunications firm based in the United Kingdom. On a sustainability level, Vodafone plans to cut all company emissions 50 percent by 2020 based on 2006 levels. In terms of renewable energy, Vodafone is currently “exploring” potential solar and wind energy operations.

21. Mitsubishi Financial (Japan)22. Procter & Gamble (USA)23. CCB-China Construction Bank (China)

24. Verizon Communications (USA)
Not stellar in the solar field, but does use solar power to provide energy to remote cell towers, delivering signals to its remote customers. There are also solar panels installed on Verizon’s central office in Tampa, Florida.

25. Petrobras-Petroleo Brasil (Brazil)26. Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (Japan)

27. EDF Group
EDF Group is partial owner of Tenesol, a leading producer of photovoltaic panels. EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF EN), yet another half-owned subsidiary, has been active in all sectors of the solar industry for nearly 20 years. In 2008 EDF EN switched on France’s largest solar plant in the city of Narbonne. EDF EN has the ultimate goal of reaching 2000 MW of solar energy throughout Europe and North America.

28. IBM
IBM cannot be ignored a mover and shaker in the United States, and last year IBM scientists reached a breakthrough in “concentrating photovoltaics” (CPV) by using a large lens to concentrate a record 230 watts of solar energy onto a one centimeter square solar cell, creating 70 watts of usable electricity in the process.

29. BNP Paribas (France)30. Bank of China (China)31. Telefonica (Spain) installed a 3 MW solar array on its Madrid headquarters.32. Nestle (Switzerland)33. Sinopec-China Petroleum (China)

34. Credit Agricole (France)
35. Siemens (Germany)
Once a powerful force in the solar industry, Siemens Solar was sold to Royal Dutch Shell (#2) in 2002. Today Siemens does make steam turbines for use in solar thermal plants as well as photovoltaic inverters for use in electric systems.
36. Hewlett-Packard (USA)
HP is certainly a corporate leader when it comes to sustainability, recycling and conservation. On the solar front, in 2007 HP hired SunPower to build and operate a solar PV array on HP’s San Diego facility. A similar deal in Ireland, this one involving wind power, will result in 90 percent of the company’s energy usage in that country will have renewable origins.
37. Intesa Sanpaolo (Italy)38. Bank of America39. Honda Motors (Japan)40. BBVA-Banco Bilbao Vizcaya (Spain)41. ArcelorMittal (Luxembourg)

42. Johnson & Johnson (USA)
Johnson & Johnson is the largest corporate user of on site solar power with over 3.5 megawatts of sunny energy collected at various sites under J&J ownership.

43. ENEL (Italy)
ENEL is a large utility company that has at least one current solar distinction worth mentioning. In addition to a solar array on its headquarters in Italy, ENEL has inked a deal with Sharp to create 1 gigawatt of solar power per year.

44. UniCredit Group (Italy)45. Generali Group (Italy)46. France Telecom (France)

47. Samsung Electronics (South Korea)
Samsung, a traditional microchip maker, is new to the mass production of solar cells but already has the noteworthy goal of topping the solar cell market by 2015.

48. Deutsche Bank (Germany)
It’s not just a PGA golf championship, it is the German bank that is funding the Solar Impulse project to fly a solar plane around the world.

49. Microsoft (USA)
The quintessential computer company has added a little solar power to Silicon Valley, in the form of a 480 kW solar PV system on the roof of one of its data centers. The move has helped the facility cope with regular summer blackouts in the region.

50. Pfizer (USA)
This pharmaceuticals giant is no friend to those of us without health care and it brings up the end of the line in our abridged version of the Forbes Global 2000. Pfizer executives were recently forced to pay a record $2.3 billion in fines for fraudulent drug marketing (not the first time), but apparently they haven’t been completely lying about working to halt climate change. In 2007 Pfizer was one of 68 companies, and the only pharmaceutical company, to be named to the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI), a non-profit coalition of global investors.

Solar Cells Record Efficency achieved by Q-Cells

- 15.9% module efficiency with polycrystalline cells from Q-Cells, ISE-certified module generates 249 W
- 2010 market launch of the new-generation polycrystalline cells

Just as the PVSEC approaches, Q-Cells SE shows what their cells are made of: The technologists in the Solar Valley Thalheim have succeeded in designing a module with an efficiency of 15.9% using the next generation of polycrystalline cells. This is a world record for mass-produced cells manufactured according to common industrial standards!

The module, which has an output of 249 W, has already been tested and certified by an independent institute, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg. It was created in Q-Cells own module test centre in Thalheim, where a team has been researching the interaction at the interface between the solar cell and the module for almost a year. In 2008, Q-Cells invested around 50 million to construct a pilot plant, the so-called Technikum , in which the module test line was set up. The findings obtained there were bundled and provided to the customers. As a result, the customers can further benefit from the potential contained in cells manufactured by Q-Cells, thus increasing the competitiveness of cell and module manufacturers. Q-Cells is therefore adding another significant component to its existing range of services, which is already distinguished from competitors by a unique after-sales service.

With an efficiency of up to 17%, the cells, produced in Q-Cells' existing production lines, are among the best polycrystalline cells currently available. The high-performance cell is expected to be launched on the market in 2010 after the development phase has been finished. Q-Cells foresees further increases in the efficiency rating by then. The efficiencies already achieved are only the beginning. We are of course delighted with this achievement, which is after all a world record. Particularly in such difficult times as the present, this is evidence that we should continue to focus strongly on technology. demonstrates the technological capabilities and advantages that we at Q-Cells and more generally in a country such as Germany have, which are increasingly important to ensure competitiveness, and especially compared to more commoditised producers using standard technologies in low-cost countries. We intend to build on these advantages going forward , commented Anton Milner, Chairman of the Executive Board at Q-Cells SE.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Watteco Launches Home Energy Efficiency Module for Smart Grid Applications

Watteco's Module for Energy Management and Smart Plug Applications will be Exhibited at Platt European Smart Grid Strategies Conference

Watteco, a French System on Chip (SoC) manufacturer of "no new wire" Power Line Communication (PLC) modems for energy efficiency and intelligent home control applications, today launched one of the first home energy command and control modules to support the development of a two-way, end-to-end communications fabric for the world's electricity system based on Internet Protocol (IP) standards. The company has begun shipping a version of its Watt Pulse Communications (WPC™) PLC product, the WPC-IP that supports the IPv6 Over Low Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPAN) protocol for home energy management, smart plug, smart metering and other smart grid applications.

Watteco will demonstrate its new WPC-IP module in Cisco's booth at the Platt European Smart Grid Strategies Conference, Sept. 17- 18, in Berlin, Germany. Watteco is a member of the Cisco Smart Grid Ecosystem, which is designed to facilitate the adoption of IP-based communications standards for smart grids that will benefit the energy industry, as well as business and residential customers.

The WPC-IP module is directly installed on existing indoor/outdoor electricity wire. It delivers a low-cost, compact, extremely robust solution for developing home command-and-control networks that use IP-based, industry-standard protocols to manage and streamline energy usage while enhancing home comfort and security. The latest version of Watteco's WPC module enables IPv6 packets to be carried in the Smart Grid.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) in its publication entitled, "The Smart Grid: An Introduction," a less centralized, more consumer-interactive two-way smart grid is expected to ease congestion and increase utilization (of full capacity), sending 50 percent to 300 percent more electricity through existing corridors. Another DoE study projects energy savings of 5 percent to 15 percent from smart grid. The DoE has said that a grid efficiency improvement of even 5 percent will equate to permanently eliminating the fuel and greenhouse gas emissions from 53 million cars.

"We are pleased to be working with Cisco and other partners and customers to help realize the industry's vision of intelligent and resilient end-to-end management of power supply and demand," said Eric Berthaud, chairman, Watteco SAS. The WPC module will help the industry realize what companies like Cisco have described as a complete electricity system communications fabric -- from electrical generation to business and the home -- based on IP standards. The goal is for any device to be able to talk to any other device at any location -- in the home, at the meter, at the substation, or in the grid."

Watteco's WPC-IP module supports all key IEEE 802.15.4 radio protocol stacks, is easy to integrate and delivers a low bill of materials cost. It provides a direct bridge between PLC technologies and any radio frequency (RF) technologies including ZigBee™ or 802.15.4 stack, as well as lower-layer protocols. It operates at 10 kbits/s bi-directional PLC data rates, while consuming less than 10mW of power (100 times less than alternative PLC technologies), and it occupies less than 2.5cm² of board space. Integrating the WPC-IP device into Command and Control Smart Energy systems improves compatibility with other open standards, facilitates integration with 6LoWPAN and other IP networks, and increases coverage as compared to alternative solutions that don't support the same breadth of industry-standard wired and wireless networking protocols.

