From an Israeli startup: double-sided solar cells

The vast majority of solar cells today generate electricity by facing the sun, but what if you could engineer their backside to make use of reflected light as well? That’s the idea underlying the technology of bSolar, an Israeli startup who recently launched the so-called bifacial solar cells.

Oh, the places solar cells will go

A solar-powered loo prompts us to wonder where else can solar cells go to produce and promote clean power use. See our list of 8 places where solar cells make a good source of power.

Japan passes law to boost clean power generation

Japan has long supported solar energy development, but the nuclear disaster this spring pushed it to expand its clean power supplies. That effort reached a milestone on Friday when its lawmakers approved a program that will require its utilities to buy renewable electricity at government-set prices under long-term contracts.

Q4 Wrap-up: Ending 2009 on a Greentech High

What a year. Coasting on the momentum that propelled cleantech to the forefront of venture capital investment in Q3, the fourth quarter capped off a year that, when all was said and done, saw a total of $4.85 billion invested in the sector. However, as the GigaOM Pro team observes in the latest quarterly Green IT wrap-up, “Cleantech Was a Market Leader in Q4” (subscription required), some unease bubbled to the surface as the year drew to a close.
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Tesla & Panasonic Make It Official, Buddy Up for Batteries

Electric car startup Tesla Motors and battery cell giant Panasonic announced today that they will together develop nickel-based lithium-ion battery cells for electric vehicles. Panasonic has been rumored for months to be a battery cell supplier for Tesla’s planned Model S sedan, and today Naoto Noguchi, President of Panasonic’s Energy Company, said the Japanese firm’s cells will be used for Tesla’s “current and next-generation EV battery pack.”

According to today’s release, Panasonic is now around the halfway point in what it expects to be a $1 billion investment over three years in facilities for lithium-ion cell research, development and production. But Tesla is not putting all its chips on Panasonic’s supply. The startup notes today that the new cell resulting from its collaboration with Panasonic will allow Tesla to continue using cells from multiple suppliers. Read More about Tesla & Panasonic Make It Official, Buddy Up for Batteries

Forget TV Everywhere, How About Netflix Everywhere?

It seems Netflix has already reached a tipping point in the consumer electronics market, as it signed up five more CE manufacturers to enable its streaming services on their devices. Panasonic, Sanyo, Sharp, Toshiba and Funai (the CE maker behind the Philips, Magnavox, Sylvania and Emerson brands in the US) have all agreed to add the Netflix “Watch Instantly” streaming service to some of their Internet-connected HDTVs and Blu-ray players.

Netflix streaming has become nearly ubiquitous on consumer electronics devices in the past few years; the service was already available on a number of devices, including the Roku Player; Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 gaming consoles; Blu-ray players from Insignia, LG, Samsung and Sony; Internet-connected TVs from Insignia, LG, Samsung, Sony and VIZIO, and TiVo DVRs. Altogether, Netflix expects to have its streaming service on more than 100 different CE devices this year.

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