Sopogy receives Patriot Award from Department of Defense

November 17, 2010

Honolulu, Hawaii – November 17, 2010 – Sopogy®, Inc., a leader in micro concentrated solar power (MicroCSP®) technology, announced that it has received the Patriot Award presented by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense organization.

During a ceremony with employees, Sopogy was recognized for their support to military reserve employees in recognition of extraordinary support and commitment to its employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve.

“We are honored to receive this recognition,” said Darren Kimura, President and CEO of Sopogy. “It is truly a privilege to support our military employees and we are especially proud to count them among our associates. We salute each member of the National Guard and Reserve for their courage, respect and loyalty in serving our country.”

Sopogy Receives the Patriot Award

About Sopogy
Sopogy, Inc. engages in the development, design, manufacturing and marketing of MicroCSP technologies – a comprehensive, low temperature, low cost approach to solar thermal. MicroCSP technology brings the economics of large Concentrating Solar Power systems to the industrial, commercial and utility sectors in a more manageable, durable and faster to deploy kit. The technology is designed for the 2-50MW power class, 100-1,000 ton solar thermal air conditioning size and unlimited quantities of industrial process heat. Sopogy’s two megawatt solar thermal field has been operational in Kona, Hawaii, U.S.A. since March 2009 and demonstrates the effectiveness and reliability of MicroCSP with Sopogy’s proprietary thermal energy storage solution. Sopogy’s award winning SopoNova solar collector was named New Product of the Year by the National Society of Professional Engineers and received Plant Engineering Product of the Year. The company was founded in 2002 and is based in Honolulu, HI, U.S.A. Please visit www.sopogy.org for more information.

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Media Contact
Sopogy, Inc.
Dy Phung
dphung@sopogy.org
808-237-2422

Hawaii’s largest Concentrating Solar Power project using Sopogy MicroCSP technology announces groundbreaking

October 27, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Honolulu, Hawaii – October 27, 2010 – Sopogy, Inc., a leader in micro concentrating solar power (MicroCSP™) technology, will supply its proprietary solar thermal collectors for a five-megawatt MicroCSP plant, which broke ground today on Kalaeloa, Oahu– marking the largest CSP project for Hawaii.

The Kalaeloa Solar One project is a partnership between the State of Hawaii, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and Keahole Solar Power (KSP) for land in Kalaeloa to establish a home base for the clean energy project. The State of Hawaii has also recently announced a Feed-In Tariff to enable renewable energy projects.

According to the chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Kaulana Park, the ground blessing marks a tremendous step forward in implementing the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative to source 70% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030. The project will supply clean energy for Hawaii as well as provide DHHL with rent monies which will in turn be used to build homes and fund educational programs for native Hawaiians.

“I’m excited about the future and know this is just the first of many more projects here in Hawaii,” said Governor Linda Lingle. “Five megawatts is a significant amount into our grid system and I look forward to it coming online and showing that Hawaii is in fact a renewable energy leader in the region and in the world. We know the things we learn and achieve can be used all over the world to allow others to achieve that same kind of energy security and independence, especially other island communities, island nations and island states.”

Kalaeloa will become a model for achievement to surrounding communities and the islands of Hawaii. Adopted in March 2006, the Kalaeloa Master Plan includes allotment of three million square footage of light industrial, commercial, retail and office space – set to create an estimated 7,000 jobs and approximately 6,350 residential units – with opportunities for high-tech and alternative energy development.

“Sopogy developed a fast and simple template solution which meets our internal rate of return goals,” said Edward Lui, member of the board of directors at KSP. “The MicroCSP package includes the concentrating solar collectors and thermal storage which is not only delivered quickly, but also assembled on-site at a very cost-effective price.”

Key advantages of MicroCSP technology include high efficiencies, low cost and robust applications which can be highly effective on buildings or ground installations to provide electricity, heat and cooling. The storage and backup capabilities of CSP plants offer significant benefits for the grid by providing a buffer for short-term variations such as during cloudy conditions or at night.

“Another key benefit is Sopogy’s manufacturing process and use of conventional materials,” says Darren T. Kimura President and CEO of Sopogy. “Not only can our modules be produced locally, but our collectors can also be manufactured anywhere in the world. The technology is designed to be manufactured in a piece fashion, flat packed at the factory in a container and transported or shipped directly to the project site.”