According to ABI Research, industry-standard, IP-based IEEE 802.15.4 technology is set to underpin a new generation of consumer electronics remote control solutions. Additionally, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) trials, U.S. investment initiatives, and a growing interest in smart energy and utility management herald a move towards full-scale smart energy solution rollouts using the technology.

"ABI Research believes that the rapid injection of capital to be provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will solidify and encourage more investment in smart metering and the smart grid," said senior analyst Sam Lucero.

Fuel-efficient stoves reduce destruction of gorilla habitat

This article is one of a series looking at the 12 finalists for the World Challenge 09 - a global competition seeking to identify and reward projects and businesses which bring economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities through grassroots solutions. World Challenge 09 is run by BBC World News and Newsweek, in association with Shell.

World Challenge '09 finalist - Stoves for Survival
The Gorilla Organization launched the Stoves for Survival project to support local communities in tackling one of the greatest threats to mountain gorilla survival. Through capacity building and engaging local communities in conservation efforts, the Gorilla Organization is working towards its goal of securing the survival of the world’s last gorillas. The impoverished communities surrounding the Virunga National Park, DR Congo - home to the critically endangered mountain gorilla - are densely populated, with the majority of households practising subsistence farming and lacking basic amenities, including electricity. Families are therefore reliant on firewood and charcoal, used extensively for cooking and heating, but the use of these resources has a negative impact both socially and environmentally. The collection of firewood from the park is incredibly time-consuming and physically exhausting. Children are often involved which means their education suffers as a result, and burning fuel within the household damages health due to the large volumes of noxious smoke given off. Furthermore, both firewood collection and illegal charcoal production have a detrimental effect on the environment through habitat destruction.

How did the project come about?
The Gorilla Organization partnered with Congolese NGO AIDE-Kivu (Appui aux Initiatives de DE©veloppement et Gestion de l’Environnement au Kivu) to launch a fuel-efficient stove project in January 2008. The aim is to reduce the local communities’ reliance on the resources of the Virunga National Park through the production and distribution of fuel-efficient‚ ‘Jiko’ stoves, which reduce the consumption of firewood and charcoal by at least 55%. A stove production centre was set up and a multimedia campaign, involving a combination of discussions, radio broadcasts and leaflet distribution, has been educating the communities on the benefits of owning a stove, as well as covering topics related to environmental protection and conservation. The stoves produced in the centre are sold for $2 each, as purchasing them gives a sense of ownership and ensures the stoves are used and maintained, and the funds generated are reinvested in the project. The demand for stoves has increased rapidly since the project began, and at the end of 2008 a total of 496 stoves had been produced.

How does the project measure its achievements?
Families with Jiko stoves are now using just 1.5 sacks of charcoal per month instead of the four used before they owned a stove, and charcoal vendors from the local market have reported a drop in sales. Initial indications suggest that illegal charcoal production is being brought under control, with Stoves for Survival contributing to this. The project is still relatively new, so once it is fully established the Gorilla Organization will be able to measure the environmental impact it is having.

How does the project benefit the community and environment?
The time used collecting firewood and the amount of money spent on charcoal have been greatly reduced, giving the opportunity for income-generation and savings, as well as social activities. In addition, children are able to attend school on a more regular basis, as they are not tied up with firewood collection as often. Because the stoves use less fuel than a traditional fire, the volume of smoke produced is smaller and therefore far less detrimental to health. In terms of environmental benefits, the reduction in human pressure contributes to a more secure future for the national park, while burning a smaller amount of fuel also means that less carbon dioxide is produced and more trees remain standing, therefore contributing to the fight against climate change.

How does the project use environmental resources sustainably?
Jiko stoves are produced from just two materials: a metal barrel that forms the main body and clay, which makes up the stove’s ceramic components. The metal, which is recycled, is obtained from the market, where it is freely available, and the clay is sourced from an area where it is abundant and its removal has no detrimental effect on the environment. While charcoal and firewood are still used in the stoves, the quantities needed are far less, and to combat the detrimental effect of firewood collection even further, the Gorilla Organization also runs a tree-growing project. This encourages and assists the communities to replace the trees they use, and contributes to the sustainable use of environmental resources.

