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Honda is envisioning what it calls a CO2-free society and, not surprisingly, it's a rather sunny one, in one Japanese city, at least. The Japanese automaker is kicking off a test program with the micro-electric-vehicle that will use power generated via photovoltaic energy collected and stored at EV charging stations. Yes, the big old sun will power those little-bitty MC-β cars.

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Now if only Renault could get all 15,000 of those people to buy those electric vehicles.

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A new report from the Chinese government notes that the cost of solar power in that country could drop below 0.80 yuan (12.5 cents) per kilowatt-hour by 2015. At that price, solar matches up favorably with the current go-to source for cheap energy, coal. How? Well, China already expects to double its solar-electric capacity by the end of the year and is providing incentives for further growth.

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) continues to support a wide variety of alternative energy project and has finalized a $967-million loan to support construction of the Agua Caliente Solar Project in Yuma County, Arizona. This is a big one.

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General Motors is adding a photovoltaic array to the roof of its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. The facility's new solar panels will help offset the energy consumed when producing Chevy Volts. GM has partnered with DTE Energy on the planned 516-kilowatt installation, which will cover 264,000 square feet on six acres of land. In addition to the solar array, further energy-saving measures like automated equipment shutdown, more efficient lighting, and upgrades to more energy-efficient assembly

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Under its SunShot Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it will hand out up to $112.5 million over the next five years to fund the development of advanced solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing processes throughout the U.S. The Department says that its SunShot Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships will assist the solar power industry in overcoming technical barriers and reducing costs for PV installations. This, the DOE hopes, should help the U.S. regain its position as a worldwi

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Most everyone in the plug-in vehicle movement knows about Paul and Zan Scott. Leaders of Plug In America, they have been tireless advocates for electric drive vehicles (especially for pairing them with solar panels) for years. But yesterday they shared a bit about why they work so tirelessly to push for EVs.

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As we announced, SEAT is trying to maximize the possibilities of the sunny Mediterranean climate for its factory in Martorell, near Barcelona, Spain. SEAT's plan is ambitious, and could allow the plant to be able to function almost off the grid. The factory will use 320,000 m2 of solar panels on the roof, the equivalent of 10 MW of electric power. Annually, the plant could generate 13 million kWh. That's enough to power 3,000 homes and will save up to 6,200 metric tons of CO2. The first project

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Why no solar powered electric cars?

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Looks like green might replace red as the most popular color at Ferrari. The supercar manufacturer just added a whole roof-full of photovoltaics atop its Engine Mechanical Machining facility in Maranello. Those solar panels should cut Ferrari's outside power needs, reducing the amount of energy the company draws from the grid by about 210,000 kWh a year and could result in a 25-30% reduction in CO2 emissions.

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Sometimes we get a little fired up about new developments in solar technology. This new solar energy system (pictured above) from SUNRGI is making us downright delirious. What is it exactly? Thought you'd never ask. This, my friend, is the latest in concentrated solar technology or Xtreme Concentrated Photovoltaics ™ - XPV™ as it is referred to by the company. If it lives up to its extraordinary claims of producing electricity for a meager ¢5Kwh, we may all be saying "Good-bye c

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SEAT (a brand that belongs to Volkswagen) has announced the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roof of its Martorell (near Barcelona) factory in Spain. The company expects this move will save up to 11,700 tons of CO2 from being released to the atmosphere. The panels have a power of 8.5 MW and are expected to produce 11.2 GWh per year.

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President Bush outlined what he is calling the Advanced Energy Initiative in his State of the Union speech. Part of this initiative includes investment in solar technology. Specifically, the Department of Energy has chosen 13 Industry-Led solar projects. Click here for a list of the companies. The current total investment is $168 million and could increase to $357 million in three years, depending on the individual success of each project.

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On the 13th February we posed the question "What is the best way to spend the DOE's money?", and asked you to vote for your favourite answer.

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British supermarket chain Tesco, the fourth-largest retail chain in the world, is teaming up with Los Angeles-based Solar Integrated Technologies to build what is claimed to be the world's biggest roof-top solar panel installation. Solar Integrated won the $13 million contract to install solar panels on the roof of Tesco USA's new distribution center in Riverside, California.

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I attended an energy symposium earlier this year and someone calculated that a solar cell would have to be larger than the state of Kansas to power America's electricity needs. Now there's a formula for determining how large a photovoltaic array should be to power an electric vehicle.

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MIT researchers have developed a system that could potentially do away with vehicle alternators and even hybrid batteries.

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