U.S. Alternative Energy Correspondent
Nichola's Feed
Apr 18, 2011

Westinghouse Solar rolls out commercial systems

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Solar panel maker Westinghouse Solar Inc is banking on a new flat roof system to light a fire under its commercial systems business.

The company, which recently changed its name to Westinghouse from Akeena Solar, will announce the release of a new commercial product on Tuesday aimed at large flat roofs such as those of big box retailers.

Apr 18, 2011

Analysis: Oil companies go solar to tap hard-to-get supplies

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Soaring oil prices are turning some energy companies into accidental environmentalists: They are building clean, solar-powered systems to pull crude out of their aging wells.

But this is no public relations move by big polluters seeking to green their images. Having spent heavily on energy-intensive technology to increase output from depleted fields, companies including Chevron Corp and Berry Petroleum Co are using solar power to lower the cost of creating steam that is injected into the wells to improve the flow of heavy oil.

Apr 13, 2011

First Solar operations chief Sohn departs

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – First Solar Inc’s president of operations, Bruce Sohn, will leave the world’s most valuable solar company at the end of April and will not be replaced, the company said on Wednesday.

Sohn, who has steered technology and operations and managed the supply chain for First Solar since becoming president in 2007, will pursue opportunities outside of the company, First Solar said in a statement.

Apr 13, 2011

Solar start-up HelioVolt in acquisition talks

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Solar power start-up HelioVolt Corp, which recently put itself up for sale, is in exclusive talks with one potential acquirer, a board director said on Wednesday.

“There are a bunch of people who are interested,” Scott Sandell, a general partner with venture capital firm and HelioVolt investor New Enterprise Associates, said in an interview. “We’re in a period of exclusivity right now with one interested party.”

Apr 12, 2011

Federal green energy loan program lives on

LOS ANGELES, April 12 (Reuters) – A federal program to
support the development of clean energy technologies escaped
the budget ax this week and the Energy Department wasted no
time announcing major commitments to fund two of the world’s
largest solar projects.

SunPower Corp (SPWRA.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) received a conditional commitment
on Tuesday for a $1.187 billion loan guarantee from the U.S.
Department of Energy to finance a 250-megawatt photovoltaic
power plant in central California that will generate enough
electricity to power 100,000 homes.

Apr 6, 2011

Consumers more stoic about expensive gas: Ford

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif (Reuters) – Rising gasoline prices are less likely to drive U.S. consumers to quickly embrace hybrid vehicles than was the case a few years ago, a Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) executive said on Wednesday.

“In the past, I would tell you that as fuel prices inched up over $3.50 (a gallon) you saw an increase in hybrid sales,” said Nancy Gioia, director of global electrification for Ford. “Now, this time around, as fuel has inched up over $4, we are seeing modest, very modest tracking of sales at this point.”

Apr 6, 2011

Solar startups turn to big companies for capital

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Fledgling solar power companies looking to grow beyond their venture capital roots are increasingly catching the eye of deep-pocketed corporate investors.

For many start-ups, rounds of venture or private equity funding are thought of as stepping stones on the way to an initial public offering — the ultimate corporate symbol of having arrived.

Mar 18, 2011

California seeing no radiation level increase

VIENNA/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California air quality officials said on Friday they saw no elevated radiation levels on the U.S. West Coast from Japan’s nuclear power plant disaster.

“At this point we’re unable to verify if there are any elevated levels,” said Ralph Borrmann, a spokesman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in San Francisco. “We’re not seeing it on our live data in California.”

Mar 17, 2011

LDK Solar shares drop on steady 2011 outlook

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – China’s LDK Solar Co Ltd repeated its 2011 revenue outlook, disappointing some investors who had been hoping for more following a stellar earnings report, and sending the company’s shares down 4 percent after hours.

The company also said some customers in Italy were holding back on orders until that nation’s new solar subsidy structure is clarified in the coming weeks.

Mar 17, 2011

LDK Solar 4th-qtr earnings, revenue top estimates

LOS ANGELES, March 17 (Reuters) – China’s LDK Solar (LDK.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)
reported quarterly earnings and revenue on Thursday that far
exceeded analysts’ expectations due to demand for solar power
products.

The company has benefited from making the industry’s key
raw material, polysilicon, as well as selling its own modules.
Its products such as wafers and cells are used to build
photovoltaic solar panels that turn sunlight into electricity.