SolarSummary: January 14 – 20, 2003

by Kirsten Elder

Companies in the news

Bonneville Environmental Foundation
Evergreen Solar

Green Mountain Energy Co.

Occidental Power

Sanyo Electric


In the UK, Sheffield College has proposed a 20 million campus in the heart of a Sheffield suburb that they hope will become a green beacon for the city. The college says that the new facility will use solar power and glass front panels that will save money on energy bills and reduce emissions. (Sheffield Today via, 20/01/03)

A project to install PV systems on eight schools has recently been completed in the city of Frth in Bavaria. The total rated output of the PV systems is 250 kilowatts. The total project was put together by private investors putting up a total of 1.2 million. The solar energy will be fed in to the electricity grid and secure a tariff of 48.1 cents per kWh provided under the German Feed In tariff law. (, 15/01/03)

Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) has announced the dedication of a 2.4 kilowatt PV solar electric system at West Salem High School in Oregon. The system will supply a portion of the school’s electricity while allowing students to gain first-hand experience learning about renewable energy. Built at no cost to the school or local taxpayers, the PV system and curriculum are part of a BEF schools program to promote ­ reading, writing, arithmetic and renewable energy. The program pairs Northwest schools with local utility and business partners who support the further development of local renewable energy resources. (, 18/01/03)

Four BJ’s Wholesale Clubs based in Long Island have taken advantage of the incentives offered by the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) solar rebate program and installed solar PV rooftop systems on each store. Each 10kW system, designed and installed by Conservation Services Group, features 96 Evergreen Solar PV panels and covers a roof area of about 1000 square feet. The systems will help generate electricity for the stores and reduce peak demand on the LIPA, the local electric utility. (Evergreen Solar, 16/01/03)

Rainbow Grocery, a worker-owned organic grocery and Occidental Power, an installer of solar electric and solar thermal products in San Francisco, have teamed up to create one of the largest commercially owned solar electric systems in San Francisco. Located on the store’s roof, the 10 kW photovoltaic (PV) system will offset Rainbow Grocery’s power consumed from the grid while a solar thermal system will provide hot water for use in the store. (, 20/01/03)


The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) has released a statement detailing its support for certification by PV installers to remain voluntary, pointing out that freedom of choice for installers and consumers is very important for the growth of the solar market right now. The announcement comes off the back of an earlier statement by the California Energy Commission (CEC) implying that the CEC might require NABCEP certification for PV installers practicing in California. NABCEP believes that its PV Installer Certification Program can play an important role in ensuring high-quality PV installations in California and other states while maintaining voluntary status. (NABCEP via, 14/01/03)

In the Philippines, a $66 million solar power electrification project is due to get underway in selected agrarian reform communities (ARCs) as part of the implementation of a Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The project, dubbed SPOTS (Solar Power Technology Support), will initiate the installation of solar PV panels to light up schools and community facilities, and will operate incubators and hatcheries for agribusiness activities, and water pumps for irrigation. The project, which comes under the auspices of the Spanish government, will be carried out in two phases. The first phase will be implemented in 40 ARCs in Mindanao and the mountainous Caraga region, while the second phase will be carried out across the nation. (INQ7 via, 20/01/03)

The Madhya Pradesh Energy Development Corporation in India has launched an ambitious programme to ensure power supply using solar energy in more than 1,200 remote villages which have no power connections. Chairman of the Energy Development Corporation Tulsi Silawat said that in the first phase they have identified 100 villages where solar energy would be provided and the officers of the Corporation have been asked to prepare the proposals for ensuring solar energy in at least 40 villages by January 31st. After the first phase, efforts would be made to take up other villages and if the experiment succeeds, more and more villages would be covered under the scheme. Similarly, Silawat said that in view of power shortage, they were also considering the proposal to provide solar energy in the slums. This would help not only in solving the power crisis to some extent, but also in checking power thefts. However, such facilities would only be given to slums which have been legalised by the government. (Central Chronicle via, 18/01/03)

