The solar industry steamed along last week. Some solar companies made big moves in the stock market while other companies expanded operations internationally. In other news, some companies are making it easier for people to go solar.
For starters, stock at two major solar companies, LDK Solar (Nasdaq:LDK) and SunPower (Nasdaq:SNPWRA) shot up last week, raising solar stocks across the board. LDK’s stock jumped 18 percent to $12.33 per share. SunPower’s stock rose 8 percent to $14.62.
Renowned author Noam Chomsky spoke with Clean Energy Authority last week regarding the hostility that green industries—including solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy generation—continue to face from entrenched industries that embrace and even fight for the status quo. These include the banking and financial industries, which remain wary of investing in renewables for fear of weak financial gains.
With new governors coming into office, the thinking behind state incentives may change. Thankfully, at least two took strong stances on solar power. California’s Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and Arizona’s Gov. Jan Brewer (R) mentioned solar power in their inaugural addresses. With California having the largest solar market in the country, and Arizona having some of the best solar resources in the country, this should bode well for the solar industry overall.
Indeed, the announcements of record-breaking solar projects in California, continued last week as Southern California Edison and SunPower announced a deal, under which the utility will buy 800 megawatts of solar from SunPower.
Folks over at the University of Texas at Austin developed a novel approach to show people what an area’s solar potential is. Researchers took data from multiple sources and combined it in a way that makes easier to understand the solar potential of their location—and they did it across the whole state.
In Massachusetts, a new effort from Sol Systems is allowing residents in the state to receive an up-front, lump-sum payment for the solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) that their system will generate over fixed period. The program, called Sol Upfront, allows Massachusetts residents installing solar to receive an up-front payment for 10 years worth of SRECs.
Clean Energy Collective spoke out about its plans for developing more community-owned solar gardens, which provides an alternative way for community members to purchase photovoltaics without actually putting a system on their home. Under the business model, the company installs a system, and community members can opt to buy part of the system. The amount of power their part of the system generates offsets their electric bill.
A meeting of the minds took place in Colorado last week, as energy experts from Ontario, Canada, spoke with energy leaders in Colorado about how best to improve solar power and other renewables in Colorado. The province is now home to one of the world’s largest photovoltaic plants and plans to eliminate all of its coal-fired generation plants by 2030.
Some solar companies announced plans to open new facilities.
Evergreen Solar announced that it would close its manufacturing facility in Massachusetts, and that it would move all production to China, where it expects to produce its photovoltaics at a much cheaper price.
Petra Solar said it would open a new research and development facility in Jordan to capitalize on opportunities in the Middle East. And SoloPower announced that it would soon start development on a 300-Megawatt production facility in Oregon. That company said Oregon was able to offer the company a combination of incentives that made it an attractive option to locate its facilities there, rather than overseas in China.
Image courtesy of NREL.