The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) voted last week to terminate Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL) Sunshine Energy Program and place any future customer contributions to the program into an escrow account. PSC Commissioners further directed its staff to continue to pursue an audit of how the funds were utilized by Green Mountain Energy Company, a third party renewable contractor. The results of this audit will be considered in a future PSC meeting.
Following a two year period of research and planning, NexPower Technology Corporation, a subsidiary of United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), has decided to establish a new solar cell manufacturing plant in Taiwan through a contract with ULVAC.
Our utility is not in the sunny Southwest. Does it still make sense to create solar programs for our customers? — Larry T., Walla Walla, WA
Oregon Public Utility Commission Gives a Green Light to Third-Party Ownership of On-Site Solar and Wind Facilities
On July 31, 2008, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (“the OPUC”) issued an Order that paves the way for developers to build and operate solar and wind facilities on property that belongs to utility customers. The Order comes less than two months after Honeywell International, Inc., Honeywell Global Finance, LLC, and PacifiCorp filed a joint petition with the OPUC seeking a declaratory ruling to resolve questions about how Oregon law and OPUC regulations would apply to solar facilities that are installed on a utility customer’s property but are owned by a third-party developer. See In re Honeywell et al., Docket No. DR 40, Order No. 08-388 (OPUC July 31, 2008). Chief Administrative Law Judge Michael Grant reduced the questions down to two key issues: (1) whether a customer is eligible for net metering under such an arrangement, and (2) whether the developer is subject to regulation by the OPUC.
The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the two non-profits that have presented the Solar Power Conference and Expo since 2004, have announced that effective immediately, the event will be renamed Solar Power International.
Unirac Inc., North America’s leading manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) mounting solutions, today announced the launch of Unirac Mobile (www.unirac.com/mobile); an industry-leading, innovative approach to providing service and support to installers and system integrators in the PV industry.Starting today, Unirac customers will be able to instantly access technical support and installation information from the Unirac Mobile micro-site, using their mobile devices such as cellular phones, blackberries and PDAs.
One in seven beers brewed by Anheuser-Busch in the United States are expected to be brewed using renewable energy by the end of 2009. The company’s breweries in Houston, Texas and Fairfield, California are currently installing renewable energy energy technology that will be operational by year end, and as a result the company’s U.S. breweries will run on more than 15 percent renewables.
DuPont Photovoltaic Fluoromaterials (PVFM) announced that it has signed a Technology Licensing Agreement with Toppan Inc. Printing Co. LTD, located in Tokyo, Japan, to commercialize its new backsheet for solar photovoltaic (PV) modules.
The pace at which universities and academic institutions are developing new technologies aimed at solving the world’s energy and climate change challenges is truly amazing. Many of the cleantech ventures that are being developed at universities around the world right now have incredible potential, yet barriers to commercialization prevent most from being realized. While some top U.S. universities have tech transfer specialists on staff and departments dedicated to the commercialization of research, many others, especially in the BRIC nations (Brazil, India and China), don’t have readily available access to investors and industry.
In April of this year, RenewableEnergyWorld.com reported that the Chesonis Family Foundation gave the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) a grant of US $10 million to launch the Solar Revolution project. Now, MIT researchers believe they have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn’t shine.