sold out to the military industrial complex and utilities

Thin-film solar firm Nanosolar says it has raised $300 million
By Matt Nauman
Mercury News
Article Launched: 08/27/2008 11:27:32 AM PDT

San Jose’s Nanosolar, a manufacturer of thin-film solar panels, said Wednesday that it has raised $300 million to help it complete production lines in Silicon Valley and in Germany. It’s the largest amount of money raised by a solar start-up this year, and confirms that investors see the company’s technology as ready for prime time.

“It’s obviously a huge win for us,” Martin Roscheisen, Nanosolar’s chief executive, said in an e-mail from Europe.

The company, located in South San Jose’s Edenvale clean-technology development district, uses copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) rather than silicon for its solar panels. The promise of thin-film solar is that it will be much cheaper than traditional panels. Previously, Nanosolar talked about being the first company capable of profitably selling solar panels for 99 cents a watt.

Describing the investment as “one of the larger funding rounds we’ve seen in the solar energy marketplace,” an industry observer noted that big dollars are flowing into solar now as the technology moves from the lab to the factory.

“Nanosolar has plenty of company in the photovoltaic and concentrating solar power start-up space,” said Michael Bates, managing editor of Solar Industry magazine. “Companies such as HelioVolt, SolFocus and Suniva have all taken part in investment rounds exceeding $50 million.”

Since announcing in December that it shipped its first commercial panel, destined for a small solar array at a wastewater treatment plant in Germany, Nanosolar has been relatively quiet. Roscheisen still wouldn’t name names Wednesday.

“We have a short list of the industry’s most experienced, most scalable, and most bankable customers,” he said. “We don’t announce names at this point. We have many billions under contract.”

On the company’s blog, Roscheisen described the funding as “a strategic $300 million equity financing.” It includes money from many sources, including AES Solar, a joint-venture of AES, a large power-plant builder based in Virginia; Riverstone Holdings, a New York private equity firm; the Carlyle Group; EDF Renewables, the green division of a large utility based in France; Energy Capital Partners; Lone Pine Capital; the Skoll Foundation, GLG Partners; Beck Energy; Pierre Omidyar; and Grazia Equity.

Once at full capacity, Nanosolar’s San Jose factory will be able to produce enough panels each year to generate 430 megawatts of electricity and its Berlin plant will be able to make enough panels to produce 620 megawatts. The energy industry rule of thumb says 1 megawatt can power 750 California homes, but solar is an intermittent source of that power.

In 2007, the San Jose City Council approved a $2 million package for training and equipment to lure Nanosolar from Palo Alto. It has subsequently authorized more money to attract other solar companies.

Progress on Nanosolar’s factories is “slightly ahead” of schedule, Roscheisen said. But he added, “Obviously, starting up any advanced factory like these has its load of start-up kinks to be worked through. It’s a lot of work.”

Nanosolar closed the $300 million funding in March, but didn’t confirm it until Wednesday after a wire-service story reported it.

“At this time we are focused on product and customers, and want to be known for making money, not raising money,” Roscheisen said. “This financing was literally just a side effect of the industry partnerships we have established to implement solar utility power.”

I didn’t buy solar panels in 2006 and 2007 because I was waiting for the cheap panels Nanosolar had promised to be RETAILING. 

In fact, their website sported an invitation for resellers to register and I wasn’t the only one waiting.

And then something ODD happened.  They decided to sell only to big corporations and now are going for the big bucks – partnering with private equity firms and the infamous Carlyle Group (wiki).

Major start-up investment came from one of the Google founders. 

Google turned from the cool start-up to the giant monster controlling the internet.  Since Google bought youTube, they started to remove “anti government” videos.  Google attended the 2008 Bilderberg meeting and we’re about to have the web censored just like in China.

The goal:  replacing oil with solar for the power companies

The one thing they do NOT want is INDEPENDENT citizens who do NOT pay the power company for their electricity.  Power is a huge business and the profits are ENORMOUS.  If everybody bought a few solar panels, how would they exploit the working people?

They want to continue to CONTROL the population and of course the government.

There is no energy crisis, it’s all manufactured by the government and the oil and now solar companies.  If Bush had spent the money he wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan on producing solar, wind and other alternative energy products (there are so many!) we would be completely energy independent.

