Published on April 22nd, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan2
April 22nd, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
We’ve published about 24 solar energy stories in the past week. In addition to those, here are some other top solar stories from around the interwebs (be sure to catch the picture at the bottom):
Solar Market Research
- McKinsey & Company projects that solar is entering a period of maturation in its new report “Solar power: Darkest before dawn.” The report “finds that underlying PV costs are likely to continue to drop as manufacturing capacity doubles over the next three to five years. Indeed, the cost of a typical commercial system could fall 40 percent by 2015 and an additional 30 percent by 2020, permitting companies to capture attractive margins while vigorously installing new capacity.” And this is all with big projected cuts to solar subsidies.
- Solar power is expected to explode in the coming 5 years, as solar becomes cheaper than grid electricity for consumers in more and more places. “The awakening of the US solar market will be driven by grid parity within each region. Federal incentives provide a good foundation for the expansion of the solar industry but state-level incentives are still needed to truly make solar energy competitive in each regional market. Over the next five years we believe that solar power will reach grid parity in a large portion of the US market, thus opening up the opportunity for significant expansion of the industry in the years to come,” says renewable energy advisor Eric Graber-Lopez of BlueWave Capital.
Solar Power Projects
- SPI Solar has signed an MOU with two fund management companies in Greece to build 23 MW of utility-scale solar projects in Greece. “Thermi-Taneo Venture Capital Fund and AIMS-Taneo Fund are part of the New Economic Development Fund known as the Taneo Fund. The Taneo Fund is a Greek-state sponsored, privately funded and independently managed fund-of-funds which makes venture-capital investments in Greece and Europe. The agreement establishes a minimum commitment for Taneo to provide 23 megawatts of SEF projects for SPI to design and build, and sets as a goal for Taneo and SPI to potentially develop a total of 100 megawatts in SEF projects across Greece.”
- Canadian Solar and SkyPower have teamed up “to jointly develop solar projects internationally in select emerging markets…. Under the agreement, Canadian Solar will acquire a majority interest in 16 solar projects representing approximately 190-200MW DC from SkyPower. Each of these projects was awarded a 20-year power purchase contract by the Ontario Power Authority. Fifteen of these contracts were issued under Ontario’s Feed-In-Tariff Program, and one was issued as part ofOntario’s Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program. These projects are in the advanced permitting stage and are expected to commence construction in 2013 and be fully operational in 2014. They are expected to generate over C$ 800 million (US$ 800 million) in revenue for Canadian Solar.”
- PG&E has been ranked the #1 utility in the US for solar power capacity, according to a new survey by the Solar Electric Power Association. “PG&E is first in the Annual Solar Megawatts category of the more than 240 utilities that participated in SEPA’s 2011 Utility Solar Rankings survey…. PG&E helped more than 12,000 customers in Northern and Central California connect 162 megawatts (MW) of solar at their homes and business in 2011, bringing the total number of customer solar installations to more than 63,000. It also connected 135 MW of new large solar projects for the benefit of all customers. This includes PG&E’s own expanding solar facilities, which when completed will deliver 250 MW of clean energy — enough to power about 150,000 average customer homes.”
- Coca-Cola has unveiled a program to get power from a number of solar projects in the UK, including one at Europe’s largest soft drinks plant. The effort is part of a “£300,000 venture to help reduce its energy bills and environmental impacts.”
- Solar-powered ATMs are coming to India. Vortex Engineering, a start-up incubated at Chennai’s Indian Institute of Technology, is behind the installations. “To date, 450 Gramatellers have been installed, most in small towns between 30 and 60 kilometers from bank headquarters. Vortex marketing manager, Sabarinath Nair, estimates that 10,000 more are slated to be in place within the next two years, with international expansion — Bangladesh, Madagascar, Nepal, and Djibouti — already underway.”
Other Solar News
- A “Cycling Nomad” has spotted a pretty sweet bike touring setup that includes solar power. More info and pictures are available on the Bike Shop Hub.
- Solar3D has announced its path to commercialization and could enter the market in 2013.
- Solar Junction, a developer of high efficiency multi-junction solar cells for the concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) market that we’ve written about several times, has received a SUNPATH award from the US Department of Energy (DOE) as part of a $21.5 million program to increase its CPV cell manufacturing capacity. “Through this program, Solar Junction is targeting a median cell efficiency of 42% on 150mm substrates. These factors will make a substantial impact on reducing CPVʼs $/W module costs by driving down the cost of the cell, while increasing the CPV module power output with increased cell efficiency.”