It may not be a record, but it’s still impressive as China Sunergy (CSUN :NASDAQ) announced today it has reached an energy conversion rate of 20.26 percent on its new generation of high-efficient, mono-crystalline solar cells as certified by the Franhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.
Mass commercial production of the cells will commence by the end of this year.
These new cells surpass the 20 percent mono-crystalline cells conversion efficiency benchmark mandated by the eight development guidelines issued by the State Council for China’s photovoltaic industry in July 2013.
Exceeding 20 percent helps push China Sunergy towards one of the key components of the winning formula for the solar industry of higher efficiency cells at affordable prices. China Sunergy did not release any details on pricing.
Investors certainly understand the significance of this announcement as shares of China Sunergy were up 3.16 percent in early afternoon trading.
AGL Energy Limited announced today that it will move forward with two utility-scale solar energy projects totaling 155 megawatts (MW) and First Solar (FSLR :NASDAQ) will be providing the photovoltaic modules and EPC services for the projects totaling approximately $450 million.
First Solar will be building a 102 MW solar plant at Nyngan and a 53 MW plant at Broken Hill. The Nyngan plant, located in New South Wales, will not only be the country’s largest solar plant, but the biggest in the southern hemisphere. The projects are receiving $166.7 million in funding from the Commonwealth Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and $64.9 million from the NSW Government.
Both projects are scheduled to begin construction in 2014 and be completed by the end of 2015.
Nyngan and Broken Hill are part of the Australian government’s aggressive goal of obtaining 20 percent of its energy through renewable sources by the end of the decade.
With stellar business wins like today’s announcement, First Solar continues to be a darling in the solar industry despite being called out Aaron Chew, an analyst with Maxim Group LLC in New York back in April 2012. Back then Mr. Chew felt the company needed to make major changes to its business model and downgraded the company to “sell” with a target price of $9.
Shares of First Solar were up 2.17 percent to 49.55 in afternoon trading.
We have been wondering for years why there isn’t an easy tagging product so that you can locate your stuff in your garage, closets, etc. The find my iPhone feature works so well we thought this would work for other products. So we are not surprised to see that Tile has found lots of people who are interested in investing via Self-starter. Tile was incubated in the Silicon Valley mobile accelerator Tandem Capital.
What’s interesting here is that Tile allows you to find stuff that is well outside of BlueTooth range as it networks its community who are on Bluetooth via cell phones to track down lost objects.
Tile is taking orders for $25-a-piece tags via its web site.
Even though we like the idea we wonder why 50K people donated? Is there a particular use-case? Is find my stolen bike it? They are fairly big – matchbook size – wouldn’t a thief simply spot a Tile and throw it away? From its promos, Tile thinks the key uses cases are bikes, wallets, purses and keys. What about dogs? Or kids?
The most common complaints seems to be that it only lasts for a year, then you need a new one.
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Seeking to solve the problem of finding green energy engineering plans for a solar energy project, Detroit’s GreenLancer.com announced today that they have raised an additional $225,000 to complete their $500,000 Series A round.
GreenLancer.com’s investors are a posse of Michigan-based companies including Bizdom (Detroit), Start Garden (Grand Rapids), Blue Water Angels (Midland), Northern Michigan Angels (Traverse City) and a private investor.
As a web-based solar engineering company, Greelancer.com provides online technical documents, engineering services and financial modeling through a national network of engineers that are supported by the cloud. The value proposition for Greenlancer.com breaks down to two components: cheaper and faster.
From past experience, we know that solar engineering services aren’t cheap and often take a while. But most companies are aware of this when they undertake solar projects. Being the fastest and the cheapest isn’t necessarily an advantage unless their bright spot is working with companies that don’t have an understanding of utility-scale projects.
Greenlancer.com plans on spending their newly found capital on supporting their “ambitious growth plan” but one cannot help but think they should spend a little on developing a new name and upgrade the content on their web site so that it would actually entice potential customers to try their unique service.
San Francisco-based Instacart has raised $8.5M led by Sequoia Capital. Also backing are Khosla Ventures, Canaan Partners, SVAngel and Paul Buchheit, the creator of Gmail.
Instacart will shop for and deliver groceries to your door within 2 hours for a fee of $3.99. You can order from Costco, Whole Foods or Trader Joes,which don’t deliver. The comparable here is not to Webvan or Amazon groceries but to a freelance car service like Lyft where anybody with a car can be a driver. We don’t get how at that price they will get someone to drive to a store and buy groceries then drive to the customer’s home.
The deal is notable because Sequoia’s Mike Mortiz was on the board of Webvan. He says“We had still been receiving outpatient therapy for our Webvan fiasco,” says Moritz, who’s joining the year-old company’s board. Still, with Instacart, he says, “There is little danger of a relapse.” Everyone we know who was involved with Webvan says that the model works and there are a number of companies providing it today. Other than the pricing we wonder what happens if Trader Joes and Costco start to home deliver.
Instacart today says it has 200 personal shoppers in the Bay Area. The Instacart app has maps of local supermarkets and can direct personal shoppers to specific aisles. Founder Apoorva Mehta says Instacart’s “secret sauce” is its fulfillment software, which allows the online retailer to combine orders placed at different times and fill them from different stores.
Many renewable energy supporters have looked to Brazil to support the growth of the biofuel industry. But after 2014 World Cup host set a new production record in April with 68 million gallons of biodiesel produced, the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP), the Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries (ABIOVE) reported that only 62.36 million gallons processed in May.
In comparison, the U.S. has produced 135 million gallons of biodiesel in May and over 500 million gallons year-to-date. Brazil’s year-to-date production is in excess of 305 million gallons.
With numbers like these, it’s easy to see why Emeryville, California-based Amyris (AMRS :NASDAQ) exited biodiesel manufacturing back in 2012 and is instead using its process to work with companies like Total to produce renewable diesel and jet fuel and Cosan (CYZ :NYSE) for commercial and industrial lubricants and additives.
Shares of Amyris were unchanged in afternoon trading.
Despite being a global leader in geothermal power, Ormat (ORA :NASDAQ) is developing their first solar power plant near its geothermal plant in Imperial Power Plant in California.
Instead of tapping local favorites SunPower (SPWR :NASDAQ) or First Solar (FSLR :NASDAQ), Ormat chose ET Solar Group, the U.S. subsidiary of ET Solar based in Nanjing, China.
The Imperial Irrigation District, through a 20-year power purchase agreement, will purchase the power created by the 36,868 ET Solar 1000-Volt rated solar modules.
Overall the decision to develop a utility-scale solar plant makes perfect sense for Ormat as the sunny climate in Imperial Valley is perfect for solar power generation. But choosing ET Solar over First Solar and SunPower? Let’s hope for Ormat’s sake that there is a strategic partnership brewing here that will ultimately send some business their way.
Shares of Ormat were up 0.96 percent while shares of SunPower and First Solar were down 1.51 percent and 1.91 percent respectively.