A “crazy idea”: Tiny solar mirrors controlled by actuators

The kind of flat solar mirrors that BrightSource Energy is erecting in California’s Mojave Desert run 7.2 meters by 10.5 meters. The kind that Saul Griffith is working on stretches all 5 centimeter by 5 centimeter and sit on trackers that are no taller than a toothpick.

NRG embraces CIGS solar tech

Solar Frontier, the largest manufacturer of copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) solar panels, announced Wednesday that it’s shipped 13.2MW to NRG Solar (s NRG), which is evolving from being a buyer of solar power projects to a developer.

Some good news: Fewer solar projects in Cali will fail in the future

The failure rate of developers to fulfill their renewable energy contract in California has historically been around 30-40 percent, but that failure rate is expected to come down now that utilities are seeing better prepared and managed projects — and more developers who are in the game.

While 2011 cleantech investing grew, later stage dominated

Cleantech venture capital and corporate investing for the full 2011 year was up in terms of overall dollar amounts compared to 2010, according to the research firm The Cleantech Group, but large follow-on rounds for matured companies continued to dominate the year.

10 solar trends to watch for in 2012

Solar tech companies have suffered in 2011, and a speedy recovery in 2012 doesn’t seem likely. But the market holds huge potential for growth, and this dark time shall pass. Here is our look at solar trends to watch for in 2012.

NRG gobbles up Solar Power Partners for distributed solar

Clean power giant NRG Energy has mostly been building a solar empire based on large centralized solar farms, but it’s keenly interested in the distributed solar market. That explains the company’s announcement that it has bought a project developer Solar Power Partners.

The fate of 9 giant solar farms in Cali

It was roughly a year ago when the California Energy Commission approved nine solar farms all within a few months in order to make sure those projects could qualify for a federal program that subsidizes 30 percent of their costs. Where are they now?

BrightSource Energy plans 3rd massive solar farm

BrightSource Energy is still building its first solar farm, but the company already is steaming ahead with the third, 810 MW project called Rio Mesa, for which the company said Friday it has applied for approval from the California Energy Commission.