Crystalline solar cell market grew 39 percent in 2007, says Gartner

April 7, 2008

PVTech : The crystalline silicon solar cell market had another robust year, according to figures from Gartner, Inc. The sector saw revenues increase 39 percent in 2007 compared with 2006, resulting in a 42 percent CAGR from 2004 through 2007. Ongoing demand in 2008 is expected with solar silicon consumption expected to exceed that of electronic semiconductor consumption for the first time, Gartner sai.

Crystalline silicon solar cell leaders were able to secure silicon material sufficiently for strong growth in 2007, though short supply actually hampered growth rates. Gartner noted that Q-Cells took the number one slot for the first time as Sharp and other Japanese manufacturers struggled to secure polysilicon supplies. Q-Cells now holds 17.2 percent of the market with revenues climbing 70 percent in 2007 compared to 2006…


California utility signs $3 billion solar power deal

April 4, 2008

Flag of CaliforniaMetaefficient: Pacific Gas & Electric today will announce a deal to buy as much as 900 megawatts of electricity. It will be enough to power 540,000 California homes each year, and involve the construction of five solar power plants during the next decade. The company to build the solar-thermal power plants in the Mojave Desert is BrightSource Energy.

“From what I know, this is the biggest commitment ever in the history of solar,” said John Woolard, BrightSource Energy’s chief executive officer and president. “It’s a fairly significant undertaking on both sides.”

Building all five plants in the Mojave will cost $2 billion to $3 billion, Woolard said. The project, which faces regulatory and financing hurdles, could mean 2,000 construction jobs, and employ about 1,000 workers to operate the plants….

State flag of California, “Zscout370,” Wikimedia Commons

Global wind capacity reaches 100,000 megawatts

March 31, 2008

Global wind capacity

Earth Policy Institute: At its current growth rate, global installed wind power capacity will top 100,000 megawatts in March 2008. In 2007, wind power capacity increased by a record-breaking 20,000 megawatts, bringing the world total to 94,100 megawatts—enough to satisfy the residential electricity needs of 150 million people. Driven by concerns regarding climate change and energy security, one in every three countries now generates a portion of its electricity from wind, with 13 countries each exceeding 1,000 megawatts of installed wind electricity-generating capacity…..

The chart is from GWEC; Worldwatch. 

Illinois wind turbine meeting in February

January 16, 2008

Urbana Daily Citizen (Illinois): The Wind Turbine Study Group will host an evening meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Champaign County Community Center. The group made the decision during Tuesday’s regular morning meeting after discussion about the environmental benefits of wind energy compared to traditional coal-fired power plants.

WTSG member Jon Berry said one 200 megawatt turbine can reduce emissions of nitrous oxide by eight tons, sulfur dioxide by 14 tons and carbon dioxide by 2,697 tons annually. “Those figures do not include the pollutants created to remove coal and transport it,” he added. Berry said a typical coal-fired electric plant in a year produces 3.7 million tons of CO2, which is a greenhouse gas associated with global warming.

…Prosecutor Nick Selvaggio, coordinator for the WTSG, said the wind turbine industry has minimized risks, but pointed out that it does not have a perfect track record, especially in construction phases. “No one power industry is tragedy-safe,” he said.

“The world runs on trade-offs,” said Everpower liaison Mike Pullins. “If there are health issues with wind turbines, they are significantly less than current (power) sources.”

The agenda for the Feb. 6 meeting will include a question-and-answer session with an industrial noise expert hired by Union Neighbors United as well as representatives from wind development companies.

CERES (an NGO) has a study about the role of financial institutions in energy

January 12, 2008

CNN Money: Four years ago, it was almost impossible to get financial institutions to attend an investor summit on climate risk. Today, some of the world’s largest banks have embraced the issue by focusing on research on the impact of global warming on investments, cutting their own greenhouse emissions and funding clean energy projects, according to a report released Thursday by Ceres.

However, a six-month study of the world’s 40 largest banks also found that only a few are integrating climate risks into their lending practices, and setting targets to reduce greeenhouse gas emissions in their lending portfolios.

“We’re seeing a different mindset across the board,” says Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres, a leading coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations, which published the report, Corporate Governance and Climate Change: The Banking Sector. “They’ve gotten more involved because the debate has changed,” said Lubber. ” This is a capital market issue and a government issue.”

The pressure to address global climate change is coming from clients, employees, government and the banks’ own research, the study said. “It absolutely affects their bottom line,” said Lubber.

This is a proposed format for the blog

January 10, 2008

The is the inaugural post for the proposed blog. We’re presenting it generically, with a minimum of identifying content.