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May 25, 2010 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
The sprawling solar installations gobbling up California's deserts have a new competitor, one that claims to generate more energy at lower costs while using less open space. Known as concentrator photovoltaics, or CPV, the technology is featured in an installation that will be revealed Tuesday at Victor Valley College. The school's new 1-megawatt plant, on a six-acre dirt plot in Victorville, will provide around 30% of the campus' power. The $4.5-million facility will be the largest of its kind in North America.
April 8, 2010 | By Todd Woody
Barry Broome slipped into San Francisco on a mission: Lure California-based solar companies to Arizona. "I think there's a lot of compelling technology in Silicon Valley that's going to be able to be put to work in Arizona," the chief executive of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council said recently in a downtown office tower lobby across from the U.S. headquarters of Yingli Solar, a Chinese solar module maker. For decades, border states have raided California, enticing companies to pull up stakes by offering tax breaks, low-cost workforces, affordable housing and business-friendly bureaucrats.
December 12, 2009 | By Henry Chu
It's another drizzly, dreary day in eastern Germany -- oddly perfect, it turns out, for demonstrating the potential of solar energy. Despite the rain, hundreds of thousands of photovoltaic panels still gaze skyward here at the country's biggest solar farm, like a field of huge silvery sunflowers planted in neat rows marching toward the horizon. Raindrops splotch their faces, and the steely gray clouds curtain the sun. But the panels remain busy absorbing solar radiation to convert into electricity.
October 23, 2009 | Todd Woody
Skyline Solar, a Silicon Valley start-up, has become the latest green energy company to tap the struggling auto industry's manufacturing muscle. The Mountain View, Calif., company said Thursday that components for its solar power plants were being made in a Troy, Mich., car factory operated by Cosma International, a division of auto manufacturing giant Magna International. The same machines that stamp out doors, hoods and other car body parts are now making metal arrays that hold Skyline's photovoltaic panels.
September 9, 2009 | Tiffany Hsu
The sun shines nearly everywhere, but alternative energy company First Solar Inc. is hoping its rays are most profitable out in the far reaches of China. The Arizona company signed a memorandum of understanding today with the city of Ordos to build a 2,000-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant, said Michael J. Ahearn, First Solar's chairman and chief executive. The sprawling project in the Inner Mongolian desert, would be the company's first in Asia and its largest outside the U.S. Although current solar installations in China produce only 90 megawatts, the country's leaders recently decided that 10% of China's energy should come from renewable sources by 2010, and 15% by 2020.
August 29, 2009 | Shara Yurkiewicz
In a lab in Caltech, Harry Atwater holds up a plastic panel, a fraction of a millimeter thick. Even in the brightly lit room, the surface's panel remains jet-black -- absorbing all the light that hits it. The high-tech material is 10 times more efficient at absorbing light than the regular silicon cells that some homeowners install on their roofs to harvest the energy of the sun. It is one of several projects that Atwater's team at Caltech...
May 22, 2009 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the utility owned by PG&E Corp. of San Francisco, won approval from regulators for a solar power contract with Sempra Generation, a unit of Sempra Energy of San Diego. Under a 20-year contract, Pacific Gas will buy power from a 10-megawatt photovoltaic solar plant in Boulder City, Nev. Sempra and First Solar Inc. said in April that they would expand the facility by 48 megawatts using First Solar's thin-film technology. The California Public Utilities Commission approved the contract at its meeting in San Francisco.
March 3, 2009 | Marla Dickerson
Stunted by the nation's credit freeze, troubled OptiSolar Inc. of Hayward, Calif., has agreed to sell its portfolio of unfinished solar farms to one of the hottest firms in the solar industry. First Solar Inc. said Monday that it would pay OptiSolar $400 million in First Solar stock to buy the outstanding projects, which the Tempe, Ariz., company intends to complete. The portfolio includes a planned 550-megawatt facility in San Luis Obispo County known as the Topaz Solar Farm.
March 2, 2009
Re "Vote no on B," editorial, Feb. 26 I agree with The Times' recommendation to vote no on Measure B, but for additional reasons. Voters should not be asked to approve ordinances, which are usually too complex for proper consideration. Also, no one should circulate or sign a petition for a proposition or vote for any proposition that contains, as this one does, a requirement for a supermajority to amend or repeal it. Such provisions make government more rigid and less responsive than it should be. Stephanie Nordlinger Los Angeles :: Proponents of Measure B imply there is no alternative to their plan to install 400 megawatts of photovoltaic power.
February 25, 2009 | Marla Dickerson
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said Tuesday that it would spend $1.5 billion of ratepayers' money to add 500 megawatts of photovoltaic power in California, one of the largest such deals in the country. Plans call for the San Francisco utility to invest at least half of that in solar panels placed on commercial rooftops and on ground-mounted modules that PG&E would own and operate. The other half is earmarked for long-term contracts with private-sector solar companies.
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