Tuesday, June 30, 2009

REEEP provides seed funding for clean energy projects

REEEP softens financial crisis for renewables and energy efficiency in the developing world

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) has provided € 667,500 in seed funding for eight new finance projects to accelerate the clean energy market in the developing world. Piloting innovative finance methods is one of the Vienna-based NGO’s key priorities in its small-scale project funding, designed to have a wide ripple effect.

Microfinance facilities are a way to open up access to energy services for the rural poor. REEEP will work in Uganda to help microfinance institutions (MFIs) to establish small businesses selling solar, biogas and high-efficiency cookstoves, and to provide loans to 5000 consumers who buy them. In parallel, another REEEP project will help establish a network of retail outlets to sell energy-efficient CFLs, pressure cookers, stoves and solar lanterns in villages of the Indian state of Karnataka, and structure guarantees with MFIs to provide financing to end users.

A successful microfinance mechanism is PFAN (Private Financing Advisory Network), a finance coaching and investor matchmaking service that works well in many developing markets as well as India and China. A new REEEP project will expand PFAN activities to Uganda and Mozambique, and aim to attract between $10-60 million of funding to clean energy projects in those two countries during its first year.

Establishing microfinancing systems on the islands of Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa over the next 15 months is the aim of the PREM (Pacific Renewable Energy and Microfinance) project. It kicks off with a baseline study on renewables and energy efficiency in these countries, and following this, a set of training tools will be created to assist MFIs in developing their own sustainable loan products.

In Brazil, REEEP will target the agricultural sector in a project combining international and local sources of financing to make solar water pumps for irrigation, solar dryers for fruits, and bio-digestors for agricultural waste available to small farmers.

With microfinancing at one end of the spectrum, other REEEP projects will aim to unlock the potential of large-scale investment in renewables. Institutional investors such as pension funds, insurance companies, and savings and investment banks see high risks associated with the emerging markets and with renewable energy. A REEEP project will seek to develop risk mitigation strategies and financing products through intermediaries such as E+Co, to attract these major players to the renewables market.

In a similar vein, REEEP has also provided funding for the establishment of a Public-Private Mezzanine Finance facility for renewable energy projects in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. A shortage of investor equity capital and government subsidies are barriers to project financing renewable energy projects in the region. Mezzanine finance is a ‘quasi-equity’ structure that could help alleviate the current lack of developer equity.

Finally, a REEEP project together with the China Development Bank will develop new financial tools and risk mitigation instruments for renewable energy project finance, and help build a network of market-based banks interested in renewable energy project finance.

“We are convinced that targeted interventions like these will help to mobilise funding for renewables and energy effiency in the emerging markets,” said Marianne Osterkorn, Director General of REEEP.

Monday, June 29, 2009

SunPower, Wells Fargo Team to Finance $100 Million in Solar Projects

First Projects with University of California, Merced and Western Riverside County Regional Wastewater Authority

Wells Fargo and SunPower Corp. today announced a new collaborative effort to fund up to $100 million in SunPower commercial-scale solar systems.

Under the financing program, SunPower will enter into power purchase agreements with qualified customers and Wells Fargo will finance the solar power systems that SunPower will design, build, operate, and maintain. Customers hosting the systems will buy the electricity from SunPower at prices that are competitive with retail rates, providing them with a long-term hedge against rising power prices and the ability to take advantage of the environmental and financial benefits of solar power with no initial capital investment.

"We see increasing opportunities over the next several years to support renewable energy markets," said Barry Neal, director of Wells Fargo's Environmental Finance. "By teaming up with SunPower, we intend to support growth in the solar energy market by making it easier and more affordable for businesses and public entities to benefit from solar electricity today."

The first projects financed under the program include a 1.1-megawatt system for University of California, Merced, and a 1-megawatt system for the Western Riverside County Regional Wastewater Authority. Scheduled for completion by year end, both will be ground-mounted systems using the patented SunPower(R) T20 Tracker technology, which follows the sun throughout the day and delivers up to 30 percent more energy than fixed-tilt ground systems.

"SunPower offers high performance solar technology and financing expertise that helps customers maximize savings on their electricity expenditures. Our relationship with Wells Fargo strengthens our project finance efforts, streamlining the implementation of clean, renewable solar power for SunPower's large commercial and public customers throughout the U.S.," said Mac Irvin, managing director of SunPower's structured finance group.

SunPower has more than 500 large public and commercial solar power systems installed or under contract, representing more than 400 megawatts. The company pioneered the use of solar power purchase agreements in 2000.

Wells Fargo has provided more than $1.75 billion in financing for renewable energy projects since 2006. That includes funding for 27 wind projects, more than 150 commercial-scale solar projects and 1 utility-scale solar thermal project.

Obama Administration Launches New Energy Efficiency Efforts

Will save billions for consumers, business while helping to create new jobs and strengthen American competitiveness

WASHINGTON - Building on the action by the U.S. House of Representatives in passing historic legislation that will pave the way for the transition to a clean energy economy, President Barack Obama and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced aggressive actions to promote energy efficiency and save American consumers billions of dollars per year. Today's announcement underscores how the clean energy revolution not only makes environmental sense, but it also makes economic sense - creating jobs and saving money.

"One of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways to make our economy stronger and cleaner is to make our economy more energy efficient," said President Obama. "That's why we made energy efficiency investments a focal point of the Recovery Act. And that's why today's announcements are so important. By bringing more energy efficient technologies to American homes and businesses, we won't just significantly reduce our energy demand; we'll put more money back in the pockets of hardworking Americans."

"When it comes to saving money and growing our economy, energy efficiency isn't just low hanging fruit; it's fruit lying on the ground," said Secretary Chu. "The most prosperous, competitive economies of the 21st century will be those that use energy efficiently. It's time for America to lead the way."

More Energy Efficient Lighting

Today's announcement includes major changes to energy conservation standards for numerous household and commercial lamps and lighting equipment. Seven percent of all energy consumed in the U.S. is for lighting.

The final rule has numerous benefits, including:

* Avoiding the emission of up to 594 million tons of CO2 from 2012 through 2042 - roughly equivalent to removing 166 million cars from the road for a year;
* Saving consumers $1 to $4 billion annually from 2012 through 2042;
* Saving enough electricity from 2012 through 2042 to power every home in the U.S. for up to 10 months;
* Eliminating the need for up to 7.3 gigawatts of new generating capacity by 2042 - equivalent to as many as 14 500MW coal-fired power plants;
* Decreasing the electricity used in GSFLs by 15%, saving consumers up to $8.66 per lamp over its lifetime; decreasing electricity used by IRLs by 25%, saving consumers $7.95 per lamp over its lifetime.

In February 2009, President Obama tasked the Department of Energy with quickening the pace of energy conservation standards for appliances, while continuing to meet legal and statutory deadlines. Today's announcement - which takes effect in 2012 - focuses on General Service Fluorescent Lamps (GSFL), which are commonly found in residential and commercial buildings, and Incandescent Reflector Lamps (IRL), which are commonly used in recessed and track lighting. These fluorescent and incandescent lamps represent approximately 38 and 7 percent of total lighting energy use respectively.

The final rule, as issued by the Secretary of Energy on June 26, 2009, can be viewed and downloaded from the Office Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's website.

Building Efficiency Initiative

President Obama and Secretary Chu today announced a $346 million investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand and accelerate the development, deployment, and use of energy efficient technologies in all major types of commercial buildings as well as new and existing homes.

Residential and commercial buildings consume 40 percent of the energy and represent 40 percent of the carbon emissions in the United States. Building efficiency represents one of the easiest, most immediate and most cost effective ways to reduce carbon emissions while creating new jobs. With the application of new and existing technologies, buildings can be made up to 80 percent more efficient or even become "net zero" energy buildings with the incorporation of on-site renewable generation.

Today's buildings consume more energy than any other sector of the U.S. economy, including transportation and industry. In addition, almost three-quarters of our nation's 81 million buildings were built before 1979. Some were designed and constructed for limited service, and many will eventually require either significant retrofits or replacement.

Innovations in energy-efficient building envelopes, equipment, lighting, daylighting, and windows, in conjunction with advances in passive solar, photovoltaic, fuel cells, advanced sensors and controls and combined heating, cooling, and power, have the potential to dramatically transform today's buildings. These technologies-coupled with a whole building design approach that optimizes the interactions among building systems and components-will enable tomorrow's buildings to use considerably less energy, while also helping to reduce emissions and increase energy security.

This funding includes:

Advanced Building Systems Research ($100 million)
These projects will address research focused on the systems design, integration, and control of both new and existing buildings. Buildings need to be designed, built, operated, and maintained as an integrated system in order to achieve the potential of energy efficient and eventually net zero-energy buildings. These projects will move beyond component-only driven research and address the interactions in buildings as a whole, in order to progress development of integrated, high performance buildings and achieve net zero- energy buildings.

Residential Buildings Development and Deployment ($70 million)
Expanded work in Residential Buildings will increase homeowner energy savings by supporting energy efficient retrofits and new homes while raising consumer awareness of the benefits of increased health, safety, and durability of energy efficiency. The projects will provide technical support to train workers and create jobs, developing a new workforce equipped to improve the Nation's homes and will permit a major initiative to provide builders with technical assistance and training through states, utilities, and existing programs to increase the market share of new homes achieving substantial whole house energy savings. To address existing homes, DOE will work with municipalities with a variety of housing types and vintages as well as subdivisions with similar housing stock to encourage a large number of energy efficiency retrofits.

Commercial Buildings Initiative ($53.5 million)
These Recovery Act funds will be used to accelerate and expand partnerships with major companies that design, build, own, manage, or operate large fleets of buildings and that commit to achieving exemplary energy performance. This funding will be used to expand the number of these partnerships from 23 to about 75 through a competitive process beginning in September, 2009.

Buildings and Appliance Market Transformation ($72.5 million)
In order to achieve energy savings, and ultimately lead to zero energy buildings, the marketplace must be conditioned to accept the necessary advanced technologies and activities and ensure that the current technologies are performing as intended via current energy efficiency standards. Key activities include expanding ENERGY STAR to accelerate development of energy efficient products and expand the ENERGY STAR brand into new areas; preparing the design, construction, and enforcement community to implement commercial building energy codes that require a 30 percent improvement in energy efficiency over the 2004 code in 2010; and accelerating and expanding DOE's Appliance Standards program to evaluate innovative technologies and develop new test procedures that are more representative of today's energy use and equipment.

Solid State Lighting Research and Development ($50 million)
The objective of the solid state lighting activities is to advance state-of-the-art solid-state lighting (SSL) technology and to move those advancements more rapidly to market through a coordinated development of advanced manufacturing techniques. This project will both aid in the development and reduce the first cost of high performance lighting products. Continuing advances can accelerate progress towards creating a U.S.-led market for high efficiency light sources that save more energy, reduce costs, and have less environmental impact than other conventional light sources.

Read more information on these and other Funding Opportunities under the Recovery Act.

12 Semi-Finalists Chosen in Pacific Northwest Clean Tech Open

Teams to complete summer entrepreneur “boot camp” to finalize business plan for regional finals

At a event held last week at Puget Sound Energy (PSE) in Bellevue, Wash., the Pacific Northwest region of the Clean Tech Open (CTO), an innovation catalyst that helps great ideas become viable clean tech businesses, announced the 12 semi-finalists out of a field of 56 initial competitors in its clean tech business plan competition. The teams will compete for three regional prizes of up to $50,000 in cash and in-kind services as well as for one national prize of up to $250,000 in cash and services. Semi-finalists will now receive focused, hands-on mentoring from local and national business leaders to hone their clean tech business plans in preparation for the regional finals in September.

Given its nationally recognized Green Power Program, its ongoing regional leadership in the advancement of energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy, and its Silver-level sponsorship of CTO, PSE was a logical venue for the ceremony.
“We are dedicated to fostering innovation in clean technology,” said Stephen P. Reynolds, president and CEO of PSE.

The region’s semi-finalists represent several distinct clean tech categories including energy storage, solar power, small-scale solar, wind and hydro, transportation and renewable chemicals. The entire geography of the Pacific Northwest region is represented in the semi-finalist group including eight teams from Washington, three from Oregon and one from Idaho. The 2009 Pacific Northwest region semi-finalists include:

- Clarian Technologies - Smart-grid enabled wind and solar appliances, Seattle, Wash.
Extreme Caps - Energy storage, Olympia, Wash.
- GoNano - High surface area nanomaterials for energy storage, Moscow, ID
- Green Lite Motors – 100 mpg commuter car/motorcycle vehicle, Portland, Ore.
- Hydrovolts - In-stream hydro turbines, Seattle, Wash.
- InnovaTek – Renewable hydrogen fuel cell technology, Richland, Wash.
- LivinGreen Materials - Advanced solar technology, Seattle, Wash.
- NHThree - Green anhydrous ammonia production, Richland, Wash.
- Pangreen - Mobile and web-based platforms enabling green living, Kirkland, Wash.
- Shorepower Technologies – Electric charging stations, Portland, Ore.
- Soluxra - Low-cost organic solar cells, Seattle, Wash.
- Veranda Solar - Plug and play solar appliances, Portland, Ore.
The 12 semi-finalist teams will now participate in the CTO Accelerator program where they will be given training and experience in all aspects of starting and sustaining their businesses from national experts in venture capital, business, law, marketing and sustainability. All contestants can continue to be involved in the CTO community, having access to networking events, business tools, and other mentorship opportunities.

