Clean energy finance

Of all the assertions made by parties on both sides of the heightening debate about China’s subsidies of its solar panel manufacturing companies one reality should be more clear with each passing day: At the heart of the race for solar manufacturing leadership are the shortcomings of  energy policies that could  help consumers invest more…

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At the 2012 ARPA-E’s concluding plenary session this morning, the retiring President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Susan Hockfield, offered five parting shots (my words) to leaders in government, industry, energy research and clean tech financing to solve America’s energy challenges, especially where it involves manufacturing. 1. Industry should partner with researchers and government…

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There is progress but there is also a long way to go to engage consumers in Smart Grid apps and their benefits. In the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative’s 2012 “State of the Consumer Report,” released today, four fresh themes emerge. Each one, and the recurring themes, continue to wrestle with the reality that virtually all…

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The California Public Utility Commission is accepting comments through January 25 and holding workshops February 8-10 on a proposal by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to create the nation’s first statewide on-bill repayment (OBR) program for energy efficiency and solar energy upgrades to be financed entirely by third parties. The  “OBR” program as it’s becoming known…

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Conversations with analysts and  advocates on both sides of SolarWorld’s anti-dumping suit against China lead me believe the U.S. cannot beat its communist counterparts on cost. What it CAN do is set policies that convince U.S. financiers that solar energy is worth investing in. This way, fresh capital can flow to U.S. companies so they…

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Be sure to gauge the tall hurdles American renewable energy industries face in 2012 and beyond here which I wrote for my colleagues and friends at EnergyCentral.com and their daily e-newsletter at RenewablesBiz.com.

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For all the energy challenges facing the U.S. and Congress’ unwillingness to tackle real problems, the Republican-led probe of the Solyndra loan and its grilling of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu Nov. 17 by the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation speaks volumes about its misplaced priorities. The $535 million Department of Energy…

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The closures of two U.S. solar energy pioneers during the past month speak volumes about the high stakes when governments place bets on clean energy start-ups. Evergreen Solar and Solyndra are the latest examples. More are likely to come as the industry endures a shakeout and struggles to find a sustainable path vis a vis…

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Before the mortgage industry beat back efforts by local jurisdictions to deploy Property Assessed Clean Energy home loans in 2009 in Maryland and other states, this voluntary vehicle for financing home energy efficiency upgrades (known as “PACE”) appealed to many Republicans, Democrats and Independents. But inadequately-informed lawmakers, a forceful lobbying campaign by mortgage lenders and…

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Power purchase agreements, where individuals and organizations can own solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on someone else’s rooftop, have the potential to supply billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars of much-needed capital. The need is growing more acute in the U.S. as the Section 1603 Treasury Grant program is due to expire on December 31, 2011 and…

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