Monthly archives: June 2009

The future of the solar industry in the north eastern United States now looks much brighter following the massive injection of $20 million in federal money designed to act as a stimulus for the solar industry in Massachusetts. The cash stimulus will equate to 16 Megawatts of new solar installations in the state and will see the construction of some high profile solar sites including Logan International Airport in Boston.

Deval Patrick, Governor of the state of Massachusetts has made it his aim over recent months to make the state a leader in the field of photovoltaic investment and recent announcements regarding the cash that will be made available for large solar installations certainly backs up the political rhetoric coming from the governor’s office.

Speaking about the states renewable energy plans, Ian Bowles, secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs in Massachusetts stated that,

“With this infusion of federal funds, Governor Patrick is building the clean energy economy of the future for the Commonwealth”, going on to add that, “It’s phase one of the solar big bang”.

The current plans for solar installations in Massachusetts which will include new housing projects, public buildings and of course Logan Airport are part of a wider project which has been in place since the investiture of Governor Patrick. When he took office, solar installations in the state were around 3.5 megawatts and he has set the ambitious target of 250 megawatts of solar capacity by 2017.

The state of Massachusetts provides a good example of a solar industry growing with the help of government funding and root changes in attitudes with regards to the way our energy should be produced. As Seth Kaplan, spokesman for the Conservation Law Foundation commented,

“The amazing thing when you think about it is that we don’t have solar on every large flat roof. Any large flat roof without solar on it is a missed opportunity.”

Which such ambitions, the state of Massachusetts will be sure to provide a great opportunity for photovoltaic investors in the near future as they set their sights on a solar future.

At the beginning of the month the British parliament voted in favour of a parliamentary motion supporting next year’s introduction of feed-in tariffs by a massive majority of 240 MPs. The legislation designed to spur investment in the photovoltaic (PV) industry will, when implemented be an extremely effective mechanism for promoting growth in the fledgling renewable industry in the UK as it has been in other regions where feed-in tariff legislation has been introduced.

Feed-in tariffs work by offering fixed, premium rates for electricity fed-in to the grid by small scale solar energy producers. Over a period of 20-25 years the feed-in tariff (FIT) contract offers a return to solar investors thus greatly increasing the installation of PV plant. In Germany, for example where the tariff has been extremely successful in attracting investment there have been other market advantages such as job creation in the solar industry and of course a sharp rise in solar equipment manufacturing.

Members of the UK solar industry are now increasingly optimistic that the government FIT will generate a successful solar industry across the UK. As Clive Collison, head of Action South Facing a Hertfordshire based solar installation firm commented,

“We are very excited about this. We are now getting all sorts of inquiries from companies, local authorities and individuals. But nothing is guaranteed. We don’t know the level it will be set at yet and the big energy companies are still lobbying against it.”

With big conventional energy producers lobbying against solar energy legislation and a lingering support for nuclear power, it will be essential that the government seizes the opportunity this year to set up a FIT which offers real possibilities for a vibrant PV industry in Britain. With Gordon Brown’s commitment to the ‘Green New Deal’ with planned job creation and economic revitalization by means of the renewable energy industry, it is expected that the UK will reap the benefits of a strong tariff mechanism. Jeremy Leggett, Chairman of Solar Century has added his wait to the debate by pointing out the dangers of missing the boat on effective PV policy,

“UK plc will essentially have to sit and watch as other countries create jobs, tax income and energy security in one of the fastest-growing industries within the emerging green industrial revolution.”

Following on from the UK Solar economic forum, currently taking place in London, Green Power Conferences, one of the leading organizers of green energy events has announced the upcoming US Solar forum to take place in Washington.

With Barack Obama’s recent espousals of green initiatives and a sizeable upturn in green investments in light of the crisis facing Wall Street, the Solar economic forum, to be held in Washington D.C. on the 9 & 10 of September, will be sure to generate a huge interest amongst US solar sector members.

The US Solar economics forum will offer advice on the US solar industry and how it can react to the global economic crisis. With a particular focus given to recent legislation both on a national and local government level attendees will be able to get a strong feeling of the direction in which the US solar industry is heading. Similarly, with expert analysis and financial evaluations of the feasibility of various photovoltaic technologies the event will offer a forum focused on networking and real business success.

The forum will offer attendees the opportunity to come face to face with some of the key players in the US solar industry with the following high profile, expert speakers confirmed:

·          John Bartlett, Financial Analyst, U.S. Department of Energy, USA

·          Julia Hamm, Executive Director, Solar Electric Power Association, USA

·          Mike Nedd, Deputy Director, Bureau of Land Management, USA

·          David Arfin, Vice President, SolarCity, USA

·          Rainer Aringhoff, President, Solar Millennium, USA

·          Matt Cheney, Chief Executive Officer, Renewable Ventures, USA

·          Carrie Cullen Hitt, President, The Solar Alliance, USA

·          Shawn Kravertz, President, Esplanade Capital, USA

·          Nancy E. Pfund, Managing Partner, DBL Investors, USA

·          John Woolard, Chief Executive Officer, Brightsource Energy, USA

For full information on this conference and how it could benefit anyone involved in or wishing to learn more about the industry and its prospects, please visit:

Green Power Conferences, one of the leading renewable energy event organizers will bring together the UK’s key solar luminaries at the upcoming Solar Economics Forum, Towards Grid Parity between the 16th and 18th of June. The forum, to be held at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel & Conference Centre in London will bring the industry’s leaders together to focus on the potential for market growth in the 3 main photovoltaic sectors, Silicon-wafer based PV, Thin Film PV and CSP.

The conference series, which attracted over 1000 attendees in 2008 will be sure to attract similar hordes of attendees as awareness of the market feasibility of the solar industry has become more widespread over recent months. The Solar Economics forum will provide those within the industry with an opportunity to meet manufacturers, installers, government representatives, banking and financing experts and many more key industry players at the London forum.

Key speakers will include:

Peter Hain, MP- Former Energy Minister & Member of Parliament

Hans-Josef Fell – Member of the German Parliament and Vice- President, EUROSOLAR

Jeremy Leggett – Executive Chairman, Solarcentury

Andrew Marsden – Managing Director Europe, GE Energy Financial Services

Jerry Stokes – President, Suntech Europe

Chris O’Brien – Head of Market Development, Oerlikon Solar

For full information on this conference and how it could benefit anyone involved in or wishing to learn more about the industry and its prospects, please visit: