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First Solar_Cimarron

The California Energy Commission is scheduled to consider whether to take on the role of licensing photovoltaic power plants, an authority that usually rests with local governments such as counties and cities. The decision could greatly expand its authority to shape the state’s solar energy development. Read more »

Power to the people #2

Efforts to modernize the U.S. grid in recent years have emerged as a hodgepodge of pilot projects, the installation of new technology and hefty financial backing from the U.S. government and private investors. How to plan for such a change is a daunting task. Read more »

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Solaria panels on dual-axis trackers

Concentrating solar photovoltaics use optics to concentrate sunlight onto solar cells to boost energy production. While the tech is still in an early stage, some startups are looking to ramp up, like Fremont, Calif.-based Solaria, which has raised another $30 million. Read more »

U.S. Army solar

With roughly a month to go before a key U.S. solar incentive is set to expire, a familiar phenomenon emerges once again: a rush to install projects. Manufacturers expect to see a big demand, though not necessarily big profits from the boom. Read more »

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A Sungevity solar installation in the Maldives, courtesy of Sungevity.
photo: Image courtesy of Sungevity.

Sungevity, a venture-backed residential solar service provider, is heading overseas. The company announced Thursday that it’s made an equity investment in a new Dutch company and will license its software and provide engineering services to the startup. Read more »

Chevy Volt 2011_v2

Federal regulators on Wednesday released a proposed rule for hiking the fuel economy for cars to be sold from 2017 to 2025, and it’s full of incentives for encouraging automakers to use battery-powered and other alternative-fuel technologies. Read more »

Ivanpah Tower

It was roughly a year ago when the California Energy Commission approved nine solar farms all within a few months in order to make sure those projects could qualify for a federal program that subsidizes 30 percent of their costs. Where are they now? Read more »

light switches

Energy efficiency measures both reduce consumption and slow the pace of building power plants. Utilities know that, but how much are they doing to promote the idea? A report looks at 50 U.S. utilities and ranked them by the investments they have made in energy efficiency. Read more »

Uni-Solar 4_1_GM_Zaragoza

A glut of solar panels and crushing prices have made life difficult for solar manufacturers this year, and bad news keeps coming. Longtime solar thin-film maker Energy Conversion Devices, which has factories in Michigan, Canada and Mexico, has suspended manufacturing and will furlough 400 workers. Read more »

Ray Lane's Fisker Karma

Is A123 Systems a company that is good at announcing deals but can’t profit from them? After cutting its 2011 sales forecast last Friday, A123 on Monday announced a licensing deal with Japan’’s IHI, which will make a $25 million equity investment in A123. Read more »

First Solar Fontana project

Solar manufacturers have been on supercharged expansion mode over the past five years in order to cut costs and solar prices. But to continue that march at this point is just unwise. First Solar is now putting off bringing online a solar panel factory in Vietnam. Read more »

Tigo Energy

As the solar market grows and competition intensifies, technology that can maximize energy harvesting from solar panels will continue to win over investors. The latest example comes from Tigo Energy, which has raised $5 million, according to its government filing Tuesday. Read more »

Eagle Roofing SolarBlend tiles2

The emergence of the smart grid has raised concerns about cybersecurity among utilities; two-way digital networks are more vulnerable. But according to utility executives, distributed power generation technologies, such as solar, particularly combined with energy storage, could help minimize the impact of an attack. Read more »

ZeaChem's Lab: From Termite-Gut Bugs to Biofuel

Developing biofuels continues to be a bright spot in the cleantech world. Two startups, plant genetic engineering company Chromatin and biofuel producer ZeaChem, announced separately on Tuesday that they have raised new rounds of funding. Read more »

SolarReserve: Solar & Salt in the Nevada Desert

Roughly a month after securing a federal loan to build its first solar farm in the U.S., SolarReserve has raised $27 million in equity, according to a government filing. The company will need the funds to complete the solar power plant and work on additional projects. Read more »


Power electronics that can boost energy production from solar panels has emerged in recent years as a favorite among venture capital investors. On Monday, that trend continues with the announcement that an Israeli startup, SolarEdge, has raised $37 million from VCs. Read more »


Fighting for funding is a perennial, bloody sport for just about every federal agency. But the budget funding cycle is seriously out of whack with the development cycle for clean energy, according to Arun Majumdar, director of the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E). Read more »

SolarWorld factory in Oregon 2

Solyndra bankruptcy has helped to fuel resentment toward China for its generous subsidies of Chinese solar companies. That resentment has morphed into petitions filed Wednesday that ask the U.S. government to investigate Chinese companies for allegedly flooding the U.S. market with goods below costs. Read more »

SunPower C7

Once upon a time, concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology received ridicule for its design and promise to deliver cheaper electricity. But CPV is now attracting new entrants such as SunPower, the long-time maker of traditional solar panels that on Tuesday launched a CPV system. Read more »

Abound Solar 1

This week’s gathering of the solar industry in Dallas at a conference will become a temporary central command for solar energy advocates who see an urgent need to fight back against negative public sentiment about solar that resulted from Solyndra’s federal loan and bankruptcy. Read more »

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