Cleantech Buffet (… Most Attractive States For Solar, 4 Lessons From Solar Crowdfunding …)

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Here’s a fresh cleantech buffet for you. Enjoy! (Links to our own stories on the subheadings.)


Most Attractive States For Investing In Solar

There are a lot of ways to evaluate the attractiveness of a place for renewable energy or solar energy investment, and to evaluate the best solar states. Of course, it depends on what factors and assumptions you take into account, as well as what segment of the market you are actually evaluating.

One of the leading evaluators of such markets is Ernst & Young (EY). The “professional services firm” recently released its most up-to-date renewable energy attractiveness indices for the US, including a solar energy index. The report includes solar market data for 2012 as well as a well-researched ranking of states by their solar energy investment attractiveness. The overall summary is clear, as we have been writing for months here on CostofSolar.comthe US solar market is booming.

Huge Solar Power Plant Completed In California

A humungous solar power plant was completed and hooked up to the grid last week in Southern California. The Catalina Solar Photovoltaic Generating Facility, constructed by Bechtel for EDF Renewable Energy, has 110 megawatts (MW) of power capacity. In other words, at maximum output, the power plant could produce 110,000,000 watts of electricity. That’s enough to power 1,100,000 100-watt incandescent light bulbs (of course, it would power a lot more CFLs or LEDs producing the same amount of light).

4 Lessons Learned From Solar Crowdfunding

We have two broken systems — energy and finance — that conspire to support a centralized, coal-based grid that exacerbates climate change and fails to serve the poor in developing countries.

That means 1.3 billion people around the world won’t escape the dark (while simultaneously frying the climate) — unless we disrupt these systems and deploy distributed clean energy.

Three months ago, the Sierra Club worked on a pilot project with SunFunder to promote a potentially disruptive solution: solar crowdfunding for the world’s poor. We have a few preliminary lessons we’d like to share about taking it to scale.

Solar Speaks: The Solar Industry’s Own E-Bay? It’s On It’s Way Sept. 9

Welcome to another edition of Solar SpeaksSolar Power World’s podcast series that gives you the opportunity to hear from the industry’s biggest newsmakers — in their own words.

In this podcast, we talked to Gary Mull. Many of you will remember Gary from his time at Westinghouse Solar and wondered where he had gone. Well, Gary’s been working on a new project called Solar Exchange that will officially launch on Sept. 9, and he’s here to today to talk about it.

Willshire Homes & SolarCity Team Up To Offer Solar On New Homes At Woodside Village

Wilshire Homes is expanding its green building practices by partnering with SolarCity (Nasdaq: SCTY), a leading provider of clean energy, to offer solar panels for its range of LEED-certified homes in downtown Boerne’s Woodside Village, giving homebuyers an easy way to make the switch to clean, renewable energy for their homes and help them save money on their electric bills.

A Tale of Two Solar Cities: In California, two communities vie for claim to ‘Solar Capital of the U.S.’

The fight for the title “Solar Capital of the U.S.” is on, and for two towns in California, things are heating up faster than a solar panel during summer peak! Earlier this year Lancaster, on the edge of the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles, became the first city in the U.S. to mandate solar on new buildings. Months later and 400 miles away, Sebastopol—not far from Napa and Sonoma—followed suit. On the surface they couldn’t be more different … one a conservative, blue-collar city; the other a pocket of liberal, small-town wine country charm. Yet the sun unites them.

Nano-Power System Timers Slash Power Consumption Up To 80%

Texas Instruments has introduced two programmable system timers that significantly reduce system standby power consumption. The TPL5000 with watchdog timer and TPL5100 with MOS driver draw only 30 nA of current, a reduction of 90% compared to competitive solutions. The quiescent current of 30 nA enables longer application run time, which assists in maximizing the energy from solar harvesters. This allows the system designer to use a smaller harvester.

Solar + Wind

Renewables Top 14% of US Electrical Generation During First Half of 2013

According to the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly,” with preliminary data through to June 30, 2013, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) provided 14.20% of the nation’s net electric power generation during the first half of the year. For the same period in 2012, renewables accounted for 13.57% of net electrical generation.

German Electricity Getting Cheaper on Exchange

In mid-August, Germany had its first normal workday on which peak power prices were below base prices, and futures prices are also down. Craig Morris provides an overview and warns proponents of renewables not to rejoice too soon at the demise of conventional power.


Bicycle Culture Micro-designs To Love

The next episode in the series by Copenhagenize Design Co. überintern Ivan Conte is Micro Design, a natural follow-up to the previous episode on Macro Design.

Bike Lanes Boost Local Businesses

A study of Seattle’s bike lanes and small businesses shows that bike lanes strengthen local business sales.

The Rapha City Cycling Europe Guide (a sneak preview)

Slated for release at the tail-end of October and now available for pre-order on Amazon, The Rapha City Cycling Europe guide is shaping up to be a delectable treat for bike minded weekend-breakers.