What are the long-term benefits of the project?
This project is a straightforward way to tackle three of the world’s greatest challenges: poverty, loss of biodiversity and climate change. The lives of those benefiting from stoves have improved considerably since the project began, with the money saved on charcoal helping to develop livelihoods. Health is improving as a result of reduced fuel consumption, and children are receiving a better education as they spend far less time collecting firewood. The environmental benefits are also considerable, as the demand for charcoal and collection of firewood from the park is steadily reducing, so in the long-term, the level of deforestation will fall. As reliance on the forest resources diminishes, the critically endangered mountain gorilla will prosper and the biodiversity of the Virunga National Park - a World Heritage Site - will flourish. The production and promotion of fuel-efficient stoves is also contributing towards the fight against climate change, which is one of today’s most widely discussed and pertinent issues. This project can operate on any scale, the benefits are immediate and the impact will continue indefinitely.

World Challenge '09 - who will get your vote?
It's up to the public to decide who wins this year's World Challenge competition. Online voting opens on 28 September and runs to 13 November. BBC World News is broadcasting six 30-minute programmes profiling each of the 12 World Challenge 09 finalists throughout October and November.

Find out more
World Challenge website and online voting:
Stoves for Survival:!Firewood_Saving_Stoves

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Customer Feedback: Solar Home in Camarillo, California - Chris & Wanda with SunRun as provider

This article is one of a series featuring feedbacks from customers who have turned into renewable energy producers or implemented energy efficiency plans.

- Happily married and enjoying retirement, Chris and Wanda have lived in Camarillo, California for the past 20 years. Since Chris retired from his job as a school administrator several years ago, he's loved having time to play golf, softball, and bridge with Wanda.

What they weren't enjoying about retirement was their electricity bills. Over the past few years, Chris had noticed his monthly power bills gradually getting more and more expensive, and it was daunting to think just how high those electricity bills might get.

Hoping to save money, Chris and Wanda started researching solar power. They contacted several solar installation companies but were disappointed every time. The price tag for solar electric panels was just too high to fit in their budget.

Chris and Wanda had all but given up when they heard about SunRun Power Plan. Finally, Chris and Wanda could switch to solar electricity while staying in their budget. They pay for solar electricity by the month, as they use it. And they love knowing that the rate they pay for solar electricity won't ever go up, unlike the utility company's rates.

Plus, because SunRun Power Plan comes with Full System Management, Chris and Wanda won't ever have to skip a round of golf or a game of bridge to take care of their solar system. They know they'll always get all the solar power they should because of SunRun's annual money-back performance guarantee. That means they'll never see those high utility bills again and that's what really matters.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CIIE calls for Partners in the Renewable Energy Space - New Clean Energy Fund in India

CIIE is an initiative to promote innovation-driven entrepreneurship and has been set up as a collaborative effort between Gujarat Government, IIM Ahmedabad and Government of India. The "Renewable Energy Search" ( is an attempt to identify and build feasible solutions to overcome the energy challenge being faced by India. This initiative is endorsed by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (Government of India) and several other stakeholders in the clean energy space.

As part of its new early stage Clean Energy fund, CIIE is looking to partner with researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs in the Renewable Energy space from all parts of the world. CIIE offers incubation; funding and mentoring are some ways in which we support our investee companies.

CIIE would like to reach out to professionals who may be working in the energy sector globally or who are interested in entering the energy sector in India. In addition, CIIE would like to leverage the technical expertise of the members who may be interested in building solutions to India's energy problems.

Please contact: Phanindra Pappu - Program Director, RE- Search - Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship - IIM Ahmedabad, Vastrapur, Ahmedabad – 380015 - Gujarat - tel: +91-79-66324204;

Monday, September 14, 2009

Solar energy solutions for rural Palestine

This article is one of a series featuring the 12 finalists for the World Challenge 09 - a global competition seeking to identify and reward projects and businesses which bring economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities through grassroots solutions. World Challenge 09 is run by BBC World News and Newsweek, in association with Shell.