“The quality of entries was so high that we feel any of these 12 semi-finalists could be the regional, or even national winner,” said John Pierce, co-chair of the CTO Pacific Northwest chapter, member, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and one of the leaders of its Renewable Energy and Clean Tech Practice. “These entrepreneurs and more than 30 volunteer mentors are anxious to get to work and turn these clean tech ideas into successful businesses.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

U.S. Companies’ Continued Investments in Energy Efficiency Good For Business, Say Corporate Execs on Capitol Hill Panel

Green Initiatives Curb Carbon Emissions, Create Jobs, Help Sustain Planet

U.S. companies are continuing to invest in energy efficiency and to incorporate sustainable practices that will lower their future carbon emissions while creating jobs and helping their own bottom lines, corporate executives told a Capitol Hill gathering today. These measures are part of the companies’ overall efforts to help the nation regain its economic footing, according to executives and energy efficiency advocates addressing the topic, Corporate Sustainability, The Environment and Economic Recovery - Investing for the Future. The panel discussion was sponsored by the Alliance to Save Energy and the Committee for Economic Development (CED).

Panelists included Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.) of the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus and an Alliance Board honorary vice-chair; Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition and also an Alliance honorary vice-chair; David Gardiner, senior advisor with the UN Foundation Energy Coalition; Charlene Lake, AT&T Chief Sustainability Officer; Curtis Etherly, vice president of public affairs for Coca-Cola Enterprises; Alliance President Kateri Callahan; and CED President Charles Kolb.

The panelists discussed the innovative approaches that leading companies are taking to incorporate eco-friendly policies that save energy, lower energy waste and create new jobs while contributing to economic and environmental sustainability for years to come.

“As we all work towards a sustainable, healthy economy, it is clear that cost-effective energy efficiency measures are the keys to both improving a company’s bottom line and reducing its carbon footprint,” said Callahan. “Today’s discussion leaves no doubt that lowering energy use and costs are winning strategies for business and for the planet. We commend the companies represented here for their efforts towards long-term sustainability.”

“CED is dedicated to promoting sustained economic growth and development to benefit all Americans,” said CED President, Charlie Kolb. “The companies here today have shown great leadership in their commitment to investing in green initiatives, and we will continue to see more jobs created as a result.”

“AT&T has long been committed to social progress, economic growth and environmental stewardship, with a long history of strengthening the communities in which we live and work,” said Charlene Lake. “We are working to minimize our own environmental impact and are providing our customers with products and services that enable them to minimize their own environmental impacts.”

“At Coca-Cola Enterprises, we’ve fully integrated Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability into our business,” said Etherly. “Particularly in our environmental focus areas of water stewardship, energy conservation/climate change, and sustainable packaging/recycling, we are investing in technology that will help us capture operational efficiencies, drive effectiveness and eliminate waste, while simultaneously protecting the environment.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Microsoft enters residential Energy Management with Hohm

Microsoft Corp. today announced Microsoft Hohm, a new online application that enables consumers to better understand their energy usage, get recommendations and start saving money. Microsoft Hohm uses advanced analytics licensed from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy to provide consumers with personalized energy-saving recommendations. Microsoft Hohm is an easy-to-use tool that helps consumers lower their energy bill and reduce their impact on the environment. The beta application is available at no cost to anyone in the United States with an Internet connection and can be accessed directly by visiting http://www.microsoft-hohm.com/.

“We believe technology will play a pivotal role in tackling the global energy issues we currently face,” said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. “Microsoft Hohm demonstrates how a combination of advanced software and Internet-based services can help people track, understand and manage their personal energy usage.”

Consumers today are motivated to save energy to reduce their spending and do their part in conserving the environment. According to a May 2009 utility consumer survey from Gartner Inc. (conducted with households in the U.S. and U.K.), 80 percent of consumers in the U.S. would participate in an energy program if it were offered by providers. Data also showed that cost reduction is the key driving force behind participating in an energy efficiency program.*

Microsoft Hohm provides savings recommendations, which can range from placing new caulking on windows to removing air leaks to installing a programmable thermostat. These recommendations are tailored based on specific circumstances in the consumer’s home including house features, usage patterns and appliances. The savings will vary based on the information shared and the characteristics of consumers’ households. If consumers don’t provide their data, Microsoft Hohm will base its recommendations on local and national averages. Microsoft Hohm will leverage the energy usage data and feedback from its users to refine and improve the accuracy and relevancy of recommendations. In addition, consumers will be able to compare their energy usage with that of others in their area and connect with the Microsoft Hohm community to find referrals and exchange ideas.

Microsoft Hohm is built on the Windows Azure cloud operating system and leverages Bing search as well as the Microsoft Advertising platform, and is accessible from any computer using a modern browser.

Microsoft Hohm — Enabling Utilities to Provide Enhanced Customer Experiences and Helping Utilities Meet Regulatory Requirements

Today’s advanced utilities are leading the charge to be environmentally responsible and sound energy providers. Microsoft Hohm helps utilities by equipping them with a cost-effective and scalable tool that allows them to supply their customers with comprehensive information regarding their energy consumption. For instance, consumers who are customers of a Microsoft Hohm utility partner company can opt to automatically upload their energy usage data into the application in the near future.

Buckeye Silicon invests in Toledo for solar business

The Toledo and Northwest Ohio area's involvement in solar energy production took another major step forward with the announcement of plans to develop North America's most advanced polycrystalline silicon (c-Si) production facility in Toledo.

Officials of California-based Sphere Renewable Energy Corp. (SREC) said the company will develop a wholly-owned subsidiary, Buckeye Silicon (BeSi), in Toledo. The initial production module will be located at The University of Toledo's renowned Center for Renewable Energy.
"Toledo is an outstanding community, one with the human resources that readily can be applied to our manufacturing business," said Harrison Choi, BeSi's President and CEO.

Product produced by BeSi will be sold predominantly to PV producers in North America and Europe. SREC recently has entered into a joint venture with strategic, East Asian investors to begin using SREC's proprietary process to mass produce c-Si for the PV market.
Solar cell manufacturers in the Toledo market currently use a process that does not require c-Si to produce PV solar cells. With the addition of BeSi's manufacturing base, the Toledo area will be capable of boosting its photovoltaic manufacturing portfolio, spanning the entire PV value chain.
A ceremony in conjunction with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was held at UT's Center for Renewable Energy. Signatories included BeSi, UT, the City of Toledo and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

With an eye toward the future of both his company and the area's role in solar energy, President Choi said: "Over the next several years, we look forward to working with each of the MOU parties to create many net-new skilled jobs for Toledoans. Our plan is to grow to become a dominate, global polysilicon supplier as well as to further improve the NW Ohio platform so other solar-focused companies will base their businesses here." Michael J. Stolarczyk, President and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, endorsed BeSi's move to Toledo. "The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority strongly supports the further development of the solar industry in Northwest Ohio, and we are committed to working with BeSi on the development of its financing," Stolarczyk said.

Sphere Renewable Energy Corp's approach involves a light industrial, modular process which requires much less space and energy than a traditional polycrystalline silicon production facility. Also, SREC's development is more efficient. The approach up until now has involved massive chemical infrastructure facilitation, similar to an oil refinery, with many of the related concerns that refineries experience.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

LDK Solar Achieves Major Milestone in its 15,000 MT Polysilicon Plant Construction Project

LDK Solar Co., Ltd. ("LDK Solar"; NYSE: LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, announced today that it has reached mechanical completion of the first 5,000 metric ton (MT) train in its 15,000 MT annualized capacity polysilicon plant in Xinyu, China. Installation has been completed of the Utilities, Infrastructure and Offsite (U&I&O) facilities. Pre-commissioning and commissioning of all the U&I&O systems is nearing completion in preparation for initial production of polysilicon in the first 5,000 MT train.