Policy & Incentives

A 10m campaign to encourage households and communities across the UK to take the initiative in developing and installing their own renewable energy schemes has been announced by Energy Minister Brian Wilson. The ‘Clear Skies’ initiative is a vital component of the Government’s renewables strategy and is hoped will influence individuals and local communities to play a part in the renewables revolution. The Scottish Executive is putting up 3.7million to fund its own parallel scheme, with shared website and criteria. (DTI press release via Greenpeace UK, 13/01/03)

A city ordinance regulating how roof-mounted solar systems are installed in homes in the city of Indian Wells soon could be rewritten to parallel the more lenient rules set by the California Solar Rights Act. Council members say the existing ordinance – requiring all roof-mounted equipment to be screened so it cannot be seen from any angle – is too restrictive. They agreed last Thursday to ask the planning commission to rewrite the ordinance and vote on it at a public hearing on Jan 30th. (The Desert Sun via, 17/01/03)

The Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) has said it will file an application to appeal against the state’s new alternative energy plan. The plan, unanimously passed by the state Public Regulation Commission in December, requires utilities like PNM to make 10 percent of their electricity supplies come from wind, solar or geothermal sources by 2011. However, PNM believes that the cost of compliance will run into hundreds of millions of dollars and that the commission hasnt fully explored what the cost will be to customers and PNM. After PNM files, the PRC will have up to two weeks to decide whether to re-hear the renewable energy policy. (Albuquerque Tribune via, 17/01/03)

Industry Reports & Events

Solar PV will be the fastest-growing renewable energy in the US, according to the latest Annual Energy Outlook produced by the US DOEs Energy Information Administration. The report predicts that the electric power sector in the United States will increase its generation from the use of solar PV by 26.7 percent a year over the next 25 years. PV output will rise to 0.88 billion kWh by 2025, from 0.04 b-kWh last year to achieve that growth. Utilities and private power producers will increase generating capacity of PV from 0.02 GW in 2002 to 0.36 GW in 2025, representing an annual increase of 13.9 percent. In other end-use applications (including distributed and on-site generation), output of solar PV will grow by 22.1 percent a year, rising from 0.09 b-kWh last year to 1.98 b-kWh within the quarter century. Its installed capacity will increase from 0.04 GW to 0.93 GW. (Refocus Weekly, 15/01/03)

Renewable energies could replace only half the consumption of fossil fuels in the United States whilst occupying one-sixth of land area, according to an analysis by Cornell University. “If all the best renewable energy technologies were implemented to the fullest, those hydroelectric dams, windfarms and other installations would take up 17 percent of the land and still replace less than 50 percent of our fossil-fuel consumption,” explains Professor David Pimentel. “The biggest problem is our extraordinary rate of energy consumption to maintain our standard of living. We wish this had turned out differently – we really do – but it’s hard to argue with the facts,”. The findings are reported in the December issue of BioScience journal in ‘Renewable Energy: Current & Potential Issues.’ (Refocus Weekly, 15/01/03)

Corporate News

Sanyo Electric has started to sell its solar photovoltaic modules in the European market, following acquisition of the ISO certification required by the European Union. Sanyo Energy (Europe) and Sanyo Energy (UK) will serve as the sales bases for the solar modules in Europe, and will expand on their reputation for battery sales. Sales of HIT modules will represent 15 to 20% of total Sanyo sales in the European and North American markets in the current fiscal year, predicts the company, rising to 30% next year. European sales will focus on Germany and England, and will spread to other markets based on demand for solar energy. Sanyo says it wants to capture 10% of the market in Germany and England in the 2003 fiscal year, and 20% by FY 2004. (Refocus Weekly, 15/01/03)

Green Mountain Energy Company, a US retail provider of cleaner electricity, says it will discontinue serving all of its 1,312 customers in Connecticut as of March 31, 2003. The company cited regulations that make it cost prohibitive to bring pollution-free energy into Connecticut, as well as the overall lack of a competitive electric market in the state, for its decision to cease operations. The company says it will focus its efforts in the eastern US on expanding its customer base in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania (, 20/01/03)


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Contact: Kirsten Elder
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