Sopogy’s MicroCSP system uses solar thermal technology consisting of parallel rows of proprietary parabolic mirror collectors, optics and an integrated tracker to concentrate the sun’s energy on a centrally-located receiver tube and re-circulate heat transfer fluid within the system. By producing thermal energy, the generated heat will then be used in conjunction with a power block engine to provide a renewable source of power.

About Sopogy
Sopogy, Inc. engages in the development, design, manufacturing and marketing of MicroCSP technologies – a comprehensive, low temperature, low cost approach to solar thermal. MicroCSP brings the economics of large Concentrating Solar Power systems to the industrial, commercial and utility sectors in a more manageable, durable and faster to deploy kit. Sopogy’s technologies are designed for the 2-50MW power class, 100-1,000 ton solar thermal air conditioning size and unlimited quantities of industrial process heat. The company’s two megawatt solar thermal field has been operational in Kona, Hawaii, U.S.A. since March 2009. It demonstrates the effectiveness and reliability of MicroCSP with Sopogy’s proprietary thermal energy storage solution. Sopogy’s award winning SopoNova solar collector was named New Product of the Year by the National Society of Professional Engineers and received Plant Engineering Product of the Year. The company was founded in 2002 and is based in Honolulu, HI, U.S.A. Please visit www.sopogy.org for more information.  Sopogy MicroCSP – the Technology behind Energy.

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Media Contact
Sopogy, Inc.
Dy Phung
dphung@sopogy.org
808-237-2422

Sopogy MicroCSP solar technologies to power Hawaii’s largest Concentrating Solar Power plant

October 12, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Honolulu, HI – October 12, 2010 – Sopogy, Inc., a leader in MicroCSP™ solar power technology development, manufacturing and installation, will supply its proprietary micro-scaled concentrated solar thermal collectors to the Keahole Solar Power (KSP) five-megawatt plant in Kalaeloa located on Oahu’s Leeward Coast.

The project, named “Kalaeloa Solar One”, is a partnership between the State of Hawaii’s Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and KSP Development, which represents a major milestone in Hawaii’s goal of sourcing 70% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030.

“We are pleased to have been selected as the solar technology supplier for a project of this magnitude,” said Van Matsushige, Sopogy’s Vice President of Sales. “We look forward to working with the project team to support Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative goals.”

Concentrating solar power (CSP) is a unique approach to solar power generation. The CSP technology uses mirrored reflectors and optics to intensify solar energy, which raises the system’s energy efficiency. The solar panels track the sun throughout the day, increasing the amount of kilowatt hours the system produces annually.

“Sopogy developed a fast and simple template solution which meets our goals,” said Edward Lui, member of the board of directors at KSP. “The MicroCSP package includes the concentrating solar collectors and thermal storage which is not only delivered quickly, but also assembled on-site at a very cost-effective price.”

Unlike solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies, CSP has an inherent capacity to store heat energy for periods of time for later conversion to electricity. When combined with thermal storage capacity, CSP can produce electricity even during cloudy or night conditions – providing reliable electricity that can be dispatched to the grid when needed.

About Sopogy
Sopogy developed the concept of the MicroCSP™ solar system which brings the economics of large Concentrating Solar Power systems to the industrial, commercial and utility sectors in a smaller, robust and more cost effective package. Sopogy’s technologies are deployed in 1-50MW power solutions, up to 1,000 tons of solar thermal air conditioning and limitless amounts of industrial process heat. Please visit www.sopogy.org for more information.  Sopogy MicroCSP – Technology behind Energy™.

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Media Contact
Sopogy, Inc.
Dy Phung
dphung@sopogy.org
+1 808 237 2422

Sopogy and Masdar partner to provide solar cooling solution

October 4, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Abu Dhabi, UAE –October 4, 2010 – Sopogy, Inc, a leader in micro-concentrated solar power (MicroCSP™) technology development, manufacturing and installation, is providing a solar thermal collector system for a proprietary air conditioning system at Masdar City, the emerging low-carbon cleantech cluster being constructed on the outskirts of the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.

