Archive for December 19, 2011

Tennessee Loses Out on Suniva Solar Plant

Suniva Inc. has a “planned start-up date” of 2013 for a $250 million solar cell manufacturing facility in Thomas Township, Michigan, according to a state document.

In a Michigan Economic Development Corp. memo, the state projected the facility will hire up to 500 workers who earn an average wage of $923 a week. The high-efficiency solar panel making facility could mean 3,329 jobs throughout the state by 2020, and bring $88.6 million in state revenue by the same time, according to the MEDC analysis.

Suniva had considered locations in Georgia, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Oregon.

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Solar Energy Becomes GE Industrial Policy

Memphis TN

There are distinct phases in the development of a new technology.

The first phase is the era of the start-ups. The second is the era of big
capital. America is now into that second phase.

Spurred by fears that we’re losing “the green energy race” big players like Warren Buffett and General Electric (GE) are replacing older,
entrepreneurial companies as leaders of America’s solar industry.  The fear is that even American production of solar panels may be dominated by
foreign companies like Sharp, which is adding workers at its Memphis solar panel
factory. The companies are willing to take a short-term hit on earnings in order to make sure America has a shot at the “next big thing.”

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U.S. grant pays for solar farm at Chattanooga’s Lovell Field airport

Take off over the solar installation at Chattanooga airport

The biggest solar energy farm at an airport in Tennessee will go on line later this month, Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport officials said Monday.

The facility will sell to EPB and the Tennessee Valley Authority about $100,000 worth of electricity annually, said Terry Hart, the airport’s interim chief executive.

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UT-based partnership awarded Solar Challenge grant

A University of Tennessee-led partnership that includes TVA, KUB and the city of Knoxville is one of 22 teams nationwide awarded Rooftop Solar Challenge Grants by the U.S. Department of Energy and will receive $622,960.

DOE last week announced the winners of the competitive grants designed to promote solar power by simplifying zoning, permitting and other processes involved in solar installations.

The group will use the money to work with local officials in streamlining the permitting, planning, zoning and connection processes for solar installations across Tennessee.

The group also plans to develop a smartphone application that will simplify the application process for residents and companies interested in installing solar technology.

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TVA to buy power from Franklin

FRANKLIN -  Franklin’s first solar panel array should be installed by spring 2012 after Mayor Ken Moore and city aldermen unanimously approved a contract for the project Tuesday night.

It’s a public-private deal that’s only the second such arrangement between a Tennessee city and a private company that will mean leasing public land for solar panel installation.

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Project finds way to make solar cells 50 percent cheaper

A joint project between industry and academics funded by the National Science Council has developed new techniques to improve the manufacturing process of GaAs (gallium arsenide) solar cells, which could cut costs by approximately half.

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Tax Credit For Energy Storage Proposed In Senate

Innovations in electricity storage are needed if the US is to take advantage of clean energy resources, and two Senators have proposed an investment tax credit to accelerate storage solutions.

Senators Jeff Bingaman (Democrat for New Mexico) and Ron Wyden (Democrat for Oregon), the two ranking Democrats on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told an Energy Storage Association forum they are sponsoring a bill, S.1845, with Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, for a storage investment tax credit (ITC). It would be similar to credits now available for solar installations.. . .

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New Solar-Powered Classroom Brings Science to Schools in Developing Countries

The solar-powered classroom. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Southampton)

A major difficulty in teaching science subjects in developing countries, especially in rural schools, is that students are rarely able to get ‘hands-on’ experience of experiments. This could be partly due to a lack of equipment, chemicals and facilities but mainly because of a lack of electricity and running water.

Now, Professor Tony Rest, a visiting Chemistry academic at the University of Southampton, and Keith Wilkinson, formerly a teacher at the International School at Lusaka in Zambia, have devised a solar-powered solution based on a digital projector and low-cost solar energy panels so that students can gain access to IT and other modern teaching methods.

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Infographic: The Top Ten Countries for Solar Energy Now

Latest Infographic shows the top countries for solar installations.  The U.S. is in 5th place.. We need to be winning!

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