22 Dec 2011:
The Top Ten Trends
In Clean Technology for 2011
The Web site, earth2tech, has named the top clean-tech trends of the year, with the plummeting cost of solar panels topping the list
, followed by India’s emergence as a renewable energy powerhouse. Earth2tech reports that the price of solar panels dropped 40 percent in 2011, in large part because Chinese manufacturers flooded the market with low-cost solar panels. That should help spur the installation of more solar panels on rooftops, and also means that some solar power developers are foregoing large solar-thermal power projects in favor of residential solar. Other top trends include a sharp slowdown in initial public offerings (IPOs) for clean-tech companies, with the exception of biofuel companies, which offered some IPOs. The Web site said that sales of electric vehicles were slow, and that battery technology for EVs continued to be a drag on development and sales of electric cars. Earth2tech noted that this year marked the intense politicization of clean energy and green jobs, as exemplified by the scandal over the bankruptcy of U.S. solar manufacturer Solyndra. Finally, investors and start-ups were becoming increasingly interested in the “cleanweb” — mobile device and Web applications to manage energy use and other resources.
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Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s unspoiled coral reefs. View the gallery.
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The Warriors of Qiugang
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A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.