U.S. Alternative Energy Correspondent
Nichola's Feed
Jan 18, 2012

Analysis – New technology focuses the sun to cut solar’s cost

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A fledgling but fast-growing solar technology that multiplies the sun’s power up to many hundreds of times promises to deliver cheaper electricity than traditional panels and has received the backing of some major industry players.

Called concentrating photovoltaic solar, or CPV, the technology is best suited for very sunny, desert-like locations and could face some near-term challenges. Those include a sharp drop in the price of its top competition — mainstream solar panels — and a financing environment that can be skittish about new technology bets.

Jan 17, 2012

Cree results, forecast disappoint; stock slides

By Nichola Groom

(Reuters) – - Cree Inc, a maker of LED lighting, reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and also gave a forecast for the current period that fell short of analysts’ estimates, sending its shares down more than 5 percent.

Fierce competition in the LED industry, mainly from an influx of Chinese companies, has cut prices, squeezed profit margins and inflated supplies. At the same time, demand for LED lighting has yet to take off in the mass market.

Jan 9, 2012

Wind energy dispute may test U.S.-China IP resolve

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A little-known dispute between a U.S. renewable energy company and its Chinese customer over the theft of trade secrets could prove to be a significant test of China’s intellectual property laws, and the success of Western companies in pursuing claims in China.

American Superconductor Corp, which makes wind turbine components and transmission grid systems, is seeking to recover $1.2 billion from Chinese wind turbine maker Sinovel Wind Group Co Ltd in four separate legal actions in China. The U.S. company has accused its former biggest customer of stealing the software AMSC makes to power wind turbines and illegally canceling contracts.

Dec 23, 2011

Insight: More solar firms set to burn up as prices sink

By Matt Daily and Nichola Groom

(Reuters) – Only four years ago, hundreds of start-ups optimistically built factories and churned out solar panels to meet rising demand. Now, closures and failure loom for many.

The brutal shakeout is a dramatic reversal for an industry that has seen overall global growth of more than 30 percent annually over the past decade and this year will reach new records for solar panel sales.

Dec 23, 2011

More solar firms set to burn up as prices sink

Dec 23 (Reuters) – Only four years ago, hundreds of
start-ups optimistically built factories and churned out solar
panels to meet rising demand. Now, closures and failure loom for
many.

The brutal shakeout is a dramatic reversal for an industry
that has seen overall global growth of more than 30 percent
annually over the past decade and this year will reach new
records for solar panel sales.

Dec 22, 2011

Germany’s Solar Millennium files for insolvency

FRANKFURT/LOS ANGELES, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Solar Millennium
AG (S2MG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) became the second German solar company to file for
insolvency this month, as the company ran out of cash before it
was able to finalize deals to sell large projects in the United
States and Spain.

It still expects, however, to complete a transaction to sell
its biggest U.S. projects to German developer solarhybrid AG
(SHLG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) early next year.

Dec 8, 2011

California proposes rules to spur clean car growth

By Nichola Groom

(Reuters) – California’s powerful air quality regulator on Wednesday proposed sweeping new rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, including putting 1.4 million electric, plug-in and hydrogen cars on the state’s roads by 2025.

In addition to curbing climate warming gases, the program will also save drivers $22 billion in fuel costs, the state’s Air Resources Board said.

Dec 6, 2011

Solar startup Miasole is seeking a partner: CEO

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Thin film solar company Miasole is seeking a partner to help support its growth plan, but plans to remain a standalone company for now, its new chief executive said on Monday.

With less than a week on the job, former First Solar Inc (FSLR.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) executive John Carrington said Miasole is among the solar companies being looked at by large strategic investors.

Dec 6, 2011

Solar companies to seek deep pockets in downturn

By Matt Daily and Nichola Groom

(Reuters) – Struggling solar manufacturers will likely be driven into mergers with rivals to survive a sector squeeze, a trend that could draw major Asian conglomerates deeper into the renewable energy sector.

Solar makers have seen their profit margins nearly erased this year as prices for renewable energy systems plummeted by about 40 percent and industry experts say many companies are too small to withstand the downturn on their own.

Dec 5, 2011

Analysis – Solar companies to seek deep pockets in downturn

By Matt Daily and Nichola Groom

(Reuters) – Struggling solar manufacturers will likely be driven into mergers with rivals to survive a sector squeeze, a trend that could draw major Asian conglomerates deeper into the renewable energy sector.

Solar makers have seen their profit margins nearly erased this year as prices for renewable energy systems plummeted by about 40 percent and industry experts say many companies are too small to withstand the downturn on their own.