Wells Fargo to Invest in Solar Power

Wall Street banks’ attraction towards solar energy seems to continue. On Wednesday, Wells Fargo & Company (WFC – Analyst Report) announced a further investment of more than $100 million of tax equity financing over the next 18 months to SunEdison, Inc. (SUNE – Analyst Report) – a leading solar energy provider.

Wells Fargo plans to invest in distributed generation solar power projects developed by SunEdison. Since 2007, the banking major has financed almost 200 utility-scale solar projects throughout 13 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, for an amount worth $950 million. This has allowed SunEdison to provide clean and cost-effective energy to its customers.

SunEdison designs its projects according to the terms of a power purchase agreement (PPA). Its customers buy the energy produced for a fixed rate as specified in the PPA. Hence, third-party investors are beneficial to SunEdison as they facilitate the company to install solar power equipment without requiring customers to pay upfront costs. Since 2008, SunEdison has garnered approximately $5 billion in project financing for solar power plants.

Written by Zacks Equity Research. To read the full article, click here

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Bill Clinton on Solar Power, Congress on Funding Small Business, Lolly Wolly Doodle

Former President Bill Clinton says using solar energy to power U.S. homes will take collaboration between contracting companies, government agencies, and public utilities. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

Lolly Wolly Doodle, which sells children’s clothing online, raised $20 million in venture capital from Steve Case’s Revolution Growth and others, writes Yuliya Chernova. [Wall Street Journal]

The House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing on helping small businesses raise capital, according to Mohana Ravindranath. [Washington Post]

Written by Patrick Clark. To read the full article, click here

Reliability Testing Front and Center in Solar Module Electronics

“We expect reliability and availability to come to the forefront of inverter selection,” GTM Research senior solar analyst MJ Shiao explained in the report The Global PV Inverter Landscape 2013: Technologies, Markets and Survivors.“Bankability, reliability, and serviceability are transforming from buzzwords to key values.”

One of the key areas of innovation is in microinverters and micro-power converters such as DC optimizers. But, according to TUV Rheinland President Mani G. Tamizh-Mani, there are currently no quality and reliability standards for these devices.

“At the end of the day, reliability is better than a warranty,” Shiao noted in the GTM Research report, “but even third-party studies of reliability and complete field data sets are difficult to access and compare.”

Written by HERMAN K. TRABISH. To read the full article, click here

Global Warming, Solar Energy & $300,000 Tortoises: The Morality Of Energy Production

On Tuesday, June 25, in a speech before enthusiastic students at Georgetown University, President Obama delivered a message outlining his vision for what the United States ought to do, and what he personally is going to do, about the moral issue of energy production. Now at first glance, you would think that energy production is a technical issue that should be left to engineers and economists. But it was clear from the President’s speech that he thinks it is also a moral issue, as moral as which side you should fight on in a war. His speech, in fact, was peppered with militant terminology. He spoke of having the “courage to act,” he talked of the “fight against climate change,” and expressed his desire for America to “win the race for clean energy.” Toward the end, he called for citizens “who will stand up, and speak up, and compel us to do what this moment demands.” To that end, he announced that he was going to ask the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue regulations that, according to Obama critic Charles Krauthammer, will “make it impossible to open any new coal plant and will systematically shut down existing plants.”

Written by Karl Stephan. To read the full article, click here

Renewable Energy: Top 5 Trends to Watch in 2013

The move toward newer forms of renewable energy, particularly solar and wind, has been one of fits and starts. First it was only the early adopters who installed small renewable energy systems for the sole purpose of sustainability even when cost and reliability did not justify the switch. But as costs have come down, others have followed to reduce energy costs. However, these systems mostly are still tied into the local grid and do not provide backup when the grid is down. Now even that is changing as the renewable energy industry develop new ideas and new technology.

David Droz, a mechanical engineer who heads the telecom sector at Urban Green Energy, New York, NY, a provider of distributed renewable energy solutions, says that the telecom industry is one that has been at the forefront, installing solar for almost 10 years at off-grid sites. This was even before “it became of faddish or trendy for residential use and even before it was financially stable [for other industries]. The market has continued to mature, and today companies are offering much more integrated installations.”

Written by Nancy S. Giges. To read the full article, click here

Injection Wells Spawn Powerful Earthquakes

The middle of Oklahoma has become an earthquake hotspot because of the oil and gas industry—and also from powerful temblors around the world. In the area near Prague, Okla., where wastewater from oil and gas production has been injected down disposal wells for decades, a series of earthquakes broke out following the massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake off the coast of the Maule region of Chile in 2010. For months the grounds in Oklahoma periodically shook, culminating in a destructive 5.7 magnitude quake in November 2011.

According to a new paper published in Science on July 12, that makes the Prague earthquake not only the largest earthquake associated with wastewater injection but also the largest linked to another seemingly natural quake as an initiating trigger, despite the distances involved. And that suggests that such relatively small, remotely triggered earthquakes might serve as a warning sign of bigger shocks to come, according to geologist Nicholas van der Elst of the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, who led the research.

Written by David Biello. To read the full article, click here

Bioenergy With Carbon Capture: Scientists Set out Path for Global Warming Reversal

Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) can reverse the global warming trend and push temperatures back below the global target of 2°C above pre-industrial levels, even if current policies fail and we initially overshoot this target.

This is according to a new study, published today, 11 July, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, which shows that ambitious temperature targets can be exceeded then reclaimed by implementing BECCS around mid-century.
The researchers, from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, show that if BECCS is implemented on a large-scale along with other renewable energy sources, temperature increases can be as low as 1.5°C by 2150.
Co-author of the study, Professor Christian Azar, said: “What we demonstrate in our paper is that even if we fail to keep temperature increases below 2°C, then we can reverse the warming trend and push temperatures back below the 2°C target by 2150.

Written by Science Daily. To read the full article, click here