Net Metering to Shine on in New York, California

Rooftop solar companies are breathing a sigh of relief – and are getting ready to install more projects in New York and California. That’s because legislatures in the two states have passed new rules that boost net metering, an arrangement that allows customers with small-scale solar and wind installations to get credit for the electricity they deliver back to the grid.

With net metering, as the arrangement is called, customers pay only for their net electricity usage. Their meters run forward when they are using more electricity than they are producing and run backward when they are producing more electricity than they are using. The absence of net metering could cut out much of the economic benefit of building solar systems, at least in places without other financial incentives, such as a feed-in tariff.
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Macworld 2010: In Closing

In the first year that Macworld Expo San Francisco did not see Apple (s aapl) attend, the speculation leading up to the show was centered on what Macworld Expo would be like without its best known exhibitor. David Pogue gave us a look at the world without Apple, and then the show itself gave us a look at Macworld Expo without Apple. The results in both cases were still pretty enjoyable.

In any other year, the start of Macworld Expo would mean looking forward to a riveting Stevenote with all sorts of product announcements. This year, the Expo started with David Pogue of the New York Times leaping on stage to do his best Steve Ballmer impersonation.

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The highlight of the opener was a clever and entertaining stage play of “It’s a Wonderful Mac” which riffs on the premise of “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart by imaging what the world would be like without Apple. Read More about Macworld 2010: In Closing

Adobe Creative Suite 5 Details Revealed

I was only just talking about how long its been since Adobe (s adbe) released a new major update to its flagship Creative Suite product with an imaging professional friend, and now there’s a sign that we won’t have to wait much longer for said update to arrive. AppleInsider got an exclusive look at some of the new features coming up in various CS5 programs, some of which look mighty appealing to my hobbyist eye.

Photoshop CS5 will finally become 64-bit, for starters, something which Photoshop CS4 for Windows could claim nearly two years ago in 2008. The new 64-bit Photoshop CS5 has be completely rewritten in Apple’s (s aapl) Cocoa development framework, after Apple’s decision to scrap a 64-bit version of Carbon blocked the simultaneous release of a 64-bit Photoshop CS4 for Mac. But that’s not all. Many other new goodies are also forthcoming. Read More about Adobe Creative Suite 5 Details Revealed

From Spandex to Solar: DuPont Poised for PV Growth

Look at a solar panel and you might think of its manufacturer or installer, or maybe – if you’re a true solar geek – the company that made the cells inside the panel. But when Marc Doyle, global business director for DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions, looks at a panel he sees all the little overlooked pieces that enable it to work properly: the conductive silver metal lines, the front and back sheets and the encapsulant to protect the cells. That’s because nearly all are made by DuPont (s DD), and as Doyle puts it, “What you’re looking at is a bunch of DuPont stuff. But nobody looks at it this way except for DuPonters.”

Because while DuPont, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, has been actively providing critical materials to the solar industry for the last 25 years, solar is one of the last industries that the company’s name conjures up for most people –- well behind, say, chemicals, agriculture or materials like nylon and lycra (commonly called spandex). Now DuPont is looking to change that.
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CellEra Raises Cash for Cheaper Fuel Cells

Israeli fuel-cell startup CellEra has kept its activities under wraps since it raised $2 million from Israel Cleantech Ventures last year. But a German press release from angel investor group BrainsToVentures has revealed the company has raised another $2 million, from BrainsToVentures and Israel Cleantech Ventures, and has developed its first prototype. CEO Ziv Gottesfeld confirmed the news, telling us the cash represents part of a larger round.

Gottesfeld also told us CellEra already is working with a major manufacturer and is integrating its fuel cells into backup power systems. CellEra plans to use its new cash to turn its working prototype into its first commercial product, he said, adding that the company aims to have products ready for the market in two years.
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Solar Startup 1366 Closes $5.2M, Signs New Customers

Solar startup 1366 Technologies has closed $5.15 million in a second round of funding from North Bridge Venture Partners and Polaris Venture Partners and plans to announce the funding this morning. Xconomy first reported the story yesterday, and according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing yesterday, the cash is part of a round expected to total $6.2 million.

The new cash comes after 1366 raised $4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program, becoming the first (and so far, the only) photovoltaic startup to be selected. The MIT spinoff, founded in 2007, also previously raised $12.4 million back in March.
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Wikipedia Is Finally Gearing Up For Video

This week, it almost happened. The servers hosting all of Wikipedia’s media were ready to burst, filled up to the max with almost six million files totaling close to eight terabytes of data. Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia, was able to install a new server with tons of new space just in time this Tuesday, but Wikimedia’s deputy director Eric Moeller admitted in a blog post: “It’s been a much closer call this time than we would like.”

Part of the reason why Wikimedia has to deal with a huge influx of data is that volunteers are increasingly uploading videos, and content partnerships with museums and archives have brought in hundreds of hours of additional footage. Wikimedia announced two years ago already that it was getting ready to include more of this content into Wikipedia. Little of this has materialized so far, but now it finally seems like video on Wikipedia is actually going to happen soon. So how is the free encyclopedia going to use moving images, and why has this taken so long?
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Solar Power and Batteries Pair Up

One of the most commonly cited problems about solar power is that it’s intermittent, meaning that it’s not always sunny when electricity is needed. That means customers can’t count on being able to generate exactly as much solar power as they need to meet electricity demand at any given time, and utilities must rely on conventional power plants to ensure that electricity is always available.

Screen-printed solar-cell manufacturer Suniva and battery maker GS Battery are teaming up to help solve that problem by pairing solar projects with batteries. It’s a common pairing for off-grid systems, which need batteries to have electricity at night, for example, or on cloudy days. But the companies also want to add batteries to systems that are connected to the grid.
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Where to Watch Hope for Haiti Now Online

UPDATED: Wyclef Jean, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews and Justin Timberlake are just a few of music stars that will take part in tonight’s Hope For Haiti Now benefit concert, starting at 5 p.m. PST and 8 p.m. EST. They’ll be supported by Hollywood talent like Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Jon Stewart, Julia Roberts and Leonardo DiCaprio, according to MTV.com. The concert will air simultaneously on pretty much all the major broadcast and many cable channels, and the organizers of the event already call it the biggest telethon in TV history.

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But what do you do if you’re stuck at an office with no TV in sight? No worries: It looks like Hope for Haiti Now is slated to also break a few records online, where the concert will be live-streamed on more than a dozen major sites.

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MailBrowser: A Plugin to Manage Gmail Contacts and Attachments

If you’re a Gmail (s goog) user who’s coveted third-party Outlook (s msft) email productivity add-ons like Xobni or Gist, you might like to check out Webyog’s new MailBrowser. It’s a free plugin for Firefox and IE (with Chrome support on its way) that aims to extend the contact and attachment management capabilities of Gmail.

Getting started is straightforward: Download and install the plugin (versions available for both Windows and Mac) and give it your Gmail account credentials (which are only stored locally on your machine, as it’s not a web app). It uses IMAP to connect to your Gmail and Google Apps accounts; once connected, it trawls through your emails looking for contacts and attachments. As soon as it’s finished indexing your emails, you’re ready to go.

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