Recent Posts:

Zero Interest Loans for Improving Home Efficiency Touted in D.C.

Michael Kanellos: March 17, 2009, 11:52 AM
Here's something everyone angling for an energy retrofit will endorse: Congressman Chris Van Hollen has introduced the National Home Energy Savings Revolving Fund Act (or NHESRFA, in case you're counting) that, if passed, would allow local governments, through a $10 billion fund sponsored created by the Department of Energy, to issue up to $10,000 interest free to homeowners for energy retrofits. The payment plans could also be structured so that the payments could be repaid through property taxes. Additionally, the payment amounts will come to less than the amount people save on utility bills. In theory. Will it pass? Who knows. It seems a bit dreamy, but it underscores...

Chico Police Find Solar Panels Stolen From School

Ucilia Wang: March 17, 2009, 11:30 AM

Buying theft insurance might be a good idea for solar panel owners.

Police in Chico, Calif., have found some of the 46 solar panels were stolen from Little Chico Creek School last month, reported the Chico Enterprise-Record Tuesday. The system at the school had 730 panels before the theft.

Investigators found 17 solar panels in one of the two storage lockers that they said belong to the thieves. Police, who received a tip about the two lockers after releasing images of the car and trailer they said were used in stealing the solar panels, expect to arrest a suspect in the case this week.

Police already have arrested Christopher Bess, 32, last month for allegedly burglarizing Caring...

Small Wind: Maybe Not Ready for Prime Time Yet

Michael Kanellos: March 17, 2009, 9:15 AM
For quite a while, small wind turbines have been in the "kinda crazy" segment of the greentech industry. Not the "We can replace all of the world's oil imports with deep fat fryer grease and dryer lint" crazy. But more like hydrogen crazy: an interesting idea that has to take a backseat to more immediate and practical ideas like solar panels. How impractical are some of these ideas? There's the flying sausage from Magenn or the kites from Makani Power, a company I'm convinced is actually a day spa. A week ago, an exec from a company that performs energy retrofits derided them as "eye candy." They are visible, tangible proof that companies are doing the right thing, but add...

Giving Credit

ghayes: March 17, 2009, 8:51 AM

The question I am most often asked while giving presentations about falling module prices and disproportionately strong policy support in the United States is some variant of, "Yes, but if the banks are all seized up, how can any solar be deployed at all?" While seemingly urgent and important, the implicit view is heavily skewed by the current hip social meme that has emerged around the economic "collapse" and "depression" economics. It is far too influenced by the evening news and Hollywood stars dressing down at the Oscars to reflect the current scarcity (only diamond earrings, not the necklace too). Puh-leeze!

The fact is that all recessions are bad, and credit-led recessions are...

Desalination to Triple by 2020, Claims Report

Michael Kanellos: March 17, 2009, 8:10 AM
The desalinated water supply is expected to grow by 9.5 percent a year and hit 54 billion cubic meters a year by 2020, or triple the amount out there now, according to a new report from Lux Research. You can buy the report, which covers 13 criteria over two axes (which sounds something like 3-D chess). Or, if you're cheap, just read the following excerpts from these articles I wrote:
  • Desalination is hot, but still expensive. Desalination expert Energy Recovery pulled off one of the few successful green IPOs in 2008. Over 90 desalination projects have been announced in the last three years.
  • The earth pretty much has the same amount of water -- 1.4 billion cubic kilometers...

Surf’s Up: Ocean Power Ascendant

Eric Wesoff: March 17, 2009, 6:21 AM
The ocean power market is still emerging but has made more progress towards commercial deployment in the past few years than in the previous hundred years.  Governments and localities with strong marine resources are waking up to the potential power sources just off their shores. The coming years will see tens if not hundreds of megawatts of utility-scale power generation from the oceans, first in Europe, then in the U.S.  The challenge to ocean energy is not science, but overcoming the regulatory morass and making the technology cost-effective and reliable. Permitting is probably more an obstacle to marine energy markets than financing. In the U.S., scores of regulatory...