World Challenge '09 finalist: Comet-ME
The goal of Comet-ME is to facilitate social and economical empowerment in the communities of South Mount Hebron through material support and capacity building. The core of the project is the provision of basic energy services for off-grid communities in a way that is both environmentally and socially sustainable. These energy services include the required hardware and the local capacity to maintain and install existing and additional systems. Although the funding and know-how come from outside of the community, the entire decision-making process is done by the community's local committee.

How does the project benefit the community?
The community benefits from the project in two main ways. Firstly, the provision of basic energy services for homes provides night time illumination and enables communication with the outside world. Children need light in order to study, and charging mobile phones often provides the only link to the outside world. Electric lighting replaces, in many cases, harmful and dangerous oil burning lamps. Secondly, the ability to refrigerate and store milk and dairy produce increases the potential for generating revenue and reducing the cycle of deep poverty. Refrigerating perishable foods reduces spending on foodstuffs, helping to improve the quality of the diet.

How does the project use environmental resources sustainably?
Providing systems that rely on renewable energy sources (sometimes replacing polluting oil burning lamps or diesel generators) helps to protect a particularly vulnerable environment. Both the indoor air quality and the carbon footprint of the communities are significantly improved.

Find out more at

BBC World Newsis broadcasting six 30-minute programmes profiling each of the World Challenge 09 finalists. The audience and readers are then invited to vote online - - for their favourite project or business from 28 September. To get involved you can also join World Challenge on Facebook:

New 3MW offshore wind turbine by Vestas

Today, at the European Offshore Wind Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, Vestas will announce a new turbine for the offshore market.

The V112-3.0 MW offshore model is optimised for the conditions at sea and will be a hard working, reliable turbine. The V112-3.0 MW Offshore can generate more power than any other turbine in the 3 MW class. It
offers an exceptional rotor-to-generator ratio for greater efficiency, and delivers high reliability, serviceability and availability under all wind and weather conditions - setting a whole new standard for turbine performance and efficiency. It features an extended production envelope, and delivers optimal output in average wind speeds up to 9.5 m/s. The V112-3.0 MW will be class individually IECS certified for each separate offshore project.

"This is a milestone for Vestas. The launch of yet another turbine for the offshore market underlines our commitment to remain a strong and leading player in the offshore industry. Vestas is fully dedicated to
keep servicing our offshore customers and to provide them with the best possible business case certainty. The V112-3.0 MW Offshore is one more step towards Vestas becoming even more competitive in the offshore market, and we do not intend to stop here. We are in the offshore market for the long run, and we will therefore have even more to reveal in this respect within the coming months," Anders Søe-Jensen, President of Vestas Offshore explains.

As an outcome of this dedication, Vestas has joined a research programme with Nowitech, Norway, on floating foundations suitable for water depths of more than 30 metres.

"We are continuously looking into different solutions and materials that will bring even more value to our customers and lower the cost of energy in future offshore wind power plants. In that respect, floating foundations could be one possibility, and we consequently want to be involved in the relevant research being conducted," Anders Søe-Jensen

Marketing of the V112-3.0 MW Offshore will commence now, and the first
turbines will be installed in late 2010 and serial delivery in 2011.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Leading solar conference in India: Intersolar

Intersolar, the world's largest trade show for solar technology, is expanding into India. Intersolar India will take place for the first time in 2009 in association with SOLARCON® India, being held in Hyderabad from November 9-11. Alongside the Intersolar events in Munich and San Francisco, the trade show will now have a third international location.

Together with SOLARCON® India, Intersolar India is the leading conference for the photovoltaics industry in India. The three-day program will be complemented by an inaugural accompanying exhibition which is due to be greatly expanded for 2010 and onward. The collaboration in India sees Intersolar further increases its well-established partnership with SEMI PV Group, the leading global industry association for the semiconductor and photovoltaics industry and organizer of SOLARCON®. This year's conference will focus on the development of the Indian PV market. The event will be inaugurated on November 9 by key officials from the Government of India, Government of Andhra Pradesh and industry leaders. Prof. Eicke Weber, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) of Freiburg is slated to deliver the keynote.

The upcoming Indian solar market
India has long been considered a potentially attractive market for solar technology by the industry. With the new "National Action Plan on Climate Change" that was adopted by the Indian government in 2008, that hope is now being realized. According to plans drawn up by the "National Solar Mission" at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, solar installations with a total capacity of 20 gigawatts (GW) are to be installed in India by 2020. To achieve this objective, photovoltaic installations, including rooftop, ground-based arrays and off-grid applications, as well as solar thermal power plants, will be key.

