Some things in the solar world are shakey – Solar City pumping itself up.

The solar industry has always been a dicey niche market. They are the ups and downs of a new market trying to find its place in the energy portfolio. Great article.

SolarCity Delays IPO, Likely To Lower Price

San Jose Mercury News  |  By Dana Hull Posted: 12/12/2012 11:19 am EST  |  Updated: 12/12/2012 2:49 pm EST

SAN MATEO — In a worrisome sign for the cleantech sector, SolarCity postponed its IPO plans late Tuesday, perhaps to reduce the price of shares below its original range.

The delay came after SolarCity Chairman Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, made the unusual move of stepping in to buy $15 million worth of shares, or 12 percent of the total offering. Musk’s willingness to put more skin in the company he helped found was intended to boost investor interest.

It wasn’t clear Tuesday evening if the IPO is simply being delayed for a day or two or if there are more serious problems that could lead the company to shelve plans to go public. SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive could not immediately be reached for comment, and calls to the company’s press office were not returned.

Solar companies, particularly manufacturers, have been battered for months. The “solar curse” began with the bankruptcy of Fremont solar manufacturer Solyndra in 2011, which cast a long shadow over the industry. In April, Oakland-based BrightSource Energy canceled its IPO plans at the final hour.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


How To Turn Illinois Into A Renewable State – I am not sure I agree

But this guy is a good writer and the points are well thought out.

David Roberts

Energy, politics, and more

How to make Illinois into a clean-energy leader

Illinois is a big deal where power is concerned: of U.S. states, it’s the sixth largest consumer of electricity and the fourth largest producer. It has more nuclear power plants than any other state and is unusually dense with underutilized transmission lines, which are at a premium these days. It has a thriving wind power industry (though it is a sad 18th in installed solar capacity), and a bustling, green-minded metropolis in Chicago, which boasts nearly 80,000 green jobs.

So it’s too bad the Illinois power system makes the Talmud look like The Da Vinci Code. I’ve been talking to people about it for a week and I feel like my brain got mugged in a back alley.

Nonetheless! States are where it’s at, in terms of clean-energy policy, and significant things are going on in Illinois. I shall attempt to make sense of them for you.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Solar in the Middleast – When the oil producers get it and the price drops the change will come

But will the change come in time. I still got my doubts about that.

Middle East beginning to embrace solar energy

AP Environment Writer

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Covering nearly 300 football fields in a remote patch of desert, the Shams 1 solar project carries off plenty of symbolic significance for the United Arab Emirates.

It will be the first, large-scale solar project in the oil-rich country when it is completed at the end of the year, and the largest of its kind in the Middle East. At full capacity, the 100-megawatt, concentrated solar project will be able to power 20,000 homes. For those behind the project, it’s the surest sign yet that solar is coming to the region in a big way.

“We truly believe solar will be a major contributor to meeting our own requirements,” said Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, the UAE’s Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change and the chief executive officer of government-funded Masdar, which is the majority investor in the project.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Las Vegas has made huge strides in conservation efforts

Yes I know there are many things that are wrong about Las Vegas. People shouldn’t even be there in the first place. The rape of the river that no longer reaches the sea. The rape of the pristine desert and the death of many Native Americans. I lived there for a year and there is also the cheesy nature of the culture. But when they do something right, you got to give them credit.


Nevada Energy Star Partners Demonstrate Peak Performance (Web Only)

September 01, 2012

Las Vegas may appear balmy and inviting with its sparkling pools and swaying palm trees, but those who live in Neon City know the truth: It’s too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.

Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of homes that were built during an amazing 50 years of rapid growth in the Southwest do not incorporate modern advances in energy performance to accommodate the wild swings of desert climate. As temperatures climb to 110°F in the summer, many homes leak large amounts of cooled air through gaps in ducts, roofs, windows, and doors. And when the frigid north wind drops the temperature below freezing in the winter, heated air escapes, leaving living rooms and bedrooms uncomfortably cold and drafty. While Las Vegans know their climate, they may not realize that they are paying to heat and cool the great outdoors.