It is about MORE than profits for the corporations. It’s about CONTROL and the ability to start profitable wars over resources.

Solar thermal generator prototype

The evolution of the SolGen Project and the process of generating steam power from sunlight.  

From Coast:

Tonight’s guest, Sir Charles Shults, sent us images and videos related to his solar power energy research, dubbed “The SolGen Project.”

Shults standing next to the prototype single-lens unit.

The complete system, utilizing ten lenses.

I just did a TON of reading at, including the discussion and various links. 

One of the issues is SAFETY. 

I’ll have to post some pics of my FAILED hot water system last summer.  You should have heard the sound of it busting.

I’ve also heard that batteries are quite dangerous.

Water heaters.

GAS appliances and gas lines of all sorts!  I’ve got some personal experiences with lines leaking a year after they were tested.

Electricity! Many houses burn down due to electric fires and people burn to death.

Wood stoves – many insurers won’t insure if you have one in your house.

Of course I don’t want the lense to set fire to my roof.

Hopefully it won’t be too difficult preventing that.  And if I had any kids, I’d tell them not to play on the roof so they won’t get burned. 

Most important to me is that it’s working, there’s a prototype and once I have the cash, I can hopefully buy one.

Sure, there will be improvements and enhancements over time, but I’d rather take the prototype NOW than wait another umpteen years.

I noticed the–_RD

A prioritized listing by the New Energy Congress of the very best clean energy technologies according to ten criteria including: renewable, environmentally friendly, affordable, credible, reliable, developed, safe, and not encumbered by politics of science.

After a quick look I didn’t see anything in the top 20 I could order. Will have to look at the Solarcubes in more detail, but noticed an 8 months delay there too.

Solar steam generators ready for testing now

I just heard Sir Charles Shults on Coast and I’m so excited about this!

When my nephew was here last summer we discussed thermal power a few times.  He just graduated to be an energy engineer and we had many talks about alternative energy.



The first technology, now in test mode, is a Concentrated Solar Steam Generator which will produce affordable electricity, steam and hot water to handle all of the heating, hot water and power needs.

Three applications include:

  • local power for an individual home or business,
  • a larger application for community solar farm, and
  • a power plant application or to provide power through the grid.

Energy Consumption Chart


What is solar thermal generation?

This is a system that gathers and concentrates the energy of sunlight to produce useful power for the home.

How does it work?

Sunlight is concentrated using an array of lenses and the resulting heat used to operate a turbine and generator, similar to most power plants that use traditional fuels.  The heat from sunlight is used instead of petroleum, coal, or natural gas.

How much power does this system provide?

Our target is 6 kilowatts of power.  The average American home consumes about 30 kilowatt hours of power per day.  In five hours’ time, this system would produce all the power a home would need.

Is this system limited to using lenses?

No, it can also use the heat from solar water heating panels to preheat the water and therefore generate power.

What type of power does this system produce?

Electrical power and hot water.  Since hot water production consumes about 30% of the energy used in a home, this means that the waste heat from this system is a useful product.

How efficient is this system compared to solar photovoltaic panels?

Photovoltaic panels usually produce about 15% electrical power from the sunlight they receive.  Our system is targeted at 60% through the use of a steam turbine and heat recovery.

How efficient are solar water heating panels?

A well-designed heat collector panel can achieve about 50% efficiency in transferring the sun’s heat into your hot water system.

Will this system freeze when the temperatures drop?

No, the working fluid will not freeze.

What do we do when we have no Sun for a few days?

The system is designed to have a storage system for power.  Some users will also plug into the electrical grid and simply sell power back when they generate it, then use standard electrical power during the times when they don’t have Sun.

Can this system handle other power sources?

The system is being designed to be compatible with other power generation methods such as wind or even backup generators.

What sort of power storage does the system have?

The first versions will use deep cycle batteries for storing power, and later versions will use the new superbatteries or even flywheel energy storage.  As the technology changes, the system can easily be upgraded to handle those advances.

What if I need more power that your system provides?

The system is designed to be modular so that more energy collection units can be added to meet your needs.

Does this system track the Sun?

Yes.  The lens arrays follow the Sun through the course of the day to maximize the amount of power gathered.

