Recent Posts:

Japan Follows U.S. in Greentech Strategies

Michael Kanellos: May 10, 2009, 11:56 PM

In green technology, the U.S. usually follows Japan. But right now, the U.S. seems to have the edge in some ways, and Japan is taking notice.

That's the word from Hayashi Sakawa, one of the founders of Agile Media, a blog network based in Tokyo. Japan has been one of the largest markets in the world for solar panels and energy efficient cars. Still, the whole concept of a green industry was typically viewed as something of a fringe movement until recently. But now that the market for big screen TVs and digital cameras is booming, two product lines that Japan profited enormously from in the middle part of the decade, green is getting another look.

"Almost all of the industrial giants...

DOE Eliminates Vehicle Fuel Cell Research

Jeff St. John: May 8, 2009, 6:00 PM

So much for federal support for the hydrogen highway.

The Department of Energy is cutting its support for vehicle fuel cell research next year, according to its $26.4 billion 2010 budget request released Thursday.

That’s because the technology isn’t likely be practical for decades, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said (via the New York Times).

The move is a reversal of policies under the administration of President George W. Bush, which devoted $1.2 billion on the technology over five years, according to The Detroit News.

Chu said the challenges involved in developing fuel cells for vehicles and in transporting and dispensing hydrogen to fuel them makes the research impractical.

Fuel...

Enphase Gets $22.57M New Funding?

Ucilia Wang: May 8, 2009, 4:01 PM

Enphase Energy reportedly has raised $22.57 million, according to Private Equity Hub, which cited Enphase's filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Petaluma, Calif.-based Enphase develops micro-inverters for converting direct current produced by solar panels into alternating current for feeding the grid. Each micro-inverter is attached to a solar panel, a different approach than the more common use of a centralized inverter for the entire system.

The startup, founded in 2006, said its micro-inverters could do a better job of harvesting power from poor-performing solar panels, such as those covered by debris or in the shade. There are competing technologies that also...

What Fisker Wants: EnerDel’s Li-Ion Batteries

Ucilia Wang: May 8, 2009, 12:25 PM

EnerDel has caught the interest of fancy electric carmaker Fisker Automotive. The two have signed a letter of intent for EnerDel to supply batteries to the startup car company, which plans to launch its first model in June next year.

The letter of intent gives EnerDel a chance to show that its batteries are a good fit for Fisker's cars. If the batteries test well, then EnerDel could get a long-term contract.

The deal is a good scoop for EnerDel compared with the deal it has with Norway-based Think. Think has struggled to roll out and sell its electric cars. Think temporary shut down production last winter and faced bankruptcy. EnerDel's parent company, Ener1, is an investor. Ener1 and...

Sunny News for Duke: $50M Solar Project Moves Forward

Ucilia Wang: May 8, 2009, 12:32 AM

Duke Energy said it won a concession from the North Carolina Utilities Commission Wednesday and would now go forward with the $50 million project to install 10 megawatts worth of solar energy systems on the rooftops and grounds homes, malls, warehouse, schools, etc.

"We finally have a solar program!" said Duke spokesman Dave Scanzoni.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based utility has good reason to be pleased. The project caused Duke a serious headache when the utilities commission approved the project last December but added conditions that would limit the utility's ability to recover the project's costs. The commission said it imposed the conditions because the proposed cost by the utility was...

Solyndra Lines Up Distributor in Europe’s Pot Capital

Ucilia Wang: May 7, 2009, 7:46 PM

Solyndra has inked a $189 million deal to sell its usually shaped solar panels to SunConnex in the Netherlands.  

The Fremont, Calif.-based startup didn't say when it would start delivering the panels, but disclosed that the contract is good through 2013. Amsterdam-based SunConnex is a distributor who also offers solar project engineering services, and lists on its website Schott Solar, Sharp and SunPower as some of its suppliers.

With this deal, Solyndra has announced nearly $1.7 billion worth of contracts. That's good news for a startup company, especially one pursuing a type of technology that is new to the market. But all these agreements also are putting pressure on the company...

Coal: It Was a Very Good Year

Michael Kanellos: May 7, 2009, 7:31 PM

National and state governments around the world are pumping money into clean technology projects, but, guess what. Coal is still doing well.

Peabody, the world's largest coal company, highlighted some of the achievements for 2008. The company pulled a record 256 million tons out of the ground and garnered $6.6 billion in revenue. Net income came to $985 million. It was also a record year low for accidents. Not bad for a company that's 125 years old. It ranks fifth in the Fortune 500 for the most profits over the last five years. (Coal still accounts for 49 percent of the electrical power in the U.S. Unless you or your neighbor want to be plunged into darkness, it will be around for a...