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BrightSource Halts Hidden Hills Solar Electric Project (Ind. Report)
BrightSource Energy,Pacific Gas & Electric
Oakland, California-based BrightSource Energy has suspended its proposed Hidden HIlls Solar Electric Generating System project and cancelled its PPA with Pacific Gas & Electric. Scheduling issues and transmission obstacles were cited as reasons for the project suspension, which stops short of a full cancellation.
The Hidden Hills project would have occupied about 3,280 acres in the Pahrump Valley just west of the Nevada State line. Its two power towers would have generated a combined maximum of 500 MW.
The suspension leaves BrightSource with only one project under consideration by the Calif. Energy Commission (CEC): the 500-MW Palen Solar Electric Generating Station, which had been approved by the CEC for a radically different design by previous owner Solar Millennium. BrightSource's soon to be completed Ivanpah project is the only solar power generating project on which the company has broken ground in California, although the firm has built a smaller facility near Coalinga. (Source: Brightsource, California Energy Commission, KCET, 3 April, 2013) Contact: BrightSource Energy, (510) 550-8161, www.brightsourceenergy.com; Pacific Gas & Electric, www.pge.com
Tags Concentrated Solar news, Solar news,
SolarWorld Ally In China Fight Shuts Down
SolarWorld USA, itself a division of a Germany-based corporation, was initially the only publicly named company among seven that joined together last October to charge that Chinese crystalline silicon solar cell and panel companies were dumping their products in the United States below cost and benefitting from illegal government subsidies. MX Solar USA came out of the closet as part of the complaint in March this year.
The company had officially opened its New Jersey plant for production on December 7, 2010, after an investment of $14.5 million. It expected to produce 65 megawatts of solar panels a year and employ 120 people by March 2011 and 190 by the end of 2011 [PDF]. The Bergen Record report, however, said that employment peaked at 120 last year, and 100 employees had since been laid off, many in March this year.
Documents [PDF] from the New Jersey Economic Development Agency suggest the company received financing under the state’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Fund totaling $3.3 million. It appears that $300,000 was a grant. The additional $3 million apparently came as a 10-year, 2 percent interest loan under which repayments were to start at the beginning of the company’s fourth year. Whether the Italy-based parent would be responsible for that loan is not known.
In hindsight, the timing on the opening of the Somerset, N.J., plant could not have been worse, as 2011 saw Chinese solar products surge into the United States. Meanwhile, solar installations continued to grow in the United States and around the world, but with subsidies beginning to moderate in economically strapped Europe, they couldn’t keep pace with exploding manufacturing capacity.
The result has been plummeting prices and carnage in the industry, and not just in the United States. In April, Q-Cells became the fourth solar company in PV-powerhouse Germany to file for bankruptcy this year, joining Solar Millennium, Solon and Solarhybrid.
It might be of little consolation to MX Solar USA, but the trade action against the Chinese solar industry did score a victory. In May, two months after slapping puny preliminary countervailing duties on imports from China, the U.S. Commerce Department announced hefty anti-dumping duties of around 31 percent on China’s largest solar companies, including Trina andSuntech, and up to nearly 250 percent on other manufacturers.
(Source: SolarWorld, Earth Techling, 25 June, 2012)
Q-Cells Resumes Production to Further Investor Interest (Int'l)
Q-Cells SE, the bankrupt German solar-cell maker has resumed production in an effort to find a buyer for the company
and to save as many parts and jobs of Q-Cells as possible.
Many German solar manufactures have struggled under the weight of cheap foreign competition and reduced government aid , all of which has flooded the solar panel market. Q-Cells, once the biggest solar-cell maker, Solon SE (SOO1), Solar Millennium AG (S2M) and Solarhybrid AG (SHL) have all filed for insolvency since December, 2012. (Source: Q-Cells, Bloomberg, 23 April, 2012)
Tags Q-Cell news,
BrightSource Energy Pulls IPO (Ind. Report)
Following on our March 23 coverage, BrightSource Energy, the California solar thermal power plant builder backed by Google, NRG Energy, Morgan Stanley and other heavy-hitters, citing "adverse market conditions" abruptly pulled its IPO on the eve of its planned debut Thursday.
The company had sought to raise $182.5 million in an offering that had a target range of $21 to $23 a share. BrightSource initially filed its S-1 on Earth Day last year and pulled the offering 11 days before Earth Day 2012.
BrightSource's IPO had been seen as a test of Big Solar's interest to investors but the solar market has been uneven as Germany and Spain ratcheted back subsidies while the future of renewable energy incentives in the U.S. has been caught up in presidential election-year politics. In addition,
as solar panel prices have plummeted, Chinese photovoltaic module makers grabbed a large share of the U.S. market. With a 75% fall in solar panel prices over the past three years, utilities in California, the largest U.S. solar market, have favored photovoltaic projects over the solar thermal facilities built by companies like BrightSource.
Against that less than encouraging backdrop, BrightSource's solar thermal competitors Solar Millennium of Germany and U.S. startup Stirling Energy Systems filed for bankruptcy in recent months. BrightSource Energy, which is well capitalized and the recipient of a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee, seemed a likely candidate to be one of the few solar thermal start-ups left standing.
(Source: Bright Source, April, 11, 2012) Contact: BrightSource Energy, Charles Ricker, SVP, Business Development, (510) 550-8161 ext 108, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.brightsourceenergy.com
Tags BrightSource Energy news, Solar Thermal news,
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