What if the lenses are not on target- can this concentrated sunlight create a fire hazard?

No.  The design of the system means that the sunlight spreads out past the collection points So it is no hotter than normal sunlight.

How hot can the concentrated sunlight get?

At the most concentrated, the temperatures can easily exceed 3,000 F.

Isn’t high pressure steam too dangerous to use in the home?

Steam was used for home heating for decades in radiators.  We eliminate the need for a boiler by using a compact flash converter so the volume of steam in the system is very small at any given time.  Also, check valves and relief valves allow the system to relieve pressure automatically.

This is just SUPER COOL.

I’m also especially impressed with their philosophy:


Freewill Power is the for-profit technology marketing and distribution comp
any, organized as an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) under Lifeseed International Trust, (LIT), which is a non profit Trust.  As a non-profit Trust, LIT is the vehicle through which individuals can participate through donations, loans or donor advised investments to support our technology and projects.  Education, consulting, and product development occur in LIT, and it is the arm that holds the intellectual property for any technology developed, in Trust for the benefit of humanity.  The bylaws of the Trust prohibit any intellectual property from being sold to a 3rd party for any reason, thereby protecting both the technology and the inventions. [emphasis added] [


“The energy in sunlight striking the earth for 40 minutes is equivalent to the global energy consumption for a year.”

Scientific American, January 2008.

My first thought was that I won’t know what to do with all that power!

I’ve gone without generator (they all died) for 4 weeks.

It didn’t take long to come up with uses for extra power aside from having the freezer functioning as such and have ice cream again.

I had already considered keeping my planned greenhouse addition warm with buried pipes.  I once saw a fantastic page on how someone in Idaho did that and kept his greenhouse from freezing.

So if I can get a thermal generator, I could actually not only heat water for pipes in the ground (too bad I got a slab in the living area), but I could have a bunch of heated trays and beds for growing food all winter.

Well, first thing’s first, have to build the greenhouse addition  AFTER I finish my lean-to, get the water heater out of the kitchen (formerly garage) into the lean-to, run new propane lines, fix the leaks, do the plumbing ….

With that thermal generator, I could also heat my future hot spring in the greenhouse.  As it’s getting cool at night, I imagine soaking in my chlorine free artificial hot spring.  Use the water for the plants instead of adding chemicals.

Oh, and an electric car. I had a used electric car about 15 years ago when I lived in the Bay Area.  Unfortunately, I lived on top of a hill and that didn’t work out so well and I had to return it.   Now I’m also on top of a hill, but it’s not nearly as long, I could run an extension cord down to the road.

There’s no shortage of uses for power.

After a long break, MANY updates to post

I’ve been very busy building and trying to earn a living and I also made the fatal mistake of installing Movable Type for blogging software.  MT is so horrible, I paid about $150 for software and support and finally abandoned it.  The MT arrogance and extraordinary unfair business practices left me in no mood to blog here.

My main blog runs on the commercial Expression Engine software and that’s a huge headache too.  Originally, back in 2004, they targeted END USERS, but the software is now geared towards developers.  They forgot to mention this to their customers.

Fortunately, I had to update my business site and finally worked myself up to installing the FREE WordPress blogging software.  It ROCKS!

I can’t understand how it can be free and so easy to install and use.  Unlimited themes!  Support as good as anywhere else and FREE.  Next time I have a few dollars to spare, I’ll send a donation.

I also tried the WordPress hosted blogs first, but I prefer to have my sites on MY server and have full control over anything.  Not to mention that it’s cheaper.

Installing the blog and getting it set up was the easy part.  Since I had two different blogs here and I don’t like to spend frustrating hours figuring out how to export/import posts, I decided to simply copy/paste the postings and change the publish date to the original post date.

I’m almost done with posting the old entries here and I found it very interesting to see what I’ve looked at 2 years ago and how much my plans and goals changed.  I’d still like many of those cool items I looked at, like shutters and big wooden gates, but I know that I won’t be ordering.  DYI is my new concept.

My nephew visited for 2 months in 2007 and 2008 to help build and now I’m on my own.  I turned 50 a couple months ago and I just hope I’ll live long enough to finish this place and to maybe even enjoy living here.

I learned to so much in the last 2 years, really wish I didn’t have to start all over in my next life.