Masdar selected Sopogy’s proprietary MicroCSP solar collector technology to produce thermal energy to drive a 50-refrigeration-ton double-effect absorption chiller – a technology widely used in many parts of the world for cooling from waste heat sources.

Sopogy and Masdar solar cooling

Sopogy and Masdar solar cooling

“Sopogy’s SopoCool™ MicroCSP installation at Masdar continues to demonstrate our ability to provide affordable, innovative solar solutions worldwide. We’re extremely proud to be part of the solution in helping Masdar City become one of the world’s cleanest energy cities,” said Darren Kimura, Sopogy President and CEO.

Sopogy’s technology features its award-winning flagship SopoNova™ MicroCSP solar collector which uses mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy on a receiver tube and heats the re-circulated heat transfer fluid within the system. Masdar will use the generated heat in conjunction with the absorption chiller to provide a renewable source of cooling for the air conditioning system of an office block at Masdar City’s site office.

“Masdar is committed to working with industry-leading technology partners such as Sopogy to help us develop the next generation of sustainable solutions that can help to address the challenges posed by our demanding sustainability goals,” said Simon Bräuniger, project manager for Masdar’s pilot plants.

Masdar means “the source” in Arabic and reflects the company’s determination to find new and creative ways to access energy at more fundamental and sustainable levels than fossil fuels – in the sun, the wind and the tides, among others. The company also seeks to extend the UAE’s leadership in the energy sector.

About Sopogy
Sopogy developed the concept of the MicroCSP™ solar system which brings the economics of large Concentrating Solar Power systems to the industrial, commercial and utility sectors in a smaller, robust and more cost effective package. Sopogy’s goal is to deploy 1-50MW power solutions, 10-1,000 tons of solar air conditioning and limitless amounts of industrial process heat. Please visit www.sopogy.org for more information.  Sopogy MicroCSP – Technology behind Energy™

About Masdar
Masdar is Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted initiative advancing the development, commercialization and deployment of renewable and alternative energy technologies and solutions. The company serves as a link between today’s fossil fuel economy and the energy economy of the future – developing the “greenprint” for how we will live and work tomorrow. Backed by the stability and reputation of the Mubadala Development Company, an investment vehicle of the government of Abu Dhabi, Masdar is dedicated to the emirate’s long-term vision for the future of energy.

About Masdar City:
Masdar City is a clean-technology cluster located in a sustainable city. This special economic zone in Abu Dhabi seeks to become a global center for innovation, research, product development and light manufacturing in the fields of renewable energy and sustainable technologies. Leading multinational companies in the cleantech sector, as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurial start-ups will locate R&D labs, marketing offices and headquarters in the city. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will base its headquarters in the city, while GE will build its first Ecomagination Center at Masdar City.

For more information about the Masdar Initiative, please visit: www.masdar.ae

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Media Contact
Sopogy, Inc.
Dy Phung
Email: dphung@sopogy.org
Phone: +1 808 237 2422

Solar Thermal Magazine: Sopogy system to power a Multi-Building Health Clinic in Flordia

October 2, 2010

Solar Thermal Magazine - Sopogy MicroCSP

Micro Scaled Concentrated Solar Power units , Clean Energy to Power a Multi-building Health Clinic

By: Tracey A. Smith

Sopogy, Inc., manufacturer of the proprietary micro-scaled concentrating solar power (MicroCSP) system, is demonstrating its SopoNova™ solar panels at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The project developed by STG International (previously known as Solar Turbine Group) is designed to be a model for cost effective, stand alone solar power solutions for health clinics in Africa. The MicroCSP system generates thermal energy by reflecting the sun’s energy from mirrors into a receiver tube, heating a transfer fluid to create steam. The steam spins a turbine which drives a generator and produces electricity. The system also includes thermal energy storage that allows power to be produced during cloudy periods.

Sopogy’s solar collectors feature a proprietary frame and storm protection, keeping the system safe during weather events that could include flying debris from hurricane strength winds. All components are also enclosed in an aerodynamic, rust-resistant housing which makes Sopogy’s collectors suitable for use in climates ranging from deserts to tropical environments.

“A particularly important breakthrough has been Sopogy’s development of smaller scale parabolic trough collectors that can be built at a lower cost, using commonly available manufacturing facilities and conventional materials,” says Tal Ziv, VP of Operations at Sopogy. “Not only can our modules be produced locally, but our collectors can also be manufactured anywhere in the world.”