The dramatic temperature shifts in the high-desert climate make Las Vegas an ideal place for homeowners who are looking to make their homes more comfortable and to save substantially on their energy bills. Funded in part by DOE’s Building America program, the Building America Retrofit Alliance is working with the Nevada ENERGY STAR Partners–Green Alliance (NESP–Green Alliance), and with Better Building Performance, a Las Vegas company, to upgrade two typical homes top to bottom. Their goal has been to show homeowners and remodelers how easy and effective energy performance upgrades can be.


Go there and read. More Tomorrow.


I normally would not think of Colorado as a solar state

But I imagine the whole “front range” of the rocky mountains is. Usually you think of deserts but really sunshine falls everywhere and the higher you go the more intensity it generates. So we close the week with this:

Colorado Solar Power

Despite Colorado’s fame as a skiing destination, Denver actually ranks 30th of 174 major U.S. cities in terms of sunshine potential, not far behind Honolulu and Miami. In fact, Colorado has the third highest installed solar PV generation capacity of any U.S. state (source: IREC US Solar Market Trends 2009). As a result of innovative policies and greater awareness of environmental issues, Colorado was an early adopter of solar energy systems. As of the end of 2009, the state had 59 megawatts of installed solar PV capacity, third highest among U.S. states despite the fact that the state ranks 22nd in terms of population. In addition, Colorado installed 53.6 megawatts of solar power in 2010, ranking Colorado fourth in the nation, which was double the output for 2009 (23.4 megawatts). Home to natural gas, oil and some of our nation’s best solar rebates, Colorado plays an important role in the United States’ energy industry. Colorado was the first state to create a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), through a 2004 ballot initiative. Originally, the RPS mandated that all utilities with more than 40,000 customers provide at least 10% of their electricity from a renewable energy source. Through additional improvements, it is now mandated that by 2020 investor-owned utilities must provide 30% and cooperatives and municipal utilities with over 40,000 must provide 10% of their retail load from renewable energy sources. Investor-owned utilities also have a distributed generation requirement, which is good news for solar owners. By 2020, 3% of the retail load must come from customer solar electric systems, rather than huge solar farms. This means that investor-owned utilities will continue to offer fantastic solar incentives to consumers to increase the number of residential and commercial solar systems


Go there and read. More next week.


Green Investments Pay – Not according to the FHFA

This is an interesting Blog and an interesting post. I am no good at posting videos so:

Are PACE Financed Residential Energy Improvements Capitalized into Home Prices?

September 9, 2012

The FHFA believes that an unintended consequence of obtaining a PACE loan is to increase the risk of mortgage default.  The FHFA’s  logic is that if the green investments are not capitalized into home prices then the home owner’s equity decreases as equity =  sales price – debt owed.   Under these assumptions, the green investment doesn’t raise the sales price but does increase the debt owed. My recent research convinces me that this pessimism is false.  Here is  My letter to the FHFA. Here is my July 2012 peer viewed paper on solar panel capitalization effects in San Diego and Sacramento   dastrup-zivin-costa-and-kahn .

We need more regulatory scholarship focused on empirical work and hypothesis testing.  I have an incentive to say this because that is what I do.


Go there and see the video. More tomorrow.


Power From The People – How to community finance alternative energy

I do not know whether this is the way of the future. It sure claims it is.

How to Organize, Finance, and Launch Local Energy Projects

Is it possible to “relocalize” energy? This is a critical question that must be addressed if we are to achieve true global resilience.

In our brand new book (September 4, 2012), Power From the People, energy expert Greg Pahl decisively argues that the answer is YES.

Power From the People is the second book in our Community Resilience Guides series, The book illustrates how communities across the country are already generating their own energy at the local level. From citizen-owned wind turbines to co-op biofuel producers to community-wide initiatives combining multiple resources and technologies, Pahl outlines the steps necessary and plan, organize, finance and launch community energy projects.

