SunPower, one of North America’s largest solar companies, is scheduled to publish its first quarter 2014 results on April 24. We expect the company’s earnings to improve on a year-over-year basis, driven by higher global demand for solar products and manufacturing cost improvements. During Q4 2013, the company’s quarterly revenues declined by around 3% year-over-year to around $758 million, while operating margins grew to around 9.5% from 7.4% a year ago.
Solar power has been growing like crazy. Last year the solar industry installed a record amount of solar capacity. The impact can be seen in the data. According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2012 there were 3.5 million megawatthours of electricity generated by solar photovoltaic panels. In 2013 that more than doubled to 8.3 million Mwh. And to think that a decade ago the U.S. generated just 6,000 Mwh from solar PV.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s foundation has announced a $5 million investment in an artsy-looking solar-powered lamp designed for use in off-grid populations in Africa. It says the lamp, called Little Sun, will provide clear, affordable energy to places dependent on costly and toxic kerosene lighting in sub-Saharan Africa. The portable lamp is created by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen. Consumers in the U.S.
Peter W. Davidson, Executive Director of the Loan Programs Office in U.S. Department of Energy says government loans were necessary to get the first large scale photovoltaic solar plants off the ground.
While use of coal for generating electricity has started to decline in the U.S., China continues to build coal power plants. With public anger at filthy air bubbling below the surface, and the costs of associated health effects more apparent, the country’s government is well aware of the long-term costs. Two years ago, the Chinese government announced a plan to cap coal consumption through 2015–both to address air pollution and limit its imports of the commodity from Australia and elsewhere. China also raised its target for new solar installations this year to 14 gigawatts–higher than last year’s 12 GW, and more than any nation has ever added in a year. Now, energy analysts are beginning to fear that investment in coal powerplants in China bears the hallmarks of a speculative boom that some call “the carbon bubble.”
Watching a UFO Video and took a snap shot of one image on the video. What does it look like to you?
The new year has brought optimism among U.S. solar companies, from manufacturers to project developers, with some of them touting solid 2013 financial performance and promise to do better in 2014. Enphase Energy, which makes power electronics for solar panels, generated a record revenue of $67.1 million for the fourth quarter and a non-GAAP operating profit for the first time in the company’s history.