The biggest story of the week is that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) offered the first renewable energy loan
guarantee–worth $535 million–to California-based roof-top solar company Solyndra, Inc.
loan guarantee will be funded through the stimulus ac passed last month
and will support the construction of a manufacturing plant for
Solyndra’s unique, lightweight cylindrical photovoltaic panels.
Solyndra estimates the construction will employ
approximately 3,000 people and operation of the facility will create
more than 1,000 jobs.
In other big solar news, Siemens (NYSE: SI) announced it will acquire a 28% stake in the Italian
solar thermal company Archimede Solar Energy S.p.A.
(ASE). Archimede Solar is currently the only commercial producer of
solar thermal systems that use
molten salt for heat transfer. Siemens is already a market leader in
the sale of
steam turbine-generators used in solar thermal power plants. Siemens
also reiterated its goal of boosting revenue from its green products
from EUR 19 billion a year to EUR 25 billion a year by 2011.
San Francisco-based Gemini Solar Development Company LLC has been selected to build a 30-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar
power plant for municipal electric utility Austin Energy.
Upon completion it will be one of the largest photovoltaic power plants
in the country, covering 300 acres of city-owned land. At a cost of
$250 million, developers expect they can lock in prices for electricity
of 16.5 cents per kilowatt hour over the next 25 years.
Nissan Motor Co. (7201.T) and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
have entered a partnership with utility San Diego Gas & Electric
(SDG&E)(NYSE: SRE) for the development of a charging
electric vehicles. SDG&E will coordinate local efforts to assemble
a critical mass of regional electric vehicle fleets for daily use by
municipalities, universities, the military, the port
and others. Nissan has similar agreements with other California cities
and plans to roll out electric vehicles for fleet operators in 2010 and
to the general public in 2012.
Scotland-based Pelamis Wave Power issued a statement this week
regarding its Aguçadoura wave-power project in Portugal. The Project, which was the first grid-connected wave power plant, was
taken off line recently due to financial and technical difficulties. The project is 77% owned by a subsidiary of
Australian company Babcock and Brown Limited
(ASX: BNB), which is selling off assets after its shares on the
Australian Stock Exchange were suspended. Pelamis said problems with
leaking ballast tanks are being resolved, and that the next phase of
the project is on hold until a new financing
partner is found.
Novozymes (NVZ.L) broke ground on a new production facility
in Blair, Nebraska that produces enzymes used to make both corn- and
cellulosic-based ethanol. The company decided to double its investment
in the facility to meet expected demand for the enzymes. The projected
cost is between $160-$200 million.
Delaware bankruptcy court approved two separate sales of ethanol plants belong to VeraSun. Fuel blender Valero Energy Corporation will purchase eight facilities for $477 million, marking its entry into the ethanol industry. And Agstar Financial Services received approval for a $324 million credit bid
to purchase six of the seven plants it originally financed. Agstar said
the plants will remain idle until a buyer can be found.