A roundup of solar news from around the world:
Solar Market Remains Dismal in 2010
In a business update Friday, Renewable Energy Corp. (REC) in Norway said solar market conditions are likely to remain weak next year. REC, which makes everything from silicon to solar panels, said it would have to continue to comply with its customers' demand for renegotiating contracts for silicon wafers as a result of the lackluster market. REC also announced an offer of a €300 million convertible bond Friday.
"It is likely that the present weak market will continue in 2010, and it is therefore in REC's best interest to make additional contractual adjustments related to 2010," the company said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the company also noted that the average selling price for its solar panels would likely be 35 percent lower than that of 2008.
First Solar Sells 20MW Project in Canada
First Solar (NSDQ: FSLR) has found a buyer in Enbridge for a 20-megawatt solar power plant it's building near Sarna in Ontario.
The project came with First Solar's purchase of unfinished projects by OptiSolar earlier this year. Tempe, Ariz.-basd First Solar declined to disclose the sales price for the deal with Enbridge.
The power plant is changing ownership, but the electricity will still go to the Ontario Power Authority. Enbridge will hire First Solar to operate and maintain the power plant, First Solar said.
Enbridge (NYSE: ENB) runs crude oil and natural gas delivery business in the North America. But it's increasingly investing in renewable energy such as wind and solar, the company said.
First Solar, which makes cadmium-telluride thin films and is using its own products to build power plants, expects to finish building the Sarna project by the end of this year.
By the way, First Solar's shares rose about 4 percent to $150 per share in recent trading after the news broke that the company would join the S&P 500 index, a widely followed indicator of the American stock market and economy.
PG&E Buys More Solar Power, But From Whom?
The Pacific Gas and Electric said it has signed deals to buy power from developers who plan to build 830 megawatts of solar power projects.
But the Northern California utility won't divulge who the developers are until PG&E submits the paperwork for the contracts to the California Public Utilities Commission, said Jonathan Marshall, a PG&E spokesman.
PG&E already has signed gigawatts of solar contracts overall with companies such as SunPower, BrightSource Energy and Sempra Generation. The utility even is willing to take a chance on solar power produced in space. Well, it's not much of a gamble, really, since PG&E won't be putting up its own money to develop and install the 200-megawatt project proposed by Solaren in Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Evergreen Solar and Those Annoying Crickets
Who knew that crickets could cost a solar company so much trouble and money?
Evergreen Solar's CEO, Richard Feldt, appeared in front of the Devens Enterprise Commission in Massachusetts this week to argue that the company would be in compliance with the area's noise regulation if it weren't for the crickets that reside around the company's solar panel factory, reported a local weekly.
Neighbors of the factory, which began operating last year, have complained about the noise from the operation. The company needs to demonstrate compliance before it could receive a final occupancy permit.
Feldt presented a study showing that crickets have been the culprits, not the factory activities. He asked the commission for a possible extension of a deadline on Halloween to prove the company's point. Apparently, he wants to wait until the cold weather hits. "In other words, the crickets must die," wrote the reporter of the story (this is not a comment from Feldt).
Evergreen is spending thousands of dollars to outfit its factory with noise-silencing equipment and a monitoring system.
Tokyo Could've Built a Solar Stadium for the Olympics
Too bad Tokyo won't be hosting the 2016 summer Olympics. The city had promised that the main stadium for the game would be powered by solar only if it had gotten the gig. The city also promised to renovate existing buildings and make use of energy-efficient materials rather than building new structures for the game.
Tokyo's solar-powered stadium wouldn't have been the first. Taiwan built one to host the World Games in summer this year. The 8,844 solar panels covered the rooftop of the stadium like the scales of a dragon (more like a lizard).
By the way, the International Olympic Committee quickly eliminated Chicago as a potential host city during its deliberation in Copenhagen Friday. President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama actually flew to Copenhagen to present Chicago's plan to the committee. At the end, Rio de Janiero won the bid.
Photo via Flickr.