It is an ambitious goal. As only a few projects have been implemented to date, most of the planned 20GW will have to be realized within the next eleven years. This amounts to annual installation of approximately 1.8GW. If achieved, India would join the current leading nations in rate of annual installed solar technology. Therefore, the opportunities in the Indian market are particularly robust at the present time, and ever-more international solar companies are reacting to this new development.

SOLARCON® India and Intersolar India 2009
Intersolar India, just like Intersolar North America, is being jointly organized by Solar Promotion International GmbH and Freiburg Management and Marketing International GmbH (FMMI). SOLARCON® India is being organized by PV Group, which is an initiative of SEMI, the global association for the semiconductor and photovoltaics industry. SOLARCON® India and Intersolar India are supported by the leading Indian solar companies.

Nordex invests 100 M$ in US wind turbines facility, plans 700 new jobs

Nordex USA, Inc., a leading manufacturer of utility-scale wind turbines, today held a groundbreaking celebration at the construction site of its $100 million manufacturing facility in Jonesboro, Arkansas. At the event, management presented its vision for a renewable energy future, as well as details on plans to hire 700 people by 2014. Leaders from government, business and the community attended the celebration, expressing hope for the revitalization of American manufacturing and the birth of a new industry in Arkansas.

“I am pleased that Nordex has chosen Arkansas for its manufac-turing center,” Governor Mike Beebe said. “Our success in the clean-energy economy is exciting, and having a global wind-energy company, like Nordex, in the Natural State helps to pro-mote sustainability, alternative-energy development, and environ-mentally-friendly practices.”

The first phase of construction began at the 187-acre site in Craighead Technology Park in late July. Nordex has been unde-terred in its plans to build and hire. “We are positioning ourselves for the market surge around the corner,” said Ralf Sigrist, Presi-dent and CEO of Nordex USA, based in Chicago. “We are abso-lutely confident that the US wind market will be the biggest in the world. ‘Made-in-Arkansas’ is at the core of our strategy to win.” Production is scheduled to begin in mid 2010.

Nordex is already seeing a pick up in the market. It recently com-pleted the 62.5 megawatt “Highland” wind farm in Pennsylvania and is working on further projects. Parent company Nordex AG at-tributes much of its profit growth to the US market. The US ac-counted for 12 percent of the company’s global sales, up from roughly one percent in the previous year. “I repeatedly sense that nowhere is the renewable energy vision stronger than in the United States,” remarked Thomas Richterich, CEO of Nordex AG. “And when America catches a vision, the whole world changes.”

A windfall of jobs
At the ceremony, management gave an update on the hiring schedule. “We expect to be producing up to 300 wind turbines a year by 2014,” said Joe Brenner, VP of Production in Jonesboro. “It will take a highly-skilled, well-trained workforce of around 700 people to make that happen. Right now we have five people and a construction zone. So we’re looking at a strong ramp-up and an aggressive recruiting and training program.”

Hiring will span about four years. Nordex plans to locally employ close to 100 people by the end of 2010, as it begins ramping up nacelle assembly, in the areas of operations, office support, supply management, production engineering, quality assurance and more. Recruiting will begin in January followed by hiring in the spring. The nacelle workforce will gradually reach up to 240 people as the plant approaches full capacity over the next two and a half years. Recruiting and hiring will follow a similar pattern for the rotor blade facility, which will be built in phase two of the construction. Job openings will be posted on the company’s website at, with additional details to come.

Besides direct hires, Nordex is also creating jobs through the con-tracting of services. For example, Nordex has contracted with the construction firm, H&M Company, Inc. of Jackson, Tennessee, which is dedicating between 250 and 300 workers to the construction project.

Finally, the company is localizing its supply chain. “We want to foster a neighborhood of local wind players around Jonesboro,” said Brenner. “Logistically, it’s more efficient to share a backyard than to ship large components cross-country.”

Plant details
The Jonesboro operation will be an original equipment manufac-turer (OEM) producing one of the largest classes of wind turbines in the world, the 2.5 megawatt N90 and N100. Each of these util-ity-scale turbines is capable of generating enough renewable en-ergy to power about 700 American homes. In 2000, Nordex built the first turbine this large and has the longest track record for reli-ability in the multi-megawatt class. The $40 million nacelle assembly plant will have 115,000 square feet of production space, 10,000 square feet for a Training Academy and 35,000 square feet of office space. The $60 million rotor blade facility is then expected to begin production in late 2012.

