While an uproar has arisen over the loan guarantees for solar from the U.S. Department of Energy (namely the one for Solyndra), another federal agency has also been making hundreds of millions of dollars worth of loans and loan guarantees to support the U.S. solar industry.
Infinia, a solar startup which is using Stirling engines to produce solar power, is looking to raise $25 million in funding, and has closed $6 million of that round according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Abengoa Solar, eSolar and Infinia are among the companies selected to benefit from a new round of Department of Energy investments in concentrating solar power. The goal? Tap the power of the sun 18 hours a day and kick the coal habit.
Whoa — big news on the solar thermal front today, as French power giant Areva says it’s agreed to buy solar thermal startup Ausra. Back in November there were several media reports that said Ausra was in talks to be acquired by one of three companies, and it looks like Areva won the deal. Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed.
Areva, which has a large nuclear portfolio, says it will use the Ausra acquisition to become “the world leader in concentrated solar power,” and will sell solar thermal tech to utilities and independent power producers. Solar thermal technology uses mirrors and lenses to concentrate the sun rays to power turbines, and utilities have been turning to it in droves as of late.
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As solar thermal firms like eSolar have started flipping switches on their first projects in U.S. deserts, I’ve been eagerly waiting the stirling engine solar folks to officially enter the game. Looks like we’re getting one project at the end of this month: Stirling Energy Systems and its developer partner Tessera Solar are planning an invite-only kick-off event for the media on Jan. 22 to inaugurate the first project to use Stirling Energy System’s “SunCatcher” solar dish.
Stirling Energy and Tessera have built Maricopa Solar, a 1.5MW solar project in Peoria, Ariz. (Maricopa County) that will use 60 SunCatchers to sell clean power to local Arizona utility Salt River Project. The ribbon-cutting event is supposed to feature Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Department of Energy Solar Program Manager John Lushetsky.
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