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China’s Trony Solar Files for IPO

Ucilia Wang: October 30, 2009, 6:10 PM

Trony Solar is seeking to raise up to $200 million through an initial public offering in the United States.

The company wants to be listed under the symbol "TRO" on the New York Stock Exchange, according to the company's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday.

The company hasn't disclosed how many American depositary shares it plans to offer, or the pricing.

Trony's filing came about a week after another solar company, Specialized Technology Resources (STR) in Connecticut, said it intends to raise up to $212.2 million.

The U.S. market hasn't seen a solar IPO for more than a year.

Trony makes amorphous-silicon solar panels, and had the manufacturing capacity of 115...

Ford’s EV Partners: Smith Is Out, Azure Is In

Jeff St. John: October 30, 2009, 5:55 PM

Ford Motor Co. has changed up its partners on developing its Transit Connect electric van, ending its work with Smith Electric Vehicles to switch to Azure Dynamics Corp., it announced Friday.

But that hasn't changed Ford's timeline for getting the electric van to market by 2010, to be followed by an electric Focus in 2011 and a plug-in hybrid of yet-undetermined model in 2012, the automaker said (see Ford Deploys Electric-Car-to-Grid Communication System).

Smith and Ford say they mutually agreed to end their partnership. Smith said the move would allow it to concentrate on making its electric Newton trucks, according to a statement from its U.K.-based parent company, The Tanfield...

New Solar Hotspot: The Midwest

Michael Kanellos: October 30, 2009, 5:00 PM

Solar companies may start looking inward, and around the Mississippi, for new business.

That's the word from Rosalind Jackson, one of the people at the advocacy and policy group Vote Solar. At Solar Power International this week, Vote Solar spent a lot of time talking to various state officials and the interest in solar in the middle of the country.

Missouri voters passed a referendum for renewable power and the legislature is now assigned the task of coming up with companion legislation and regulations to make it happen. Illinois is expected to build out 750 megawatts of solar capacity. Kansas is studying net metering. Earlier this week, Ohio and Michigan issued reports predicting...

Who Really ‘Invented’ the Hybrid?

Eric Lane: October 30, 2009, 9:00 AM

The Griffith Hack law firm in Australia recently published a report that analyzes hybrid car patent filings and how those filings affect innovation and success in the hybrid car market.

The report, entitled “Who holds the power? Lessons from hybrid car innovation for clean technologies”, was written by Justin Blows and Mike Lloyd, both members of the firm’s Clean & Sustainable Technologies Group.

Dr. Blows and his colleague used patent analytics tools to compile a list of all hybrid car patents filed internationally since 1980, group those patents into families, and rate the quality or “dominance” of those patents.

Their analysis found that Toyota is the world leader in hybrid car...

Power Your House With Stale Beer and Old Wine

Michael Kanellos: October 30, 2009, 6:49 AM

If you've collected 250 gallons of old Two Buck Chuck, E-Fuel can help you keep on the lights.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company last year began to tout its home system for turning organic waste into ethanol. Distilling ethanol at home effectively eliminated the problem of distributing ethanol or finding gas stations that sold E85.

But it didn't solve the other problem with ethanol-based transportation: only a small fraction of cars sold in the U.S. actually can run on ethanol or gasoline. General Motors and Ford are increasing the number, but it will take time. (The home distillation unit also cost $10,000 before tax credits.).

To help get around the so-called lack-of-demand...

DOE Dishes Out $338M for Geothermal: The Winners Are…

Michael Kanellos: October 29, 2009, 6:24 PM

Is everybody but me getting money?

The Department of Energy once again opened the money bag. This time, it awarded $338 million for 123 projects. The funds will be matched by $353 million in private funds.

The DOE divided the awards into six categories. The three categories to get the most money were innovations in exploration and drilling ($98.1 million), ground source heat pumps ($61.9 million) and enhanced geothermal systems demonstration ($51.4 million).

Among individual companies, AltaRock Energy will build a demonstration of its enhanced geothermal recovery technology in Oregon. In September, the company, which has received money from Google and Kleiner, Perkins, stopped...

SPI Blog, Part 3: eIQ and the Distributed PV Electronics Field

Eric Wesoff: October 29, 2009, 1:04 PM

eIQ is one of many startups that have emerged in the last few years with an eye toward innovation in the photovoltaic inverter / balance of system market. The global inverter market is sizable and estimated at $2.4 billion in 2009.

The central inverter incumbents include SMA, SatCon, Fronius, Xantrex, PV Powered, and many more.

Here is a list of most of the startups chasing this market:

Rather than build the next central inverter, most of these firms are trying to distribute the electronics in the solar installation and they all have their own little twist on how they are performing that trick.

eIQ uses a DC-to-DC boost architecture that relies on parallel interconnection, ostensibly...