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Archive for January, 2011

When Will Solar be Truly Competitive?

January 18, 2011
When Will Solar be Truly Competitive?

By Dana Blankenhorn   |   January 14, 2011Re-printed from – http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2011/01/when-will-solar-be-truly-competitive?cmpid=SolarNL-Tuesday-January18-2011 A lot has been written lately about the excellent Berkeley Lab report called Tracking the Sun, which describes cost trends in U.S. Solar production back to 1999. (The illustration is from the report.) John Farrell at the Institute for Self-Reliance  seems especially taken with the wide variation in costs on a state level, noting his state of Minnesota had the most expensive solar energy. His group is very interested in community solar projects and he sees little relationship between market size and installed costs. But there’s an issue with the data that the authors...
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Electric Vehicles: A Win for Detroit and EE

January 15, 2011
Electric Vehicles: A Win for Detroit and EE

By Reid Smith   |   January 14, 2011    Re-printed from – http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2011/01/electric-vehicles-a-win-for-detroit-and-ee1 At this week’s Detroit Auto Show, electric vehicles are on top. Two of the year’s highest-rated cars are electric. The plug-in hybrid electric Chevy Volt was awarded this year’s “Car of the Year,” just beating out the all-electric Nissan LEAF. But regardless of which car wins, the message is clear: electric cars are generating a lot of excitement. It’s not just the auto industry that will benefit. The EV industry offers growth to other industries as well, including the energy efficiency sector. Utilities win because a growing electric auto fleet means more use...
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Buy American Policy for Solar — Who Cares?

January 14, 2011
Buy American Policy for Solar — Who Cares?

By Ucilia Wang, Contributor   |   January 13, 2011 Re-printed from – http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2011/01/buy-american-policy-for-solar-who-cares?cmpid=WNL-Friday-January14-2011 California, USA — A lot of energy has been devoted to the “Buy American” clause in a bill signed by President Obama last week that requires the Defense Department to buy U.S.- made solar panels. It’s a sexy subject because it stirs passionate debates about fair trade and protectionism and how China’s growing political and economic clout is scaring a lot of people. But what really is the impact of this new law? Here is what Paula Mints, director of energy at Navigant Consulting, said during a webinar yesterday: “The military isn’t...
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Solar Business Models Lead to Customers Saying “Yes”

January 11, 2011
Solar Business Models Lead to Customers Saying “Yes”

By Dana Blankenhorn   |   January 10, 2011   Re-printed from – http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2011/01/solar-business-models-lead-to-customers-saying-yes If you’re trying to install solar systems for a living, getting the customer to say yes is a struggle. Business models can help by lowering the financial hurdle the customer has to jump. The two most popular models in the residential solar market this year will be solar leasing and Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), sometimes called Solar-as-a-Service. REW.com editor, Stephen Lacey, provided a good history of them in November. Last month I wrote about one leasing company, Sungevity. The business model is powerful, I wrote. The execution looked good to me as well....
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Why Electric Vehicles Will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

January 10, 2011
Why Electric Vehicles Will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By Tam Hunt, Renewable Energy Consultant   |   January 10, 2011    Re=printed from – http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2011/01/why-electric-vehicles-will-significantly-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions A recent article by John Peterson argued that electric vehicles will take us backward in our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that today’s hybrid cars are more effective in reducing GHGs. Peterson’s commentary rests on recent research by Carnegie Mellon University regarding life-cycle emissions of various vehicle types. I believe Peterson’s highly negative view of electric vehicles is unwarranted and inaccurate due to a number of reasons that I describe below. I have some familiarity with these issues in that I represent the Green Power Institute (a non-profit...
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Energy Efficiency: The Unsung Hero of Our Times

January 9, 2011
Energy Efficiency: The Unsung Hero of Our Times

By Elisa Wood   |   January 7, 2011 Re-printed from – http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2011/01/energy-efficiency-the-unsung-hero-of-our-times As our economy continues to sputter, one little-noticed industry has been booming for a while now: energy efficiency. The sector is hiring like crazy — a fact that speaks volumes about the close relationship between clean energy and the economic recovery that we’re all waiting for. Energy efficiency could save us all. My firm works with utilities, government agencies, housing authorities, and other groups to help increase energy efficiency. We started in 1984 with three employees and one office. Today, we have nearly two dozen offices nationwide and employ 700 staffers from coast...
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Blowing in the Wind at CES: Smart Grid Home Turbines

January 7, 2011
Blowing in the Wind at CES: Smart Grid Home Turbines

By General Electric Company Thursday, January 6, 2011 Re-printed from – http://www.rdmag.com/News/Feeds/2011/01/manufacturing-blowing-in-the-wind-at-ces-smart-grid-home-turbin/ GEs first time appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas centers on smart grid technologies that will anchor the connected homes of the future from efficiently using power to making it. And on that power generation side is Southwest Windpower’s Skystream 600, which is making its own CES debut. The company, which is the world’s largest supplier of small wind systems, has residential-scale turbines already spinning everywhere from rural Kenya to the small island of Baththalangunduwa off of Sri Lanka to a Flagstaff, Arizona Chevron gas station that uses two....
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CES: ThinkEco smart plug lays waste to wasted power

January 7, 2011
CES: ThinkEco smart plug lays waste to wasted power

January 6, 2011 5:58 PM PST by Martin LaMonica Re-printed from – http://ces.cnet.com/8301-32254_1-20027709-283.html?tag=mncol%3bposts LAS VEGAS–Gear for smart, connected homes may give you consumers fine-grained control over home energy, but ThinkEco has got a light-weight approach to saving electricity. At the Consumer Electronics Shows here, ThinkEco said that a consumer version of its connected plug and software will be available this spring for $50. Additional plugs cost $44.95. The company’s modlet–short for modern outlet–is a two-outlet plug that fits over ordinary plugs and is equipped with a Zigbee radio. Using a USB stick in a PC, the owner can then see the energy usage and...
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PV capacity in China faces tough 2011

January 6, 2011
PV capacity in China faces tough 2011

(December 30, 2010 – Asia Pulse) — China’s domestic photovoltaics firms have achieved remarkable performances in 2010, boosted by surging demand in domestic and overseas markets. But the boom is hard to continue in 2011 upon oversupply in domestic market and no further growth in international demand, says analyst group Wind Info. According to statistics from Wind Info, 58 solar companies listed on China’s A-share market achieved combined net profits of 12.1 billion yuan (US$1.82 billion) in the first three quarters of 2010, up 46% year-on-year from 8.29 billion yuan.  However, high expectations on the outlook for the PV industry have attracted a good...
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Europe and Renewable Energy

January 6, 2011
Europe and Renewable Energy

From: Andy Soos, ENN Published January 6, 2011 11:24 AM Re-printed from – http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/42200 The European Union (EU)27 will exceed its target of meeting 20 % of its gross final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Today the European Wind Energy Association published its analysis of the 27 National Renewable Energy Action Plans, submitted by the EU Member States to the European Commission. “Taken together the Action Plans show that the EU-27 will meet 20.7 % of its 2020 energy consumption from renewables”, said Justin Wilkes, Policy Director of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). The countries of the European Union are currently...
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