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Alternative Energy / Solar Energy

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  • Texas Set To Become Solar Powerhouse

    Texas could finally become a leader in solar, thanks to a new resolution passed by the city council of Austin. The bill will require the municipal utility, Austin Energy, to obtain 60 percent of its electricity generation from renewables over the next decade, and to be completely carbon-free by 2030. It calls on Austin Energy to build 600 megawatts of solar power by 2017, and it mandates the city support the build out of 200 megawatts of distributed solar on rooftops. The council resolution, passed on August 28, could directly lead to the installation of an additional 800 megawatts of…

  • Why China Is Leading The World In Solar Power

    China is the world’s top energy consumer, with the vast majority of its electricity coming from domestically-mined coal. But the Asian nation is cutting its dependence on coal, oil and natural gas and replacing it with solar at a breakneck pace.Between January and the end of June, China added 3.3 gigawatts of solar capacity, double the additions over the same period last year, and equivalent to the entire solar capacity of Australia – one of the sunniest places on earth. That brings China’s total solar power supply up to 23 gigawatts, second only to Germany’s 36 GW, and just 13…

  • Follow the Yellow (Solar Panel) Road

    It's time for American roads to pull their own weight. Sure, we drive on them every day, enabling us to travel to practically every part of the country -- but is that enough? What if roads could also collect massive amounts of energy? That's the idea behind the sun-harvesting technology being proposed by a company called "Solar Roadways." According to the company's YouTube video, it's a technology that replaces all "roadways, parking lots, sidewalks, driveways, tarmacs, bike paths and outdoor recreation surfaces (i.e. basketball courts) with solar panels." The company claims that covering every road in America with these panels…

  • Solar Wars: China Loses a Battle

    The world’s biggest maker of solar panels wants to make sure investors think “soccer,” not “subsidies,” when they see the name “Yingli Solar.” That’s why billions of TV viewers are seeing Yingli’s logo, along with those of other corporate sponsors, on stadium walls during the World Cup in Brazil.But for Yingli and other Chinese solar companies, the real game is being played out in Washington and Brussels, and the result could either lift the industry out of the doldrums or kick off a vicious trade war.For years, China has faced accusations that it massively rigs the solar market by subsidizing…

  • China Might Be Winning The Race To Reduce Solar Costs

    Many people, even fanatical advocates of solar power, are unaware quite how close we are to reaching a critical milestone in the industry. Within a fairly short space of time, solar generated electricity will be fully cost competitive with coal-powered electricity -- at least if the governments of the world’s two largest energy consuming nations have their way. Both the U.S. and China have a stated goal of reducing the cost of solar generated electricity to that level, and quickly. How they are going about it says a lot about how each economic system works.In the U.S., despite the complaints…

  • Investing In Solar Power’s “Picks, Pans And Shovels”

    Last week, for the first time since I started writing here, I wrote a positive piece about solar energy. I picked two companies, First Solar (FSLR) and Canadian Solar (CSIQ) that I believed could benefit from a general upturn in the solar energy sector. Over the last week they have gained 4.55% and 10.89% respectively; so far, so good!It is nice to see that short term pop in both stocks, but the selections were really based more on a long term belief that the industry is about to turn after several years in the doldrums. That downturn was caused in…

  • Rare Value In Alternatives

    Until now, I have said very little about alternative energy stocks. Let me make it clear; it’s not that I don’t believe in the desirability or potential of renewable energy sources. Population growth and increasing demand for energy make it essential that the World’s reliance on fossil fuels comes to an end fairly soon.It’s just that everybody who looks rationally at evidence and science knows and understands that and, because of that, value is hard to find in the sector. The conversion to alternative energy will come one day, but that day is unlikely to be next month. The stocks…

  • U.S. Commerce Secretary Brings Delegation To Africa In Search Of Energy Contract

    On June 30, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a “Power Africa” initiative to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa, intended to assist the population of sub-Saharan Africa, more than two-thirds of who lack electricity. That rate rises to more than 85 percent of people living in rural areas. According to a White House press release, “Power Africa will build on Africa’s enormous power potential, including new discoveries of vast reserves of oil and gas, and the potential to develop clean geothermal, hydro, wind and solar energy.  It will help countries develop newly-discovered resources responsibly, build out power generation…

  • Canadian-Saudi JV to Build $5 Billion Solar Power Installation in Nigeria

    While Nigeria worldwide is known as Black Africa’s largest hydrocarbon exporter, the state is also looking into renewable energy for indigenous use. Nigeria’s Delta State’s solar initiative follows the May 6 Federal Government signing the Foreign Investments Protection Agreement (FIPA) with Canada to improve the climate for Canadian investing in Nigeria. Delta State Government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Canada’s Skypower FAS Energy to build a $5 billion, 3,000 megawatt facility in the state.  SkyPower FAS Energy is a joint venture between Toronto-based SkyPower Global and Saudi Arabia’s FAS Energy. Established in 2003, SkyPower FAS Energy has built facilities…

  • The Age of Solar has Arrived

    Solar companies reported their first quarter earnings this past week and their stocks took a hammering. As the market closed on May 7, First Solar (NYSE: FSLR) saw its share price down 5.75%; SolarCity (NYSE: SCTY) was off by 9%; and SunPower Corp. (NYSE: SPWR) was down nearly 3%. But the sell-off was short-lived. First Solar’s quarterly revenue of $950 million beat analysts’ estimates of $800-$900 million. That translated into an earnings per share of $1.10, far above the $0.50-$0.60 that Wall Street expected. The company offered a very upbeat analysis for the rest of the year. And that reflects…