Initially sold together as an eight volume box set, each guide features “cycle-friendly neighbourhoods, itineraries, cycle maps and places to visit where cyclists are always welcome”.

Aimed primarily at those on “casual” city breaks (does anyone like to make “serious” holiday visits?), there will also be information for the more hardcore racing enthusiast.

Research Helps Make The Case For Cycling

Looking to make the case for bicycling in your community?

Check out Rutgers University Prof. John Pucher’s recent presentation, “How to Increase Cycling for Daily Travel: Lessons from Cities Around the Globe.” [PDF] Pucher initially presented the information to the Institute for Transportation Engineers and Active Living Research, but the data and statistics are free to share and use to make the case for biking.

The presentation includes images from a wide range of bike facilities from around North American and the world, in addition to valuable statistics on protected bike lanes.


Uwe Dreher, Head of Brand Management, BMWi (VIDEO)

We spoke with Uwe Dreher about BMWi which launched in 2011 and focuses on the topic of future mobility, especially in urban centers. Are ten years of being deployed in megacities, BMW saw the change in consumer behavior. Consumers are demanding sustainable cars and a more relaxed driving experience.

BMW believes that sustainability is the basis of all future business. They believe in long term thinking and the need to invest in the future. Fossil fuels have two problems: they emit CO2; and they are running out.

BMW targets early adopters who fall into two categories. The first are tech lovers who are extrinsically motivated and want to one up the neighbors. The second understand the circle of life, they are intrinsically motivated, who want to drive an electric car because its sustainable. These are the two groups that BMW target before the trend filters through to the mainstream.

Energy Efficiency

Passive Houses Gaining Popularity In The U.S.

For my entire life, I never owned a working air conditioner, and I used a standing fan to keep myself cool the whole time (it consumed only 50 watts), and Jamaica is pretty hot. Electricity prices are extremely high here (the U.S. equivalent of $0.39 $0.45/kWh), and that makes continuous air conditioner operation too cost prohibitive. In America, where air conditioner usage is extensive and popular, passive housing is finally gaining ground.

The Business Case For LEDs

It is fascinating to think about how many different types of businesses there are out there. Out of all of the goals these businesses have, there are two that virtually all of them share, to make and save money.

Even though this is a truth about business, it often has a negative connotation to the general public.  The general public often visualizes layoffs, outsourcing, and shady accounting when these business principals come up in discussion. However as you know there are plenty of methods to save your precious business capital that you can and should be proud of.


About Time: Government Taking Over at Fukushima

I haven’t written for some time about the Fukushima site. In my opinion both TEPCO and the Japanese government are unable to adequately deal with the crisis. They should ask for more international help, especially from the veterans of the Chernobyl cleanup effort.

Is Fukushima the New Normal for Nuclear Reactors?

Last week’s new crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan saw radioactive water leak again from the crippled facility, raising fears that groundwater flowing into the Pacific Ocean could be contaminated. The Japanese government also raised the international incident level – the scale used to assess nuclear accidents – from one to three out of seven. The original nuclear meltdown following the 2011 Japanese earthquake was scaled seven.

Even if Fukushima was ultimately caused by the 2011 earthquake and ensuing tsunami, accidents such as this beg the question: can nuclear energy ever be truly safe?

There are three reasons to think that nuclear accidents are common, and could increase – and it’s not because of the technology. Let’s have a look at the evidence.

Japan May Dip Into Budget Reserves To Fight Fukushima Toxic Water

Japan may use emergency reserve funds from this year’s budget to help Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, deal with escalating radioactive water problems at the site.

EU Considers Allowing “State Aid” For Nuclear

An internal draft of guidelines being discussed for energy aid within the European Commission has been provided to Renewables International. It shows that Brussels is considering including nuclear as a legitimate recipient of state aid because of the Euratom Treaty.


Wanted: $1 Trillion a Year to Decarbonise by 2020

The world will need to come up with more than $US1 trillion a year to fund the decarbonisation of the global energy system by 2020, according to a new report by HSBC.

The report – Counting the Climate Cash, released on Tuesday – warns that the flow of finance to climate solutions needs to be scaled up significantly if the world is to decarbonise and have any hope of meeting globally accepted climate goals.

A List of America’s Fastest-Growing Clean Energy Companies

The editors at Inc. magazine have released their rankings of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in America. The list offers an interesting snapshot of where growth is taking place in the energy sector.

The boom in America’s unconventional oil and gas development is clearly evident on the list. Out of the 110 energy companies mentioned, there were dozens of firms providing drilling services, pipeline construction services, and consulting on fossil energy development. With the U.S. now producing more liquid fuels than Saudi Arabia, the growth of those companies isn’t surprising.

DOE Head Ernest Moniz Delivers First Major Policy Address

Dr. Ernest J. Moniz just delivered his first big policy address since being sworn in as the 13th U.S. Secretary of Energy in May. He spoke at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy in New York City this afternoon.

Secretary Moniz set the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan as the backbone of his speech and set the stage for his tenure at the DOE.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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