The book showcases over 25 real-life examples of local energy projects, offering a range of challenges and solutions that can be adapted and reapplied.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Solar And Coal – You would not think they go together

I say this is a stretch. It is just the coal companies to throw a little sop to what “green” means. You judge for yourself.

Hybrid Solar Coal Plant Being Tested In Colorado


As much as we all want coal as an energy source to go away completely, we also know it will take the government and private sector sometime (too long in our opinion) to fully move to clean energy sources. In the meanwhile, methods need to be developed which can minimize the impact of fossil fuel usage on the environment. One such pilot project is going on near Grand Junction, Colorado, at Xcel Energy’s Cameo Generating Station using a unique solar-coal hybrid design.

Xcel Energy said it has connected a parabolic-trough solar technology system developed by Abengoa Solar to its coal power plant. This system concentrates solar energy to provide heat for producing supplemental steam for electric power production, which Xcel Energy feels will help lower the usage of coal as an energy source at this facility while also testing the commercial viability of concentrating solar power thermal integration and lowering carbon dioxide emissions.

This project is believed to be the world’s first known demonstration of the hybrid solar-coal approach using the parabolic-trough solar approach. It is part of a larger program by Xcel Energy to test promising new technologies with potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions and result in other environmental improvements. The company said this program allows it the opportunity to test these technologies and evaluate their cost, reliability and environmental performance at a demonstration scale before determining whether they should be deployed more widely


Go there and judge for yourself. More next week.


OK Back To The Solar Installments Around The World – Just a brief stop Friday

Now that we know that humans are going to be in pretty bad shape because of climate change, let’s go back to the meditation on what could have saved us if we would have started building them sooner. Large Solar Power Plants. I am not posting any pretty pictures, just the test.

World’s largest solar plant gets U.S. OK

$6 billion project in Calif. aims to power at least 300,000 homes staff and news service reports

updated 10/25/2010 6:07:03 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Calling it a major milestone, the Obama administration on Monday approved what investors say will be the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant and one that more than doubles all of U.S. solar output and can power at least 300,000 homes.

The project in the Mojave Desert near Blythe, Calif., is the sixth solar venture authorized on federal lands within the last month. All are in desert areas.

“The Blythe Solar Power Project is a major milestone in our nation’s renewable energy economy and shows that the United States intends to compete and lead in the technologies of the future,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in announcing the approval.

Construction on the $6 billion plant is expected to start by the end of 2010, with production starting in 2013. Developer Solar Millennium, a company based in Germany, says the plant will generate 1,066 construction jobs and 295 permanent jobs.

The project had run into opposition by some environmentalists due to wildlife concerns.


Go there see the pictures and read. More tomorrow.


This Is The Start Of A Solar Power Meditation – Harvesting the power of the sun

This is just such a beautiful installation. It takes up too much bandwidth to show pictures but here is a written description.

Gemasolar is the first commercial-scale plant in the world to apply central tower receiver and molten salt heat storage technology. The relevance of this plant lies in its technological uniqueness, since it opens up the way for new thermosolar electrical generation technology.

Characteristics of Gemasolar:

  • Rated electrical power: 19.9 MW
  • Net electrical production expected: 110 GWh/year
  • Solar field: 2,650 heliostats on 185 hectares
  • Heat storage system: the molten salt storage tank permits independent electrical generation for up to 15 hours without any solar feed.

The prolongation of the plant’s operating time in the absence of solar radiation and the improvement in efficiency of the use of the heat from the sun makes Gemasolar’s output much higher than that which is delivered by other technologies in a facility with the same power.

The notable increase in the plant’s power efficiency guarantees electrical production for 6,500 hours a year, 1.5 to 3 times more than other renewable energies. The plant will thus supply clean, safe power to 25,000 homes and reduce atmospheric CO2 emissions by more than 30,000 tons a year.

The power generated by Gemasolar will be sent through a high-tension line to the substation of Villanueva del Rey (Andalusia, Spain), where it will be injected into the grid.


Go there, read and see the pretty pictures. More tomorrow.