Archives for February 2012

Oversupply of Silicon Solar Panels

First Solar Copper Mountain

It’s hard to believe in many respects that there might be an oversupply of silicon solar panels, as many of us can go most of our lives (depending on where we live) without ever seeing a solar panel. But there is in fact a surplus. The latest victim of this situation is First Solar, An American manufacturer of thin-film solar devices. The depressed market recently led them to revise their earnings lower as CNN reports:

“First Solar’s performance in the quarter was impacted by an aggressive competitive environment, an uncertain regulatory environment, warranty-related charges, and restructuring costs incurred to help position our business for the future,” Mike Ahearn, First Solar’s chairman and interim CEO, said in a statement.

The company also lowered its sales guidance for 2012 from $3.7-$4.0 billion to $3.5-$3.8 billion. Following a brief halt to trading after the bell, shares dropped roughly 15% before rebounding to around 6% down late in the day.

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Floating Pools

Every once in a while you see something that really knocks your socks off. I first saw this over at Here’s what the author had so say:

Known as Aquaria Grande, it’s comprised of two 37-story towers that boast modern and unique architectural design with several high-end amenities. With over 200 apartments, each unit features three-sided natural light which also allows for cross-ventilation. There is an indoor club house that includes a gym and sauna, three levels of vehicle parking space, and a sustainable podium garden. Making eco-friendliness a priority of the towers’ modern design, the structures include energy efficient glass facades to reduce energy consumption.

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Building a Global Green Brand


It difficult to say exactly what a green brand is, because there is no single definition that everyone can agree upon. People come at it from different perspectives. I think the two strongest progressive brands are (RED) and the Pink Ribbon. Neither of these are green. Part of what has made them successful is their simplicity, something which is near impossible for a green brand.

(RED) was started by Bono and raises money to help fight AIDS in Africa. (RED) products donate a portion of their proceeds to the cause. The catch is that it’s not really transparent – something a green brand would have to be. It’s unclear what the percentage is and the products do not need to make any special health or environmental claims. The Pink Ribbon campaign has been around since the early 1990s. It’s now in the public domain and companies can use it as long as they support breast cancer research. [Read more…]

Do We Need More Philanthropy?

All rights reserved by Miss Cantankerous

While many of us are just worrying about not being betrayed by our favorite philanthropy (I’m thinking about the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation right now), many large donors and foundations are trying to figure out how they can get the most bang for their buck. This movement has been described as venture philanthropy. In short, venture philanthropy is characterized by taking some of the principles of venture capital, such as looking for measurable results, and applying them to the non-profit sector.

In Multiplication Philanthropy, Dan Pallotta tries to turn much of the current thinking on its head:

they’re looking for them in the wrong places. They’re missing the greatest leverage point of all: the multiplying effects of smart investments in fundraising. If you want to maximize the social effects of your donation, why would you buy, for example, $100,000 worth of great educational programming for inner city kids when the same $100,000 directed toward fundraising could generate enough money to buy $1 million worth of it?

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Mobile Nature Reserves

NOAA's National Ocean Service

The time for mobile nature reserves has come. What, you haven’t heard of them before? They don’t actually exist yet. The idea was just proposed at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver. As reported in the Guardian, mobile nature reserves would work as follows:

Instead of restricting areas by their location, mobile reserves would identify particular conditions that attract marine life “The stationary reserves do little to protect highly mobile animals, like most of the fish, turtles, sharks and seabirds,” said Larry Crowder, science director at the Centre for Ocean Solutions at Stanford University. “We think of protected areas as places that are locked down on a map. But places in oceans are not locked down, they move.”

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