Heating and cooling at the plant will be powered entirely by geo-thermal energy. “The investment will pay for itself within 12 years,” said Sigrist, “and will save considerable amounts over the long run. Just as renewable energy will do for all of America. The investment pays off.”

U.S. to become largest market for small solar energy installations by 2011

Distributed energy generation, using a variety of renewable power technologies, is one of the most important tools for addressing the
challenge of meeting the world's growing electricity demands. Within the Renewable Distributed Energy Generation (RDEG) market, sub-utility scale solar photovoltaics (PV) systems are by far the largest and most significant segment. According to a recent report from Pike Research, the distributed solar energy market is poised for dramatic growth over the next few years, and the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that global installed capacity will approach 2.5 gigawatts by 2012, with annual system revenues surpassing $55 billion.

"Residential and commercial solar energy remains a subsidy-driven market, but we expect the reliance on government and utility incentives to subside over the next several years as cost structures improve with economies of scale," says senior analyst David Link, who authored the report. "The dependence on feed-in tariffs and other incentives will be far lower in Europe within 3-5 years and in the U.S. within 5-10 years."

Distributed solar PV growth has been spearheaded in recent years by markets such as Germany, Japan, Spain, and the United States. Pike Research forecasts that the U.S. will become the largest market for small solar energy installations by 2011, surpassing Germany.
Momentum is also strong in other European countries, and China and India show significant promise in the long term.

Pike Research's study, "Distributed Solar Energy Generation", analyzes the global opportunity for distributed solar PV in the context of the broader RDEG market. The study covers key business issues and drivers of demand, including government-driven legislation and incentives as well as market-based factors. Forecasts include worldwide solar energy generation capacity, system revenues, and installed prices through 2013.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Global Cleantech 100 - Most promising clean technology companies

The Guardian and Cleantech Group bring together the world's most promising clean technology companies.

They just released the 100 companies selected in the Cleantech 100.

Listed in alphabetical order:

A123 Systems, Massachusetts, USA
ACAL Energy, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Achates Power, California, USA
Adura Systems, California, USA
Albeo Technologies, Colarado, USA
Alertme, Cambridge, UK
AltaRock Energy, California, USA
Amyris Biotechnologies, California, USA
Aqwise, Herzliya, Israel
Arvia Technology, Liverpool, UK
Better Place, California, USA
BioGasol, Ballerup Denmark
Bloom Energy, California, USA
Boston Power, Massachusetts, USA
BridgeLux, California, USA
BrightSource Energy, California, USA
CamSemi, Cambridge, UK
ChapDrive, Trondheim, Norway
Chemrec, Stockholm, Sweden
ChromoGenics Sweden, Uppsala, Sweden
ClimateWell, Hägersten, Sweden
Cobalt Biofuels, California, USA
Concentrix Solar, Freiburg, Germany
Coskata, Illinois, USA
Cpower, New York, USA
d.light design, New Delhi, India
Danfoss AquaZ, Nordborg, Denmark
Deeya Energy, California, USA
Electro Power Systems, Turin, Italy
eMeter, California, USA
EnOcean, Munich, Germany
Enphase Energy, California, USA
EnStorage, Zichron Yaacov, Israel
EPS Corporation, California, USA
Epuramat, Luxembourg
Exosect, Winchester, UK
Fallbrook Technologies, California, USA
Fisker Automotive, California, USA
G24i, Cardiff, UK
Gevo, Colorado, USA
GreenVolts, California, USA
GridPoint, Virginia, USA
Heliatek, Dresden, Germany
HydroPoint Data Systems, California, USA
Ice Energy, Colorado, USA
Imara, California, USA
Infinia, Washington, USA
Inge, Griefenberg, Germany
IQWind, Bazra, Israel
Jain Irrigation Systems, Jalgaon, India
LS9, San Francisco, California, US
Luca Technologies, Colorado, US
Marine Current Turbines, Bristol, UK
Mascoma, Lebanon, New Hampshire, US
MBA Polymers, California, US
Metalysis, Rotherham, UK
Microvi Biotech, Union City, California, US
MIOX, Albuquerque, New Mexico, US
NanoH20, Los Angeles, California, US
Neosens, Toulouse, France
Nordic Windpower, Berkeley, California, US
Novaled, Dresden, Germany
Nujira, Cambridge, UK
Oasys, Cambridge, Massachusetts, US
Odersun, Frankfurt, Germany
Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, Vancouver, Canada
Pelamis Wave Power, Edinburgh, Scotland
Pentadyne Power, Chatsworth, California, US
Power Plus Communications, Manheim, Germany
Powerit, Seattle, US
QuantaSol, Kingston, UK
Recupyl, Grenoble, France
ResponsiveLoad (RLTech), London, UK
ReVolt Technology, Zurich, Switzerland
Sapphie Energy, San Diego, California, US
Serious Materials, Sunnvale, California, US
SiC Processing, Hirschau, Germany
Silver Spring Networks, Redwood City, California, US
SmartSynch, Jackson, Mississippi, US
Solaire Direct, Paris, France
Solarcentury, London UK
SolarCity, Foster City, California, US
SolarEdge Technologies, Palo Alto, California, US
Solazyme, San Francisco, California, US
Solel Solar Systems, Beit Shemesh, Israel
Solexant, San Jose, California, US
Solyndra, Fremont, California, US
Sulfurcell Solartechnik, Berlin, Germany
SunEdison, Beltsville Maryland, US
SynapSense, Folsom, California, US
Tendril Networks, Boulder, Colorado, US
Tesla Motors, San Carlos, California, US
Tigo Energy, Los Gatos, California, US
Trilliant, Redwood City, California, US
Ubidyne, Germany
Verdiem, Seattle, Washington, US
Xunlight, Toledo, Ohio, US
Xylophane, Gothenburg, Sweden
Zeachem, Lakewood, Colorado, US
Ze-Gen, Boston, Massachusetts, US

