View Full Version : Solar power is hot!

10 March 2011, 1456
That is what an article in the business section of my newspaper proclaims. The article says that the US market for solar panel installations jumped 67% last year, with California leading the nation in photovoltaic solar installations. Some of the most active states include: CA @ 259 MW; NJ @137 MW; NV @ 61 MW; AZ @ 54 MW; CO @ 53 MW, PEN @ 47 MW; NM @ 43 MW; FL @ 35 MW; NC @ 31MW; TX @ 23 MW; everywhere else amounted to 135 MW, for a total solar panel power installation in the US of 878 MW.

These installations included rooftop, hot water heating and utility-scale projects. Their value went from $3.6 billion during 2009 to $6 billion in 2010. Total MW for the nation increased by 102%, up from 435 MW in 2009 to 878 MW in 2010.

The article mentions the venture-backed company of SolFocus, which was founded in 2006. They have experienced so much growth that they are moving their headquarters from Mountain View, CA to a much larger, 44,000 sf facility in San Jose, CA. The company uses CPV, or concentrated photovoltaics, to concentrate the sun's energy onto photovoltaic cells. It recently completed a 1-mW installation at Victory Valley College in San Bernardino County.

Also mentioned is San Jose-based SunPower, which reported $2.2 billion in revenue in 2010 and recently announced three power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison to deliver 711 MW of solar power by 2016.

19 April 2011, 1550
Another solar power project has been announced. The DOD has awarded Oakland, CA, based Solar Trust of America (catchy title) its biggest ever solar loan guarantee, $2.1 billion (!) for construction of the Blythe Soar Power Project. Blythe is expected to generate 1,000 MW. Solar Trust of America is a joint venture between the German firms Soar Millennium and Ferrostaal (what they can't find any US companies to give billion dollar guarantees to?). Last September, the California Energy Commission unanimously approved the project and the BLM, which owns the land that it will be built on, has also cleared the project for construction. In approving the deal, regulators required Solar Trust of America to purchase an additional 7,000 acres of private land to be set aside and protected as habitat for the desert tortoise, western burrowing owl, bighorn sheep and the Mojave fringe-toed lizard.