“We are very excited to reach this major milestone in the construction of our 15,000 MT polysilicon facility,” commented Nick Sarno, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing at LDK Solar. “Commissioning of the first train and startup plans in this facility are underway. We remain on target to ramp to full 5,000 MT capacity over the next two quarters.”

“The excellent cooperation between LDK Solar and the Fluor project teams has been the key driver to achieving this milestone for this world-class, fast-track polysilicon project," said Peter Oosterveer, President of Fluor's Energy & Chemicals Group. "We remain on schedule to meet upcoming major construction goals in order to enable LDK Solar to start polysilicon production as planned.”

Smartcool Completes Energy Efficiency Projects in British Columbia

Smartcool's revolutionary ECO(3)(TM) technology generating savings in their own backyard

Smartcool Systems Inc. is pleased to announce it has completed several installations of its recently released ECO(3)(TM) technology into a variety of locations in Vancouver and the Interior of British Columbia. The energy savings being generated in these locations is proving that Smartcool can provide an economically viable solution to businesses looking to reduce their energy consumption, controlling their operating expenses, thereby boosting their bottom line.

The ECO(3)(TM) has been installed on refrigeration systems in a restaurant, a grocery store and a food processing plant and the air conditioning system for a small commercial building and a data centre.

"The success of the ECO(3)(TM) in these locations is very encouraging for Smartcool as it proves that we have developed a technology the makes economic sense in a region with relatively low electricity rates and a temperate climate," stated George Burnes, President of Smartcool Systems Inc.

ECO(3)(TM) is a revolutionary product specifically developed as a state of the art, secondary controller for air conditioning and refrigeration systems. It provides extensive cost savings and environmental benefits by optimizing the energy efficiency of air conditioning and refrigeration systems with one or two compressors. These cooling units are found in millions of buildings worldwide that includes telecom providers, retailers, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, hotels, branch offices and other small commercial spaces, and residences.

"Smartcool is pleased to be working within our home province of British Columbia," added Chris Lefaivre, VP of Sales for Smartcool. "In recent months we have become a registered contractor in BC Hydro's "Power Smart Alliance" and qualified for the BC Venture Capital Tax Credit Program. The business community here is calling out for economically sound programs to reduce energy usage and their cost of power. With the ECO(3)(TM) we have developed a proven technology that meets those requirements with the added bonus of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are very proud to deliver a solution to today's problems that is both economically and ethically sound."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Schneider Electric provides a Madagascan village access to renewable energies through its BipBop program

On May 27, Schneider Electric presented an off-grid solar photovoltaic facility to local officials in Marovato, on Madagascar’s east coast, as part of its in-house BipBop energy access program for people at the bottom of the pyramid.

Schneider Electric deployed its full range of skills and competencies to offer Marovato’s 120 residents access to energy that is safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green. To carry out this project, the Group forged an innovative partnership with businesses, associations and residents within the Jirano association, whose mission is to set up a sustainable electricity supply system for isolated villages in Madagascar.

Schneider Electric and its partners developed a dedicated solution tailored to the nature and size of this project. The solution’s components ensure that the system operates smoothly, at top efficiency, and protect the solar installation. The Group provided a Xantrex by Schneider Electric photovoltaic inverter and charger, circuit breakers, and remote supervision and monitoring of the electrical enclosure via the GSM network. The facility generates peak power of 1,400 watts. In comparison, the village currently uses 490 watts. Schneider Electric and the Jirano association also developed a program to teach residents how to maintain the facility. In all, 12 jobs in electricity-related fields were created. In 2009, projects supported by Schneider Electric in Madagascar are expected to electrify 1,000 households, train 100 people and create 50 additional jobs.

Claude Graff, Executive Vice President, Renewable Energies, Schneider Electric said: “The electrification of Marovato demonstrates Schneider Electric’s ability to deploy a sustainable system that provides access to renewable energies and meets the region’s accessibility constraints.”

In a country with a limited power grid where only 20% of the population has access to electricity, off-grid clean energy solutions are a simple and efficient way to meet the development needs of disadvantaged communities. By helping these communities tap into renewable energies, Schneider Electric is reaffirming its socially responsible commitment to helping improve quality of life for people at the bottom of the pyramid and facilitating access to healthcare and education.

Gilles Vermot Desroches, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Development, Schneider Electric explained: “The key success factor in this project lies in a new type of cooperation in which businesses and village associations work together towards a common goal. We intend to pursue this initiative in the new economies that are the target of our BipBop energy access program.”

The Marovato electrification project is the first initiative to come out of Schneider Electric’s BipBop program, which stands for “Business Investment People at the Bottom of the Pyramid”. The program covers three strategically-related areas:
- Business - Build and deliver electrical distribution solutions for people at the bottom of the pyramid.
- Investment - Create an investment fund to develop electrical businesses.
- People - Help provide electrical training for young people looking to enter the workforce.

Helping customers consume less, produce more effectively, improve energy efficiency, protect the environment and contribute to the development of renewable energy sources is an integral part of Schneider Electric’s business and strategy. The BipBop initiative to electrify Marovato illustrates Schneider Electric’s desire to create a virtuous circle combining business, innovation and social responsibility.

Find the press kit on the electrification of the village of Marovato in the Press Area of Schneider Electric website.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

European Tech Tour Names Most Promising Cleantech Companies in Europe

Selected Companies for the 2009 Cleantech Summit Announced;
24 Companies Stand to Benefit from Investment Funding

The European Tech Tour's inaugural Cleantech Summit 2009, in which is being held today and tomorrow in Geneva, will showcase 24 leading European start-up and early stage cleantech companies. The Summit will support the development of start-ups developing products and services that will have a strong influence on combating climate change and alleviating the environmental impact of business. The Summit is the first cleantech event in the European Tech Tour's series of vertical events which bring together Europe’s most innovative privately-held technology companies with the vision and resources of Europe's top venture capitalists. Cleantech is currently the subject of intense political and social interest and is one of the fastest growing investment markets.

During the Summit, delegates will hear presentations from the 24 winning companies, who have been selected from a pool of over 300 applicants. The selected companies span cleantech segments such as: solar, wind, wave and bio energy; energy efficiency and storage; clean transport; biomaterials; and waste management. The top-24 companies were selected by a committee composed of experienced cleantech investors and professionals across Europe.

The winning companies include:
* Alertme
* Amminex
* Aquamarine Power
* Bekon
* CellEra
* ChapDrive
* Chemrec
* Concentrix Solar
* EVO Electric
* Heliatek
* Hymite
* Juice
* Novaled
* NovoPolymers
* Power Plus Communications
* Recupyl
* ReVolt Technology
* SiC Processing
* Solarion
* Torqeedo
* Watteco
* Wave Star Energy

In addition, panel discussions will address timely topics such as: Smart Grids, Smart Meters and the Applications for Start-ups; and The Future of Renewable Energy. The sessions will have participants from industry (Schneider Electric, Honeywell, Statkraft, BP Alternative Energy, AXPO, Bard Engineering), venture capitalists and start-ups.

