California's SCE offering huge rebates

Prescriptive rebates for lighting, refrigeration, food service, agricultural equipment and air-conditioning technologies are available for Southern California Edison (SCE) customers through December. Applicants need to complete the necessary forms for the Express Efficiency Program at www.sce.com. In addition, SCE has a Standard Performance Contracting program in which non-residential users have the option of designing an energy retrofit conservation measure. Incentives are based on the type of measure installed and the kWh saved over a 12-month period. Applicants are eligible to receive up to 50 percent of the cost for each measure type. The maximum incentive is $2.4 million annually per customer site.

First Solar: Hotter than the sun

First Solar's wild ride to the top of the stock charts continues, as its first-quarter earnings topped analysts' estimates. Sales for the Tempe, Ariz.- based company soared to $196.9 million and earnings smashed analysts' estimates. The company expects total 2008 sales of $975 million to $1.05 billion. Its executives said a strong market and manufacturing improvements have fueled its growth.

“Demand for our products remained robust during the quarter, and we continued to experience market demand in excess of supply,” Chief Executive Michael Ahearn said in a conference call. Shares of the stock on April 30 closed at $291.99 — a 386 percent increase from its share price of $59.99 one year ago.

Angie's List publishes green home guide

Angie's List, the online resource where 600,000 homeowners share their real-life experiences with local service companies at www.angieslist.com, recently published an online e-zine about sustainable building and living at home. “Build It Better… Build It Green” offers an interesting mix of articles on a greener lifestyle.

Extreme solar

Sungri, Hollywood, Calif., says it has developed a new solar energy system that will soon make it possible to produce electricity at a wholesale cost of 5-cents per kilowatt hour, a price point that's competitive with the wholesale cost of producing electricity using fossil fuels at a fraction of the current cost of solar energy.

The company's XCPV (Xtreme Concentrated Photovoltaics) technology concentrates the equivalent of more than 1,600 times the sun's energy onto the world's most efficient solar cells. Robert Block, co-founder and SUNRGI principal expects the system to become available for both on and off-grid power applications in 12 to 15 months.

Otter Tail to build wind farm in North Dakota

A division of electric utility and manufacturer Otter Tail Corp., Fergus Falls, Minn., plans to complete North Dakota's largest wind farm by the end of this year. The Ashtabula Wind Center, a $121 million wind-energy facility, will be located approximately 75 miles northwest of Fargo and is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2008. Otter Tail Power Co. will build and own 48MW of the projected 200MW facility that will be operated by an affiliate of Juno Beach, Fla.-based FPL Group Inc. Otter Tail Power President Chuck MacFarlane said the project is the company's largest in more than 25 years.