Solar thermal

A solar greenhouse arises among the sand dunes

GlassPoint Solar just raised $26 million in venture capital and built a pilot project to prove that its solar steam equipment could help oil companies pry loose of heavy crude and make it easier to extract.

BrightSource raises a whopping $80M for solar farms

The leading solar thermal developer BrightSource has raised a massive round of $80 million in private equity. It’s a rare move these days that a cleantech startup can raise that much money, but BrightSource has diligently been scaling up Ivanpah, its inaugural farm near Las Vegas.

A road trip to the land where oil and solar meet

An 180-mile drive takes me through the farm belt of California to Coalinga, where Chevron runs an old oil field that uses steam to boost its production. It operates a demonstration project, completed last fall, that uses sun’s energy instead of natural gas to produce steam.

BrightSource pulls its solar IPO plan

It’s not meant to be after all. Solar power plant developer BrightSource Energy, plans to withdraw its plan to go public because of poor market conditions, the company said Wednesday night.

A “crazy idea”: Tiny solar mirrors controlled by actuators

The kind of flat solar mirrors that BrightSource Energy is erecting in California’s Mojave Desert run 7.2 meters by 10.5 meters. The kind that Saul Griffith is working on stretches all 5 centimeter by 5 centimeter and sit on trackers that are no taller than a toothpick.

The battle over who can say yes to solar farms

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.

Solar thermal farm developer lines up $27M

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.

Solar Stirling startup Infinia looking to raise $25M

Infinia, a solar startup which is using Stirling engines to produce solar power, is looking to raise $25 million in funding, and has closed $6 million of that round according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

A solar controversy highlights the project permit process

A controversy has emerged at the California Energy Commission over whether the commission should have authority to issue permits for photovoltaic power plants – projects that use solar panels. Tomorrow, the commission will consider a developer’s request for the commission to do just that.

Another giant solar plant ditches thermal tech for panels

Yet another massive solar thermal farm in the California desert is ditching the thermal part and opting for solar panels. Solar Trust, which has been developing a 1 GW solar farm in California, announced it will use panels instead and give up $2.1B of federal help.

BrightSource to offer solar salt storage, too

Adding energy storage is becoming vogue for concentrating solar thermal power projects, particularly when it’s facing intense pressure to reduce costs. BrightSource Energy said Wednesday it, too, will offer an energy storage option to its power plant design.

Solar v. wind: which gets more government love?

As key programs from the stimulus package draw to a close, we look at how wind and solar power plant projects compete for same pots of money. The scores: solar gets more loan guarantees while wind gets more grants.

DOE offers almost $2B for solar thermal projects

The DOE has been getting the remainder of its loan guarantees out the door at record speed in time to beat the program’s sunset on Sept. 30 of this year. On Tuesday the DOE announced almost $2 billion in loan guarantees for two solar thermal projects.

GE’s key to clean power: natural gas

General Electric is a major wind turbine maker and has announced big plans in the past year to tackle the solar market. But it may be the company’s strategy to expand its natural gas power plant equipment business that could be a significant driver of renewable energy.

Cogenra’s Hybrid Solar: Mirrors, Silicon & Heat

Cogenra has developed a concentrating PV system with a heat harvester to produce electricity and heat water. The company is one of a growing number of hybrid system developers vying for generous incentives from states such as California.

PVT Solar Bags Cash to Peddle Electric-Heat Combo

PVT Solar, which is developing a way to capture heat from a solar-panel rooftop system for heating water and homes, has raised a series B round of $13.7 million and also brought in a new CEO, Vikas Desai, the company plans to announce Tuesday.

BrightSource Raises Another $26M, IPO for 2011?

Solar thermal player BrightSource has raised another $26 million of its previously raised round, and reportedly has moved closer to an IPO by hiring Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Will the solar thermal leader hit the public markets in 2011?

California Desert To Bloom With Solar, Hopefully

The federal Bureau of Land Management will be stamping its final approval on a series of giant solar energy projects in California over the next two months, marking 2010 as the year when the state allows its desert to bloom with mirrors to produce electricity.

New Hot Market: Using IT to Monitor Solar Water Heaters

It should come as no surprise that the recently launched California incentive program to promote solar water heaters has led to a boom. SunReports, for one, on Wednesday unveiled a package of monitoring device and service for solar hot water systems designed for business customers.

Report: BrightSource Energy IPO Likely in 2-3 Years

BrightSource Energy is close to securing approval from the California Energy Commission for its first commercial project to build a solar thermal power plant, and it’s lined up a hefty federal loan guarantee. Is it time for it to go public?

California Set to Approve 1.6 GW of Solar in Desert

August is turning out to be a critical month for concentrating solar thermal developers. The California Energy Commission issued recommendations for not one, but three projects over the past week, for a whopping total of 1.6 GW. uire

Cold Reality in the Solar Thermal World

Schott Solar’s announcement that it plans to halve its factory capacity for solar thermal equipment and will lay off 30 workers is a sobering reminder of some of the hurdles ahead for this emerging industry (or re-emerging, depending on your perspective).

BrightSource Brings In Massive $150M for Solar Thermal

BrightSource Energy, a developer of utility-scale solar thermal power plants, has raised $150 million in a fourth-round of equity financing. The massive new investment announced this morning puts it in a growing group of greentech startups that have raised more than $300 million.

Can Fossil Fuels Get Better With Solar Thermal?

Electric Power Research Institute is heading up research that will examine whether taking steam from solar thermal projects and adding them to conventional fossil fuel power plants can help reduce fuel costs and plant emissions.

Wired Staffs Up for Video Push

Wired has hired Annaliza Savage, who until this week produced CrankyGeeks for Ziff Davis, to help start its new video division. Savage,…

Google Slaps FCC Silly

Google general counsel Andrew Mclaughlin in a Light Reading story about the FCC forgot a four letter word called “tact.” “The FCC…

VoIP: what a year it was

2004 is going to be remembered as a breakthrough year for VoIP, says EWeek. I said the same thing about three months…

Nanotech is nexus of sciences

Steve Jurvetson: Nanotech exposes the core areas of overlap in the fundamental sciences, the place where quantum physics and quantum chemistry can…

Soyo joins VoIP Party

SOYO Broadband Telephony, has joined the VoIP party with Z-Connect. The company says that with it products, “all users need to do…

Microsoft’s Real Problem

The New York Times:: The incipient rise of Firefox, some analysts say, points to an inherent weakness in a fundamental Microsoft business…

A mega-broadband life

Some swedes are living the mega-broadband future, according to this Reuters’ article. One of them is Rainer Kinnunen, a 31-year-old student who…