There will also be a number of keynote speeches including:

* Mr Pieter Wasmuth, CFO of RE Power, who will provide the keynote address at the opening gala dinner. REpower Systems is one of the leading manufacturers of wind turbines for onshore and offshore applications;
* Mr Pierre-Francois Unger, State Councillor for the Department of Economy and Health, Canton Geneva;
* Mr Michel Jarraud, Secretary General, World Meteorological Organisation will also be addressing the Summit attendees.

An international delegation of more than 140 influential investors, technology industry leaders, service providers and academics has signed up for the event.

“This summit is about what our society needs to address the climate change issue: collaboration. We are facilitating the collaboration between entrepreneurs and investors, start-ups and established companies, energy generators and energy users; and between business and politics,” said Bernard Vogel, President Cleantech Summit 2009. "Some very exciting start-ups are taking part in the Cleantech Summit 2009, many with the potential to impact consumers' lives for the better in the long term."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Breathrough flexible solar module by Ascent Solar

Ascent Solar Manufactures Light Weight Flexible 5 Meter CIGS Based PV Laminate

Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTI), a developer of state-of-the-art, flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules, announced that the company has manufactured a monolithically interconnected 5 meter long flexible light weight module on a polyimide substrate.

Ascent Solar Sr. Vice President for Production Operations Dr. Prem Nath stated, “This is the largest monolithically interconnected CIGS module on polyimide and may be the largest of any CIGS module regardless of construction. The size and efficiency of this module make it a breakthrough for the emerging opportunities of flexible CIGS photovoltaic modules.”

The CIGS based thin film material used in this module was manufactured using the company’s unique 1.5 MW roll-to-roll manufacturing line. The module was encapsulated during the testing and qualification of equipment that will be used for its 30 MW plant under construction. Based on internal test and evaluation, this 5M long module weighs 2 kilograms and produces 123 watts (under standard test conditions) with an aperture area efficiency of 9.1%. This length is a baseline for the company’s development of large area flexible building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products with our strategic BIPV partners.

Satcon Technology Announces Closing of Public Offering of its Common Stock

Satcon Technology Corporation (“Satcon”) (Nasdaq: SATC) today announced that it has closed its previously announced public offering of 17,891,346 shares of its common stock (including 2,333,654 shares issued pursuant to the exercise in full of the underwriters’ over-allotment option) at a price to the public of $1.30 per share. The gross proceeds to Satcon, before expenses, from the sale of shares were approximately $23.3 million.

Thomas Weisel Partners LLC acted as managing underwriter and book runner and Ardour Capital Investments, LLC acted as co-managing underwriter.

GridPoint Releases GridPoint Platform 3.0 with Customer Online Energy Programs

GridPoint, Inc., a leading smart grid company, announced the release of GridPoint Platform 3.0, a standards-based open platform that provides utilities with an intelligent network to manage and control distributed energy resources. GridPoint Platform 3.0 enables utilities to offer consumers online energy programs, delivers advanced demand response programs based on consumer preferences, grid status, real-time market prices and analytics, and expands the variety of home area network devices it controls. Additionally, the platform now provides utilities with an easy, cost-effective path to extend smart grid capabilities to residences equipped with AMR meters.

The platform allows utilities to progressively integrate and customize smart grid solutions, including energy efficiency, load management, renewable integration, storage management and electric vehicle management. The platform delivers these solutions through the integration of distributed energy resources, including plug-in electric vehicles, solar panels, advanced storage technologies, and household devices such as thermostats, electric water heaters and pool pumps.

GridPoint Platform 3.0 aggregates these assets into a single manageable resource that utilities control via the GridPoint Utility Portal. The platform provides utilities with availability, scheduling and forecasting, and measurement and verification. Furthermore, the platform’s auditing and reporting capabilities are a critical component for utilities seeking revenue-grade treatment for demand response events.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Algae Biofuel Leaders Converge on the Capitol

Leaders of the algae biofuel industry will meet on Capitol Hill today to brief congressional legislators on sector-wide technology and production advancements allowing for commercially-viable fuels, and advocate for continued federal support to help see the technology to maturity.

Algae-based biofuel has captured widespread interest for its ability to deliver significantly higher yields than plant-based technologies, recycle CO2 directly from industrial sources and not compete with agricultural land or water supply. To better inform legislators in setting a Renewable Fuel Standard, Tax Code and Recovery Act funding inclusive of such promising technologies, executives from leading algae biofuel companies Aurora Biofuels, LiveFuels, and Solix Biofuels - together with representation from the Biotechnology Industry Organization - will gather in Washington D.C. to provide government representatives with contextual information relevant to this rising interest in algae fuel generation.

"We applaud the leadership of the United States in forwarding carbon sequestration initiatives like the Carbon Capture and Storage Program," said Bob Walsh, CEO of Aurora Biofuels. "Algae biofuels provide superior benefits in trapping and eliminating industrial carbon waste, and present a great opportunity to attain these program goals."

"Nurturing an algae biofuel industry in the United States will create jobs that cannot be outsourced," said David Jones, COO of LiveFuels. "By supporting this industry, we can ensure new high-quality, well-paid jobs - not only in science and technology, but operations as well."

Doug Henton, CEO of Solix Biofuels, commented that "at the end of the day, no one single solution will address our domestic energy demands, but a continued focus on energy independence and technology neutrality will allow algae biofuels and other promising technologies to rise up and meet these 21st century energy demands."

"The decisions Washington will make in the days ahead will determine the future of our industry, and our ability to fulfill demand for an abundant renewable fuels marketplace," said Matt Carr, Policy Director, Industrial & Environmental Section at BIO. "We want to help inform representatives to the realities of algae biofuel production and encourage measures that are inclusive of systems like these and with other advanced biofuels in any mandates to come."

A Greener Way To Gather™: The Virtual Energy Forum

The Virtual Energy Forum, the world's largest online-only energy conference held twice a year, is meeting on June 24th and 25th from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The event is focused on how leading companies can adopt better energy management practices to cut costs -- presenting alternative energy technologies, policies, and best practices in a live, interactive environment. Topics include: sustainable energy management, alternative energy, clean technologies, green buildings and operations. The event is completely free and all you need is a computer to attend.

Noted speakers include:
Amory Lovins, Founder, Chairman and Chief Scientist, The Rocky Mountain Institute
Fred Krupp, President, The Environmental Defense Fund
Kristen Pierre, Manager Green Suppliers Network, US Environmental Protection Agency
Mark Ginsberg, Senior Executive Director, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), US Department of Energy
Heather Henriksen, Director of the Office for Sustainability, Harvard University
Dr. Len Sauers, VP Global Sustainability for Procter & Gamble

Virtual Energy Forum offers attendees an opportunity to watch energy experts live and get answers to their questions on-the-spot. Attendees can also watch live video case studies on how other companies have implemented energy-efficient solutions, browse a virtual exhibit floor featuring sustainability solutions, and text chat with representatives about their products.