The system is a hybrid electricity and hot water system. It will provide three kilowatts of electricity, enough to power a multi-building health clinic that treats between 50 and 100 patients per day in Lesotho, as well as produce up to 300 liters of hot water for staff and clinician use.

Other project collaborators include Krinner Ground Screws, the Florida Green Builders Coalition and Water Oak Development Group.

“This project exemplifies the efforts of organizations committed to environmental sustainability,” said Darren T. Kimura, CEO of Sopogy. “Sopogy is proud to focus on the triple bottom line using our technology to create local jobs, generating green energy, while staying focused on our business,” he adds.

Sopogy’s MicroCSP technologies are being deployed around the world including United States, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Hawaii. The unique scalability and modularity of MicroCSP make it ideal for distributed generation applications such as electricity, process heating and solar air-conditioning.

Sopogy has engineering partners throughout the globe, who are certified to help develop and construct solar plants in their specific regions.

About Sopogy

Sopogy specializes in MicroCSP™ solar technologies that bring the economics of large solar energy systems to the industrial, commercial and utility sectors in a smaller, robust and more cost effective package. Sopogy’s goal is to create solar solutions that improve the quality of life and simplify the solar power business. Sopogy MicroCSP – Technology behind Energy™

Please visit www.sopogy.org for more information.

About STG International

Previously operating as the Solar Turbine Group, STG International is a non-profit organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts whose mission is to provide technical, financial and intellectual support, assistance, and training to projects and organizations focused on bringing sustainable energy technologies to communities across the developing world.

Please visit www.sopogy.org or www.stginternational.org  for more information.

Sopogy awarded funding for innovative solar thermal air conditioning project

September 30, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sopogy awarded funding for innovative solar thermal air conditioning project

Honolulu, Hawaii – September 30, 2010 – Sopogy, Inc., a leading micro concentrated solar power (MicroCSP™) technology developer, today announced that it has been awarded funding from the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture (HREDV) to integrate an innovative double-effect solar thermal air conditioning system at the Maui Ocean Center.

According to HREDV, the award was following a competitive selection process in which the winning companies showed how their technologies could be game changers in Hawaii and demonstrated strong technical and management expertise to execute the projects, manage federal funds and commercialize these innovations.

In the project, Sopogy will provide its proprietary parabolic trough solar collectors to produce thermal energy for a 20-ton double effect absorption chiller.  The system will significantly reduce the aquarium’s electricity consumption.

“The award by HREDV positively validates the benefits of MicroCSP technology as our high efficiencies, low cost and robust applications are helping bring energy solutions to new markets,” said Darren T. Kimura, President and CEO of Sopogy. 

Sopogy’s MicroCSP system consists of parallel rows of proprietary SopoNova™ parabolic mirror collectors, optics and an integrated tracker to concentrate the sun’s energy on a centrally-located receiver tube and re-circulate heat transfer fluid within the system. By producing thermal energy, the generated heat will then be used in conjunction with a double effect absorption chiller to provide a renewable source of cooling for the air conditioning system. 

The HREDV funding is made possible by the U.S. Department of Energy with appropriations secured at the request of Senator Daniel K. Inouye. 

About Sopogy

Sopogy developed the concept of the MicroCSP™ solar system which brings the economics of large Concentrating Solar Power systems to the industrial, commercial and utility sectors in a smaller, robust and more cost effective package. Sopogy’s goal is to deploy 1-50MW power solutions, 10-1,000 tons of solar air conditioning and limitless amounts of industrial process heat. Please visit www.sopogy.org for more information.

About HREDV

Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture was created in 2008 with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. HREDV is a project of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR), a Hawaii-based non-profit established in 1983 whose mission is to accelerate technology development in Hawaii and the Pacific Rim.  For more information about HREDV, please visit http://www.hawaiirenewable.com.  

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Media Contact
Sopogy, Inc.
Dy Phung
dphung@sopogy.org
808-237-2422

Sopogy announces the election of Patrick Oki to its Board of Directors

August 13, 2010

SOPOGY ANNOUNCES ELECTION OF PATRICK OKI TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Honolulu, HIAugust 13, 2010— Sopogy, Inc., the leader in MicroCSP™ solar technology development, manufacturing and installation, announced the election of leading accounting expert Patrick Oki to its Board of Directors.

