U.S. advisory panel tours First Solar, targets job growth

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Jon Chavez
Talendo Blade
January 13th, 2011

His company employs more than 4,000 workers overseas, but Wednesday, Bruce Sohn, president of First Solar Inc., was thinking about jobs closer to home. Not just the 1,000 employees at his plant in Perrysburg Township, but all workers in manufacturing plants in the United States.

As chairman of the Manufacturing Council, a group of chief executives nationwide that advises the U.S. Commerce Department on manufacturing issues, Mr. Sohn brought the 24-member panel to the Toledo area for a quarterly meeting. The group discussed issues such as trade agreements, work force development, renewable energy, and competitiveness.

But Mr. Sohn also used the day to take the council and several college and high school students on a tour of First Solar's panel production plant. Also joining the tour was Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, who came to discuss his pending legislation aimed at providing all companies with funds for training workers.

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Villaraigosa celebrates Los Angeles DWP milestone: 20% of power from renewable sources

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David Zahniser
Los Angeles Times
January 13th, 2011

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa celebrated an environmental milestone on Thursday, confirming what had been predicted for much of last year: the Department of Water and Power managed to secure 20% of its power from renewable sources, including wind and solar power, in 2010.

Villaraigosa promised to reach that goal during the 2005 election campaign. Sustaining it may be another matter, according to a draft report issued two months ago by the DWP, the nation's largest municipally owned utility.

In that report, DWP officials warned that its renewable-energy portfolio would steadily slip backward over the next five years, to 13% in 2015, unless the utility received a major infusion of cash. In that same report, DWP officials recommended that the utility scale back the ambitious renewable-energy promise that Villaraigosa made in his 2009 inaugural -- getting 40% of the DWP's power from renewable sources by 2020.

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New Jersey Scores Nation’s Biggest Solar Power Rooftop System

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CalFinder
January 12th, 2011

When it comes to solar energy systems, especially solar photovoltaic, bigger is better, and the biggest one to date is the 5-megawatt rooftop solar system proposed for the top of the White Rose Building in Cateret, New Jersey.

The building is both the corporate headquarters and a food distribution hub for White Rose Foods, the largest independent wholesale food distributor in the New York City metropolitan area.

The system is being built by Solar Power Inc., and will be operated under the joint auspices of NuGen Capital Management, LLC and KDC Solar LLC, with Solar Power Inc. acting as “service technician” once the plant is up and running.

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California utility signs 831-megawatt photovoltaic farms deal

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Todd Woody
Grist.org
January 10th, 2011

In another sign that photovoltaic power is poised to become a significant source of greenhouse gas-free electricity, California utility Southern California Edison on Monday announced it had signed deals to generate 831 megawatts from solar panel farms.

To put that in perspective, that's nearly a third of the electricity to be generated by California's decade-long program to install 3,000 megawatts' worth of solar panels on residential and commercial rooftops by 2017.

Silicon Valley solar powerhouse SunPower will build three photovoltaic power plants in Southern California to produce 711 megawatts while Spain's Fotowatio Renewable Ventures will develop four solar farms that will generate 120 megawatts.

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Chattanooga businesses looking to harness solar energy

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Chattanooga Times Free Press
Brittany Cofer
January 9th, 2011

Several years ago when Tom Moore saw the beginning effects of the recession, he knew he had to start cutting costs.

Instead of layoffs, he chose to go green.

Moore, president of Truck 'N Trailers USA in Chattanooga, began searching for more efficient ways to run his company in 2007. By 2010, he was able to offset his power costs by about 85 percent through the installation of a solar array atop his North Access Road building.

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