Solar Power Recap: March 9th
We’ll cut right to the chase this morning — no clever lead-in or snappy recap. Just pure, unadulterated solar energy news…
First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) today announced it signeda power purchase agreement (PPA) with California utility PG&E for a300-megawatt (mW) utility-scale photovoltaic installation in SouthernCalifornia, via Solar Industry.These 300 mWs will join 250 mWs already under contract with SouthernCalifornia Edison (SCE), ultimately creating a 550-mW installationcalled the Desert Sunlight project. Located near Desert Center ineastern Riverside County, Calif., the installation will generate enoughelectricity to power about 160,000 area homes.
In related news via Barron’s,J.P. Morgan downgraded First Solar, along with Evergreen Solar(NASDAQ:ESLR) and Energy Conversion Devices (NASDAQ:ENER), citing an impending supply glut of solar panels over the next 12 months.
In California solar news, Roseville-based Solar Power Inc. says it plans to build a manufacturing plant and a large solar-energy farm in Sacramento County, according to Central Valley Business Times. See this coverage from GetSolar’s Margaret Collins for more details. This Sacramento solar story comes on the heels of Kyocera Solar’s announcement that it will open a solar-panel manufacturing facility in San Diego.
On the other side of the country, Martin LaMonica of CNET provides a concise overview of the MIT Energy Conference,which was held in Cambridge, MA this past Saturday. The facts thatframed the conference, LaMonica relays, are well known: between now and2030, global energy demand will grow at an astonishing rate, mostlybecause developing countries are, well, developing. New roads, newbuildings, new diets, new lifestyles — all of this adds up to aboatload of energy demand. To meet it — and to have a chance atstabilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at 450 parts-per-million,a commonly used target among climate scientists — Nobuo Tanaka,Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, noted that theworld would need to build “18 nuclear power plants, 17,000 windturbines, two or three huge hydroelectric dam projects, and 94concentrating solar power plants every year between now and 2030”…this on top of a broad-based rollout of energy efficiency measures.Check out LaMonica’s post for more details and links, along with theinescapable discussion on China’s energy policies. Interesting pullquote on that front: “There are some cultural differences. Tobe honest, Chinese people tend to listen better. When our president Husays something, we say, ‘Yes, sir.’ But in the U.S., people respond todirections by saying ‘Says who?’ or offering second thoughts.” No comment.
Shares of Phoenix Solar AG were up as much as 10 percent this morning in German trading, reports BusinessWeek.After boosting sales in the domestic market in 2009, the Germansolar-energy developer beat analysts’ expectations on earnings.
Writing for the New York Times, Elisabeth Rosenthal yesterday offered an insightful profile of Puertollano, Spain, a city that suffered from a boom-and-bust cycle brought on by that country’s hastily implemented solar energy policies. Thecity’s experience should serve as a cautionary tale for any governmentpondering how to structure renewable energy incentives. All isnot lost in Puertollano, however, as Rosenthal reports: “Even with thereduced incentives and local economic downturn, the solar industry gavePuertollano something of a face-lift and, potentially, a new economicfuture. Research institutes there are developing cutting-edgetechnologies. Unemployment, though now up around 10 percent, has notreturned to the 20 percent figure. The city is home to a number ofsolar businesses: a new 50-megawatt thermal-solar plant owned by theSpanish energy giant Iberdrola created hundreds of jobs.” Turns out a good old-fashion oil boom puts a solar-energy boom to shame.
The New York town of Tonawanda is considering a temporary moratorium on solar energy installations, reports The Buffalo News.Evidently town lawmakers need more time to determine how to bestregulate solar projects. Oh, if we could only harmonize solar powerrules and regs across the board…
Finally today, Greentech Media yesterday released a list of the Top 50 VC-Funded Greentech Startups.The big solar names were Brightsource Energy, Enphase Energy, eSolar,Nanosolar, SolarCity and Solyndra, among others. GetSolar didn’t makethe cut this time around, but we’re pulling hard for 2011… Perhaps most instructive is how Greentech came up with their list: “Wespread the names of 500 VC-funded firms on the Greentech Media dancefloor and cut the head off of a chicken. Wherever the chicken landed —that was a winner. We stopped when we ran out of chickens.”
That’s all for this Tuesday. Be sure to stay plugged in with GetSolar.
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