Mr. Oki has over 17 years of experience in public accountancy and is the Managing Partner at PKF Pacific Hawaii LLP, formerly the Honolulu office of Grant Thornton LLP where he was an audit and advisory partner.  Previously he spent the majority of his career  at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

“We’ve worked with Pat for several years and found his broad yet balanced accounting skills and experiences to be truly unique” said Darren T. Kimura, Chairman, CEO and President of Sopogy, Inc. “We look forward to his contributions to our board and company.”    

Mr. Oki is also on the board of the Hawaii Society of CPAs, first vice president (president-elect) of the University of Hawaii Alumni Association, and the incoming president for the Association of Government Accountants – Hawaii Chapter.  He graduated from the University of Hawaii, Shidler College of Business Administration and is a Certified Public Accountant in Hawaii, Certified Fraud Examiner and Certified in Financial Forensics. 

About Sopogy

Sopogy specializes in MicroCSP™ solar technologies that bring the economics of large solar energy systems to the industrial, commercial and utility sectors in a smaller, robust and more cost effective package. Sopogy’s goal is to create solar solutions that improve the quality of life and simplify the solar power business.  Please visit www.sopogy.org for more information.

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Media Contact:

Dy Phung

Sopogy, Inc.

dphung@sopogy.org

808-237-2422

Greentech: Sopogy’s Small-Scale Concentrated Solar Power

August 2, 2010

Sopogy’s Small-Scale Concentrated Solar Power

Hot StartupSolar

Eric Wesoff : August 2, 2010

Smaller-scale CSP means lower temperatures—and it could mean lower-cost solar power.

Concentrated solar power (CSP) might conjure up images of massive solar collector installations in the California Mojave or North African desert with tens of thousands of mirrors or miles of parabolic troughs — along with a lot of annoyed tortoises, politicians and environmentalists.

Sopogy’s take on CSP is a bit different than that.

Smaller in size and operating at lower temperatures, the Sopogy design is CSP for the distribution grid or even the rooftop level.  Smaller scale means one to twenty megawatts versus big CSP at 100 megawatts-plus, and lower temperature means 500 degrees F versus 800 degrees F.  Those lower temperatures mean that the components can be a little more off-the-shelf and may reduce the need for expensive evacuated tubes and mirrors.

I spoke with Sopogy’s CEO, Darren Kimura, in his headquarters on Oahu.  Kimura founded the now 40-person firm in 2001 in Palo Alto, California and is a 19-year veteran of the energy industry, having already founded and sold an energy firm prior to his stint at Sopogy.  The firm was originally funded by Kimura but has since taken about $20 million from investors including Cargill’s VC arm, Black River Ventures, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and TWC.

Sopogy is a parabolic trough design but the difference, according to the CEO, is this: “We are focused on reducing the cost by reducing the temperature.”  He added, “The sweet spot is 5 megawatts to 20 megawatts.”

Large-scale CSP firms like BrightSource Energy are “dealing with significantly larger projects with steam at nuclear power plant temperatures.”  Sopogy’s steam temperatures are more along the line of what a company like Ormat or Calpine would be encountering at a geothermal power plant.

Also like a geothermal power plant, the system uses an organic rankine cycle (ORC), which Kimura describes as akin to an air conditioner running backwards.  The ORC enables a lower collector temperature, an improved efficiency and the possibility of reducing the size of the solar field.  An ORC system uses the temperature difference between two liquids.

The MicroCSP of Sopogy also has the benefit of a thermal storage option.  The storage fluid is a food-grade mineral oil stored in a container “like a big thermos.”  Additionally, the thermal inertia of the working fluid eliminates some of the intermittency faced by a photovoltaic panel installation.

In addition to Wholesale Distributed Generation (WDG), Kimura sees the the low-profile trough system potentially used on a flat roof in a city.  The steam can be used to spin a small turbine or for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), air conditioning, process heat or evaporative desalination.