Environmental and Energy Management Software Provider Hara raises funds

Hara, the fastest growing provider of on-demand environmental and energy management software, today announced it has secured $14 Million in Series B funding. JAFCO Ventures led the round, bringing deep experience and strong relationships in the Asian markets, with participation from Nth Power, focused on the growing sector of energy technology, and existing investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). The funding, which brings total investment to date in Hara to $20 Million, will allow Hara to accelerate its global go-to-market and product innovation strategies in response to growing market demand for its environmental and energy management solution.

“We have been very impressed with the team at Hara and the amount of success that they have demonstrated in a very short period of time,” said Tom Mawhinney, General Partner with JAFCO Ventures and new member of Hara’s board. “Our market research indicates that the Hara solution and core competencies are highly relevant in global markets, and we are confident we can help the company as it expands beyond North America and into the Asia markets.”

“Hara offers a unique solution that provides enterprises a holistic way of prioritizing and implementing energy and natural resource conservation strategies,” said Rodrigo Prudencio, Partner, Nth Power. “Having invested in leading energy technologies for more than ten years, Nth Power believes Hara stands ready to enable a new business process that will become standard in energy and resource intensive organizations around the world.”

In keeping with Hara’s commitment to rapid product innovation, this month also marks the latest and third release of Hara’s flagship on-demand solution, the Hara Environmental and Energy Management (EEM) Fall 2009 Release. The new release provides rich and comprehensive functionality for organizations to manage energy and natural resources as an integrated, end-to-end business process. The solution also helps organizations share and leverage best practices across stakeholders, and enables companies across the value chain to adhere to Walmart’s recently introduced supplier sustainability standards.

“Hara’s vision and solution footprint extends far beyond carbon accounting, enabling companies to holistically monitor and manage their natural resource consumption and environmental impact. The company has exceeded our expectations to date, with overwhelmingly positive response from customers and the broader market,” said Ted Schlein, Managing Partner, KPCB. “We firmly believe that Hara will continue to lead the pack in the environmental and energy management space.”

“Hara is seeing strong and accelerating market demand for environmental and energy management solutions, across industries and geographies,” said Amit Chatterjee, CEO and co-founder of Hara. “New investments from JAFCO and Nth Power, with continued support from KPCB, will enable Hara to continue to deliver customer value, maintain our rapid product innovation pace, and accelerate the global growth of our business.”