Register at www.VirtualEnergyForum.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tendril and Alertme secure financing for residential energy management

Good Energies and VantagePoint Venture Partners involved in both deals.

Tendril, creator of the Tendril Residential Energy Ecosystem (TREE) for utilities, energy retailers and their consumers, today announced it has secured $30 million in Series C funding.

The investment was led by VantagePoint Venture Partners, a recognized leader in the clean tech space, and includes Good Energies, the leading global investor in renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions, RRE Ventures, a builder of leading companies in the software, communications and financial services industries, Vista Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm based in Boulder, Colorado and Appian Ventures, an investor in software and technologies that improve business performance through the application and management of network connectivity.

AlertMe.com, the award- winning provider of smart energy saving systems for homes, today announced it has secured £8 million in Series B funding by investors Good Energies, Index Ventures, SET Venture Partners and VantagePoint Venture Partners. The financing will enable AlertMe.com to extend its product development program, continue to ramp up its distribution strategy and to expand the existing team.

Clean Energy Economy Generates Significant Job Growth

The number of jobs in America’s emerging clean energy economy grew nearly two and a half times faster than overall jobs between 1998 and 2007, according to a report released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Pew developed a clear, data-driven definition of the clean energy economy and conducted the first-ever hard count across all 50 states of the actual jobs, companies and venture capital investments that supply the growing market demand for environmentally friendly products and services.

Pew found that jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a national rate of 9.1 percent, while traditional jobs grew by only 3.7 percent between 1998 and 2007. There was a similar pattern at the state level, where job growth in the clean energy economy outperformed overall job growth in 38 states and the District of Columbia during the same period. The report also found that this promising sector is poised to expand significantly, driven by increasing consumer demand, venture capital infusions, and federal and state policy reforms.

America’s clean energy economy has grown despite a lack of sustained government support in the past decade. By 2007, more than 68,200 businesses across all 50 states and the District of Columbia accounted for about 770,000 jobs.

By comparison, the well-established fossil-fuel sector—including utilities, coal mining and oil and gas extraction, industries that have received significant government investment—comprised about 1.27 million workers in 2007.

“The clean energy economy is poised for explosive growth,” said Lori Grange, interim deputy director of the Pew Center on the States. “These jobs are driving economic growth and environmental sustainability at a time when America needs both. There is a potential competitive advantage for federal and state policy leaders who act now to spur jobs, businesses and investments in the clean energy sector.”

Pew’s definition of the clean energy economy is based on research and input from experts in the field, including an advisory panel convened to help guide the study. According to Pew, “a clean energy economy generates jobs, businesses and investments while expanding clean energy production, increasing energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste and pollution, and conserving water and other natural resources.” It comprises five categories: (1) Clean Energy, (2) Energy Efficiency, (3) Environmentally Friendly Production, (4) Conservation and Pollution Mitigation, and (5) Training and Support. The definition provides a groundbreaking framework for tracking jobs, investments and economic growth over time and allowing the public and private sector to evaluate the effectiveness of policy choices and investments.

The report finds that the emerging clean energy economy is creating well-paying jobs in every state for people of all skill levels and educational backgrounds. Included in Pew’s definition are jobs as diverse as engineers, plumbers, administrative assistants, construction workers, machine setters, marketing consultants, teachers and many others, with annual incomes ranging from $21,000 to $111,000.

The private sector views the clean energy economy as a significant and expanding market opportunity. Venture capital investment in clean technology crossed the $1 billion threshold in 2005 and continued to grow substantially, reaching a total of about $12.6 billion by the end of 2008. In 2008 alone, investors directed $5.9 billion into American businesses in the clean energy economy, a figure that represents a 48 percent increase over 2007 investment totals and accounts for 15 percent of all global venture capital investments.

Federal and state lawmakers also see the sector as helping to spur America’s economic recovery and protect the environment. States will receive a major infusion of federal funds through the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allocates nearly $85 billion in direct spending and tax incentives for energy- and transportation-related programs. Additionally, every state offers some form of financial incentive to drive its clean energy economy. Twenty-three states have adopted regional initiatives to reduce the global warming pollution from power plants, 46 states offer some form of tax incentive to encourage residents and corporations to use renewable energy or adopt energy efficiency systems and equipment, and 29 states and the District of Columbia have established renewable portfolio standards, which require electricity providers to supply a minimum amount of power from renewable energy sources.

“There is bipartisan support and a growing market demand for transitioning to the clean energy economy,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director, U.S. Global Warming Campaign, at the Pew Environment Group. “Americans understand the transition is good for the overall economy, is creating new opportunities for jobs and business growth, and helps protect our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Congress and the Obama Administration can and must produce energy and global warming legislation that creates jobs, enhances energy independence and sustains our environment.”
Download full report (pdf)

SunEdison announces the Renewable Operations Center

The Renewable Operations Center (ROC) Serves as the Hub for SunEdison Solar Fleet Monitoring, Remote Diagnostics, and Automated Service Dispatch

SunEdison today formally announced the opening of the ROC (Renewable Operations Center), North America's first fleet-wide PV management command and control center.

The ROC, located in SunEdison offices at the historic McClellan Air Force hangar, serves as the hub for SunEdison solar fleet performance data analysis, PV solar energy system monitoring, remote diagnostics, and automated service dispatch.

According to Mark Culpepper, CTO of SunEdison, "Our goal is simple - deliver more energy and thus more savings to our customers and greater returns to investors. The ROC enables SunEdison to manage remote diagnostics and, as needed, quickly dispatch local service crews in a matter of minutes. The ROC goes far beyond monitoring, creating visibility and transparency in solar energy delivered across any utility's service territory.

The advanced control and monitoring technologies of the ROC mark the first time in North America that commercial and government entities have transparency into the delivery and measurement of solar energy and associated environmental benefits. In addition, utility operators now have the option to have direct visibility into the energy delivered by the SunEdison solar fleet.

In 2008, SunEdison systems performed at over 100% of expected electricity generation. "A services architecture supporting the ROC and our discipline around service response are both key to exceeding generation expectations," Culpepper concluded. SunEdison has more than 65 megawatts of solar under management in the United States.

Beacon Power Awarded $2 Million to Support Deployment of Flywheel Plant in New York

Beacon Power Corporation (Nasdaq: BCON), a company that designs and develops advanced products and services to support more stable, reliable and efficient electricity grid operation, announced that it has been selected by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for a project award valued at $2 million, subject to negotiations for the project contract. The award would provide partial funding for 1 megawatt (MW) of flywheel energy storage in Stephentown, New York – the first of 20 MW that Beacon expects to build and operate on the site.

Under the anticipated contract, the NYSERDA funding will partially pay for the design, site preparation, flywheel production, installation, system commissioning, data monitoring and analysis of a 1 MW Smart Energy Matrix that would provide frequency regulation services. As part of the same award, NYSERDA is also providing partial funding for certain interconnection components of the 20 MW frequency regulation plant that Beacon plans to construct on the Stephentown site.

