Thursday, June 21, 2007

Renewable Energy Investments Soar

(AP) PARIS Renewable energy has moved out of the fringe and into the mainstream, with investors worldwide pouring $71 billion of new capital into the sector in 2006, up 43 percent from the previous year, and more is expected, a U.N. report said Wednesday.

Fears about global warming, frustration over high oil prices and growing backing from governments have lured more investment money to renewable energy sources like wind, solar power and biofuels, the U.N. Environment Program said. About a fifth of 2006 investment was in the developing world.

Today renewable energy accounts for only 2 percent of the electricity around the world, however, the report said. Renewable energy makes up 18 percent of the world's investment in generating power.

The trend report analyzed venture capital, the stock market and acquisitions, studying how investment money on renewable energy is being spent around the world. Though high oil prices are helping drive interest in renewable technologies, the field is growing more independent of fossil fuel prices."

One of the new and fundamental messages of this report is that renewable energies are no longer subject to the vagaries of rising and falling oil prices," UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said. "They are becoming generating systems of choice for increasing numbers of power companies, communities and countries irrespective of the costs of fossil fuels."

After $71 billion invested last year, the report forecast $85 billion in new capital pouring into the sector in 2007.

Investment through public markets more than doubled in 2006 to reach $10.3 billion, it said. The biggest growth has been in venture capital and private equity investments, which hit $7.1 billion in 2006, more than twice as much as the previous year.

Developing countries are getting deeper into the renewable energy business, the report found. Investment in the developing world made up 21 percent of the total last year.

Nine percent of worldwide investment took place in China, where large reliance on coal is a world environmental concern and where the lack of oil in its territory is helping motivate efforts to find other energy sources. India is slightly behind China, while Latin America amounted to 5 percent of investment. Sub-Saharan Africa lags, but there is nonetheless interest there.

"The growth in the number of countries who are talking to us about renewables ?it's just unbelievable how that's kind of ballooned in the last 12 to 18 months," said Nick Gardiner, the director of energy at Fortis Bank and a member of the advisory board of UNEP's Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative.

"There's a lot of liquidity around, there's a lot greater understanding of projects now ... renewables is very much considered a mainstream activity, so investors are interested and looking."

China Sunergy to commercialize production emitter cells

Nanjing, (ANTARA News/Xinhua-PRNewswire-AsiaNet) - China Sunergy Co., Ltd. (Nasdaq: CSUN), a specialized solar cell manufacturer based in Nanjing, China, announced today that it has taken further steps to commercialize the production of its selective emitter cells. Selective emitter cells are an improved version of the P-type solar cells currently produced by most solar cell manufacturers.

Following extensive research and development, the Company has been able to achieve small-scale commercial production of its selective emitter cells and also deliver average conversion efficiency rate that has been well above 17 per cent.

Following these promising pilot production runs, China Sunergy is confident that it remains on track to achieve full scale commercial production of selective emitter cells in the second half of 2007.

As part of the move towards full commercial production of selective emitter cells, the Company has already placed an order with Italian based equipment manufacturer Baccini S.P.A. to purchase a printing machine that will allow it to conduct more scalable commercial production runs of these high-efficiency cells in the second half of the year.

The printing machine and other ancillary equipment are expected to arrive in late June and the installation and trial run to be completed sometime in July this year.

Commenting on the development, Lu Tingxiu, Chairman and CEO of China Sunergy said: "The commercialization of our selective emitter cells remains on track and I am pleased with the results our research and development team has achieved.

China Sunergy will continue to focus on developing the technologies required to produce highly-efficiency solar cells and on being an industry leader in this important part of the solar value chain."