U.S. Alternative Energy Correspondent
Nichola's Feed
Nov 28, 2012

Fisker pushes back China launch to 1st-quarter 2013

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Fisker Automotive will start selling its $100,000-plus Karma plug-in hybrid in China during the first quarter of next year to take advantage of the country’s rapidly growing market for luxury cars, company executives said on Wednesday.

Fisker said earlier it would launch in China by the end of this year. But the company encountered a slight delay in obtaining final certification to sell cars in China and decided to focus on the Middle East first, spokesman Roger Ormisher said.

Nov 28, 2012

Ford to upgrade, extend warranty on touch-screen system

LOS ANGELES, Nov 28 (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co, the
second-largest U.S. automaker, will upgrade its touch-screen
entertainment and navigation system beginning next month as well
as extend the warranty on the software by two years, a top
executive said on Wednesday.

The MyFord Touch system has been criticized by analysts and
users as too complicated, and analysts say these features are
highly valued by prospective buyers. Ford has improved the voice
recognition and navigation in what it calls “version 3.5″ of the
software, said Mark Fields, Ford’s head of the Americas.

Nov 27, 2012

SolarCity sees IPO at $13-$15 a share

Nov 27 (Reuters) – SolarCity Corp, a U.S. installer of
residential and commercial solar systems, said it expects its
initial public offering of 10.07 million shares to be priced at
between $13 and $15 apiece.

At the top end of the expected price range, the offering
would raise about $151 million and give the company a valuation
of more than $1 billion.

Nov 20, 2012

Chevron accuses NY State comptroller of ethics breach

LOS ANGELES, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Chevron Corp sought
to open an investigation on Tuesday into New York State
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, claiming he pressured the oil
company to settle environmental litigation in Ecuador in
exchange for campaign contributions from supporters of the
lawsuit’s plaintiffs.

Chevron said it filed a complaint before the New York State
Joint Commission on Public Ethics, seeking a probe of DiNapoli
and current and past members of his staff.

Nov 7, 2012

Harsher energy regulations seen in Obama’s second term

LOS ANGELES/SAN FRANCISCO Nov 7 (Reuters) – Energy producers
braced for tighter regulation in President Barack Obama’s second
term, with coal companies expecting more emissions restrictions
and drillers anticipating less access to federal land even as
his platform promotes energy independence.

Opponents already believe that Obama has waged a “war on
coal” through the administration’s push for stricter regulation
of greenhouse gas emissions by the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA).

Nov 1, 2012

First Solar, SunPower results top estimates

LOS ANGELES, Nov 1 (Reuters) – U.S. solar companies First
Solar Inc and SunPower Corp reported
stronger-than-expected quarterly results as cost cuts and new
projects helped offset the impact of weak prices due to a global
glut of solar panels.

First Solar, the biggest U.S. solar panel maker, cut its
full-year revenue outlook, however, citing disruptions in its
supply chain from Hurricane Sandy, and also slashed its
operating cash flow view due to potential weather-related
project delays and restructuring costs.

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.