The 1 MW Smart Energy Matrix will be initially connected to a power line owned by NYSEG, a major state utility. A system impact study for the 1 MW project has been successfully completed, and Beacon has entered into an interconnection agreement with NYSEG. When the balance of the 20 MW plant is constructed, the 1 MW system will be switched over and the entire facility will connect to a transmission line owned by National Grid.

Beacon will receive the funding from NYSERDA in stages that will be tied to construction milestones and system performance parameters. Once built and connected, the 1 MW system will be capable of receiving a commercial regulation control signal from New York ISO (NYISO), and earning revenue by bidding into the NYISO regulation market. NYISO received approval last month from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for what is considered to be the most favorable tariff for grid-scale energy storage among any of the open-market grid regions. In addition, NYISO has already completed the related technical implementation of software and control systems.

Solazyme gets $57 M for synthetic biofuels

Solazyme, Inc., a renewable oil production company and leader in algal synthetic biology, announced that it has surpassed $76 million in funding, which includes a $57million Series C financing round that just closed. Solazyme uses microalgae biotechnology to produce clean and scalable fuels, “green” chemicals, edible oils and health and wellness products.

Braemar Energy Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners led the financing round and were joined by other new investors including VantagePoint Venture Partners. All major existing investors participated in the round, including The Roda Group, Harris and Harris Group, and Solazyme Chairman Jerry Fiddler. The round also included new strategic investors in key target markets. All funding has been dispersed to Solazyme and will be used to move the company to commercialization.

"This most recent funding validates the unique value of our oil production platform and adds to our already strong financial position. Solazyme’s mission is to answer the increasing global demand for clean and renewable sources of oil. We offer sustainable and scalable technology that provides unique solutions for addressing four of the largest challenges facing our country and our planet: increasing energy demand, heightened energy security needs, energy related environmental degradation and hunger," said Jonathan Wolfson, CEO of Solazyme.

"Braemar’s mission is to identify and support the most promising alternative energy firms with disruptive technologies that provide meaningful clean energy solutions," said William Lese of Braemer Energy Ventures. "Solazyme’s renewable oil and advanced biofuels technology is leading the industry on the path to commercialization and will be cleanly powering our vehicles with renewable fuels that fit within the existing infrastructure."

"Solazyme has proven itself as a pioneer in the advanced biofuels space, by being the first to do many things including scale-up, production and road testing of a variety of advanced biofuels that can simultaneously meet current U.S. fuel specifications while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 80%," said Chris Schaepe, a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Dan Miller from The Roda Group added, “We are proud to have been an investor in Solazyme since the early seed round, and we are increasingly excited about sizeable opportunities for Solazyme’s renewable oils in all markets from fuels, to cosmetics to nutritional oils.”

"Since 2001 VantagePoint Venture Partners has focused its CleanTech efforts on identifying and investing in the leading company in those sectors best addressing the issues of natural resource limitations, climate change and energy independence," said Stephan Dolezalek, Managing Director and CleanTech Group Lead, VantagePoint Venture Partners. "The potential role of algae in achieving these targets has long been clear, but it has taken a while for a definitive category leader to arise. We believe that Solazyme has now emerged as the preeminent player in the algal biomaterials and biofuels sector.”

Solazyme’s unique renewable oil production process grows algae in the dark in an industrial fermentation process, where the algae are fed non-food biomass and industrial byproducts including a wide variety of cellulosic materials and low-grade waste glycerol which are converted by the algae into oil. This allows the company to produce oil cleanly and economically in a controlled, large-scale process. Solazyme is currently producing thousands of gallons of oil in commercial scale facilities and has produced in-specification fuels including renewable diesel, biodiesel and jet fuel. Solazyme’s first fuel, SoladieselTM, has been successfully road tested as an unblended fuel (100%) for thousands of miles in a variety of unmodified vehicles. Additionally, Solazyme’s process is the first bridge from non–food carbohydrates and industrial waste streams to edible and renewable oils. This technology has already been shown to produce high quality oils for a multitude of purposes across a variety of industries.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Suntech and Petra Solar Form Alliance to Market Utility Pole Mounted Intelligent Solar Systems

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), the world's largest manufacturer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules and Petra Solar, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of intelligent utility grade solar energy and smart grid systems, today announced an alliance that will focus on marketing utility-grade, pole mounted solar AC Systems as well as ongoing development of AC module products. The alliance will target unique pole mounted applications for utilities in the United States and the rest of the world.

Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's Founder, Chairman and CEO said, "We recognize that Petra Solar is the leader in the development of innovative utility grade, pole-mounted distributed PV systems. Their vision to create a market for intelligent solar energy systems attached to utility poles and street lights, which combines distributed solar generation and smart grid technology, has great potential for Suntech. We are excited about the value that we can bring to utility customers as a result of working with Petra Solar."

"Suntech's global reach and well deserved reputation for market leading products provide compelling value to the utility market in the United States and around the globe," said Dr. Shihab Kuran, Founder, President and CEO of Petra Solar. "Suntech has the world's largest crystalline silicon module manufacturing capacity and we look forward to expanding our market coverage to address all segments of the global utility market as a result of this alliance." Dr. Kuran continued, "We applaud Suntech's decision to establish manufacturing capabilities in the United States and are confident that this will contribute to the rapid deployment of our products in the U.S. We are confident that the Suntech-Petra Solar collaboration will lead to the creation of many green jobs."

Petra Solar's SunWave(TM) utility grade solar AC systems are designed to mount quickly and safely to utility distribution and streetlight poles and deliver power directly to the grid. The systems consist of a high efficiency PV module and integral line voltage inverter with comprehensive communications and smart grid capabilities.

Petra Solar's AC Module has received CSA Certification according to UL standards. In addition, Petra Solar received CSA Qualification for Witness Testing for its manufacturing facility in South Plainfield, NJ, where AC modules and systems will be manufactured.
http://www.suntech-power.com ; http://www.petrasolar.com/

Monday, June 08, 2009

Trina Solar's new warehouse to serve growing US market

Trina Solar Limited (CHANGZHOU, China), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, today announced the planned establishment of a warehouse operation in The Port of Oakland, California.

The warehouse is strategically located in California, which in 2008 had a total of 530MW of the estimated 800MW of grid tied PV capacity(1) in the United States. With planned service to begin in June of 2009, the warehouse is expected to strengthen Trina Solar's distribution network in North America by allowing us to respond more swiftly to customer delivery requests.

"We are pleased to announce the establishment of our first warehouse in North America, which will help to accommodate the growing demand for our products, pursue new relationships and better serve our customers," said Arturo Herrero, Trina Solar's Vice President of Sales & Marketing. "In addition, we view the outlook for PV installations in the United States as positive given the national promotion of a green economy to secure energy independence and create green jobs."

