U.S. Alternative Energy Correspondent
Nichola's Feed
Oct 26, 2012

Harried cleantech sector seeks turning point in SolarCity IPO

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The last thing the downtrodden cleantech industry needs is another startup going up in flames, so it has a lot riding on the initial public offering of SolarCity.

The top U.S. installer of residential solar systems has grown rapidly, largely because it allows customers to lease its costly product by paying a monthly fee, avoiding hefty upfront costs of an outright purchase. SolarCity, which is expected to go public before year end, is also benefiting from the sliding price of solar panels that has walloped their manufacturers.

Oct 17, 2012

California moves to open probe into San Onofre nuclear shutdown

LOS ANGELES, Oct 16 (Reuters) – California regulators on
Tuesday took steps to open a formal probe into the outage at two
nuclear reactors at the San Onofre power plant, potentially
reducing the burden on rate payers by $1.1 billion until
southern California’s largest power plant is reopened.

The California Public Utilities Commission said it would
vote on Oct. 25 to formally open an investigation into the
causes of the shutdown in January of the San Onofre Unit 2 and
Unit 3 reactors and whether they will be restarted to provide
“safe and reasonable service at just and reasonable rates”.

Oct 16, 2012

Analysis: Asian buyers of solar startups will need cash, patience

By Nichola Groom

(Reuters) – Big Asian manufacturers are scooping up next-generation U.S. solar technology on the cheap, but face a long slog to turn these start-ups into serious competitors for the Chinese panel makers that now dominate the market.

Earlier this month, China’s Hanergy Holding Group Ltd became the latest Asian manufacturer to make a bet on a U.S. maker of solar panels that use copper indium gallium selenide technology, or CIGS, when it agreed to buy Silicon Valley startup Miasole.

Oct 9, 2012

US Treasury watchdog probes solar tax grant program

WASHINGTON/LOS ANGELES, Oct 9 (Reuters) – The Treasury
Department’s inspector general is investigating a popular
stimulus program that allowed rooftop solar panel projects to
turn tax credits into cash grants.

The Treasury’s internal watchdog is looking at how the
department managed the program and is searching for “possible
misrepresentations” about the fair market value of solar systems
that received grants, one large installer of solar panels
disclosed in a filing with U.S. regulators.

Oct 9, 2012

US set to give final decision on Chinese solar panel duties

WASHINGTON/LOS ANGELES, Oct 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. Commerce
Department on Wednesday will announce final duties on billions
of dollars of solar panels from China in a high-profile case
that has raised fears of further damage to an already fragile
industry.

The department set combined preliminary duties of roughly 35
percent earlier this year on most Chinese solar panels to offset
what it said were unfair prices and government subsidies.

Oct 5, 2012

Panel installer SolarCity files for $200 mln IPO

LOS ANGELES, Oct 5 (Reuters) – Solar panel installer
SolarCity Corp filed with U.S. regulators to raise up to $201
million in an initial public offering that could help rekindle
investor appetite for cleantech stocks.

Shares of solar panel manufacturers have logged terrible
performances in the last two years as plunging panel prices
erased profits. But those lower prices have spurred demand for
solar systems in the United States, helping companies like San
Mateo, California-based SolarCity.

Oct 5, 2012

Californians hit with unprecedented gasoline price jump

SAN FRANCISCO/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Californians awoke on Friday to yet another unprecedented spike in the price of gasoline that brought the one-week increase in the Golden State to a whopping 36 cents a gallon.

Prices dropped, however, on the wholesale market, possibly signaling the end to a price spike that has blindsided the state’s car-loving consumers.

Oct 4, 2012

California pump prices poised to break record

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Pump prices in California have soared this week and are poised to break a record set in the summer of 2008 due to low inventories and disruptions at key Golden State refineries.

The state average for a gallon of regular gasoline jumped to $4.315 on Thursday, 18.2 cents higher than last week and 49 cents higher than a year ago, according to AAA data.

Oct 1, 2012

China’s Hanergy to buy U.S. solar startup Miasole: source

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Miasole, which raised hundreds of millions of dollars as one of Silicon Valley’s hottest cleantech startups, has agreed to be sold to China’s Hanergy Holding Group for $30 million, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The company will continue to operate as a unit of Hanergy, and no employees will be laid off for a year after the deal closes, the source said, adding that it is expected to happen later this month.

Sep 12, 2012

Libya attack victim was a key player in online game

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Online gamers around the world took to the web on Wednesday to mourn the death of Sean Smith, an avid gamer who was one of four Americans killed in a U.S. consulate attack in Libya.

Known by the online moniker “Vile Rat,” Smith was a major participant in the multi-player role-playing game Eve Online, which has a single online universe where hundreds of thousands of players interact together.