"Home" premiere - an ode to the planet's beauty and its delicate harmony

The world premiere of “Home”, the documentary about the current state of the Earth, produced by French award-winning filmmaker Luc Besson and directed by photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, is available free to view on YouTube since the 5th of June, to mark and celebrate the 37 annual World Environment Day.
In the 90 minute full-length film, never-before-seen landscapes from the sky aim to raise awareness of the current state of planet Earth and demonstrate the urgency for more sustainable living.
"Home is an incredible movie that enables a global audience to experience our planet like never before through camerawork that helps us see landscapes from the sky so we can experience complicated environmental situations from above," said Mats Carduner, head of Google France and Southern Europe. "We're thrilled to work with renowned film creators Luc Besson and Yann Arthus-Bertrand to raise awareness of the state of our planet and to align with the television and movie industries as part of this initiative."
"The message in this film is incredibly important since it underscores the question of survival. It needs powerful and accessible platforms like YouTube and Google Maps to reach the largest audience", said Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Home director and producer. "It's too late to be pessimistic. Together we can still do something."
Watch movie: http://www.youtube.com/homeproject

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

SolarCity and U.S. Bank Forge New Partnership to Fund Solar Projects

Nation’s 6th-largest commercial bank and nation’s leading residential solar installer create new tax equity fund to enable more American homeowners and businesses to adopt clean power

SolarCity®, a national leader in solar power system design, financing, installation, monitoring and related services, and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC) today announced a new partnership to finance solar projects for U.S. homeowners and businesses. USBCDC is a division of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), which is also the parent of U.S. Bank, the sixth largest commercial bank in America. The two companies have created a new tax equity fund to finance SolarCity’s groundbreaking solar lease option (SolarLease™) for homeowners and power purchase agreements (PPA) for businesses. The two companies are not disclosing financial terms of the fund, but do expect it to finance more solar projects in 2009 than any other tax equity fund in the U.S.

“SolarCity’s leasing option is one of the most affordable ways to go solar that we’ve seen, and we’re thrilled to partner with them. This partnership will grow the adoption of solar energy in the U.S., and create more green jobs,” said Darren Van't Hof, vice president of solar, new markets and historic investments for U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. “Today’s announcement is only the beginning—we look forward to making additional investments with SolarCity, and believe this partnership will ultimately enable thousands of American homeowners and businesses to adopt cleaner power and save money on energy costs in the process.”

USBCDC’s new fund is one of only two tax equity funds closed in 2009 in the U.S. with the ability to finance residential solar projects—both funds were created with SolarCity to finance solar installations. SolarCity plans to hire 100 new employees in the next six months to increase installation capacity as a result of the new financing. SolarCity’s SolarLease option allows U.S. homeowners to put no money down on a new solar system and save money from day one on energy costs. The company’s unique combination of integrated financing, design, installation, monitoring and guaranteed performance has made it the most popular residential solar provider in the U.S.

“Tax equity financing has been the primary constraint on the growth of the solar industry, so we’re obviously thrilled and very grateful to U.S. Bank,” said Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity. “This fund will allow us to increase our installation throughput and hire more installers to keep pace with strong demand from American businesses and homeowners for affordable, clean solar power.”

SolarCity operates in California, Arizona and Oregon. Businesses and homeowners interested in SolarCity’s zero-down financing options can contact the company directly at 1-888-SOL-CITY (1-888-765-2489). Homeowners interested in SolarLease can estimate their solar lease payment and potential electricity savings by using SolarCity’s solar calculator, available online at www.solarcity.com.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Hara Unveils Environmental and Energy Management Solution for the Post-Carbon Economy

Redefines how organizations measure and manage environmental impact and resource consumption beyond carbon; Funded by leading green investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Hara, the company dedicated to helping organizations grow and profit without depleting the earth’s resources, today unveiled HaraTM Environmental and Energy Management (Hara EEM), a comprehensive software as a service solution which enables organizations to holistically monitor and manage their natural resource consumption and environmental impact. Hara EEM gives customers auditable transparency and control over their organizational metabolism (OM) – the collective resources consumed and expended by an organization - including energy, fossil fuels, water, waste, carbon, and other resources. Funded in 2008 by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Hara is enabling customers to identify millions of dollars in savings from energy, water and waste abatement strategies

"Effective environmental management requires good insight, good analysis and good data,” said Bryan Jacob, Director of Energy Management and Climate Protection for The Coca-Cola Company. “We have been pleased to collaborate with Hara in the development of its Energy & Environmental Management solution – an application that combines data collection with mitigation planning and initiative tracking in a comprehensive package that enables us to improve energy efficiency and environmental impact."

More than a dozen organizations, including The Coca-Cola Company and the City of Palo Alto, are already using Hara EEM to improve their operational efficiency, maximize shareholder value and manage risks while keeping up with changing externalities including pricing for commodities such as energy and pending regulation on a global scale.

Companies with a commitment to sustainability have outperformed their peers by 10 to 15 percent*. A perfect storm of business imperatives – environmental, economic, and regulatory – is requiring private and public sector organizations to act now. To date, while the imperatives are clear, most organizations have been without a transparent and auditable way to address these challenges. Hara provides a comprehensive solution to manage the environmental record, and prioritize and track reduction and cost savings initiatives that are both achievable and auditable under current or future regulations.

“Energy efficiency has never been more critical to corporate performance – directly in terms of bottom line costs but also indirectly in terms of related emissions from non-green energy sources,” said Dr. Stephen Stokes, Vice President of Sustainability and Green Technologies at AMR Research. "Tracking, analyzing and optimizing energy usage and emission outputs from economic entities is a crucial, additional, new class of enterprise information which will drive future operational and performance excellence."

“Our vision is to enable a post-carbon economy in which organizations can grow and profit without depleting the earth’s resources,” said Amit Chatterjee, CEO and co-founder of Hara. “Together with our customers, we have the opportunity to write the encyclopedia of environmental efficiency, creating an unprecedented body of knowledge that will influence environmental impact reduction initiatives for years to come.”

GE Green Business up 21% - plans $1.5 billion in cleantech research by 2010

Company continues to grow revenues, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet other ecomagination goals

GE announced that it has surpassed its first ecomagination goal to reduce its own greenhouse gas intensity, and is making progress against its other goals for revenue growth, water and technology innovation.

In 2005 GE made a series of ecomagination commitments to be achieved sequentially in the years 2008, 2010 and 2012. The first commitment was to reduce its operational greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity 30% in 2008. The Company surpassed this goal by reducing GHG intensity 41%. Greenhouse gas intensity is the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions to Company revenue. GE also has reduced its absolute GHG emissions 13% and improved its energy efficiency 37% since 2005, keeping on track to meet its 2012 operational commitments in these areas.

With the release of the 2008 ecomagination annual report, GE also announced that it increased its portfolio of ecomagination products and services by one-third, to 80; grew revenues of ecomagination offerings 21%, to $17 billion; and increased its investment in the research and development of clean tech solutions 27%, to $1.4 billion.

The company's business and environmental goals for the coming years include:

• Bringing annuals sales of ecomagination products to $25 billion by 2010.
• Investing $1.5 billion annually in ecomagination R&D by 2010.
• Improving energy efficiency by 30 percent by 2012.
• Reducing water consumption by 20 percent by 2012.