The Sopogy system doesn’t need high DNI (Direct Normal Irradiance) as the BrightSource Energy system does, according to Kimura. BrightSource needs 7 plus DNI but Sopogy can work at 5 DNI.  That means Sopogy can and is installing systems in the Pacific Northwest, Idaho, the Middle East, Spain and Australia.

“We are competing against PV [and] we are cheaper than most PV,” according to the CEO.  Kimura said that the capex depends on the market and depends largely on the local labor costs since the system is built on-site.  The projects can be installed for as little as $3 per watt, but in general, the cost is $5 per watt with an LCOE of about 20 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“We have about 75 megawatts under contract and in the process of being deployed,” according to the CEO.

Other CSP players include Ausra (recently purchased by Areva), Abengoa (which is doing small scale CSP for air conditioning), BrightSource, eSolar, and SHEC.  Michael Kanellos has written about next-generation solar thermal and molten salt storage, while Brett Prior writes about the economics of CSP here.

Sopogy-CSP

Institute For Energy LCOE comparisons

Original Article at – http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/sopogys-small-concentrated-solar-power

Sopogy elects Dr. Rose Tseng to its Board of Directors

July 22, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (July 22, 2010)

Sopogy elects Dr. Rose Tseng to its Board of Directors

Honolulu, HIJuly 20, 2010— Sopogy, Inc., the leader in MicroCSP™ solar technology development, manufacturing and installation, announced that it has elected Rose Tseng, Ph.D. to its Board of Directors. Dr. Tseng is currently the Chancellor Emerita at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Since 1998, Dr. Tseng served as the Chancellor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo where she led the campus to a 50% increase in enrollment and 600% increase in grant funding.  She previously served as the Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of West Valley Mission College District between 1993-98, spent 6 years as the Dean of San Jose State University College of Applied Sciences and Arts and Professor and 17 years as Chair and Division Director at San Jose State University. 

Through her illustrious career, Dr. Tseng was recognized by the San Jose and Silicon Valley Business Journal as one of the Bay Area’s Top 50 Women in Management.  She was also honored as Statewide Role Model Woman of the Year from the California State Legislature and received a White House Commendation.  

 “In Silicon Valley, China and Hawaii, Dr. Tseng has earned a reputation to get things done.  We are looking forward to her guidance and experience as we continue to exponentially grow and expand” said Darren T. Kimura, Chairman, CEO and President of Sopogy, Inc.

Dr. Tseng studied architectural engineering and chemistry at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan and earned a BS in chemistry from Kansas State University and an MS and PhD at the University of California at Berkeley. She also holds a certificate in education management from Harvard University.  She was named an Honorary Professor by China Medical University and received an honorary degree from the International Technological University in Santa Clara and Gosai International University in Japan. 

 About Sopogy

Sopogy specializes in MicroCSP™ solar technologies that bring the economics of large solar energy systems to the industrial, commercial and utility sectors in a smaller, robust and more cost effective package. Sopogy’s goal is to create solar solutions that improve the quality of life and simplify the solar power business.  Please visit www.sopogy.org for more information.

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Media Contact:

Dy Phung
Sopogy, Inc.
dphung@sopogy.org
808-237-2422

Solve Climate: Solar Thermal Gears Up for a Comeback

July 20, 2010

Solar Thermal Gears Up for a Comeback

Low PV costs and a shaky economy have slowed the development of large-scale concentrating solar power plants, but CSP producers are

by Amy Westervelt – Jul 15th, 2010 in concentrating solar power,CSP,solar thermal,utilities

A few years ago, when a polysilicon shortage suddenly drove up the price of photovoltaic panels, solar thermal was all the rage.

Start-ups were emerging every week, introducing new super-concentrating mirror technologies, special reflective films and other innovations.

Companies began announcing plans for utility-scale solar thermal plants anywhere there was sun in the United States. Solar thermal, also called concentrating solar power (CSP), not only had a cost advantage over photovoltaics, it offered one thing PV never could: storage, and thus stability.

So where did all the solar thermal go?

While there have been a few highly publicized bouts between large-scale solar thermal proponents and conservation groups concerned about the land required to build such plants, the real issue comes down to simple economics. Back when there was private capital available to fund projects like giant solar plants in the desert, the technology was still new and relatively untested. Now, just as the technology has matured, private capital has dried up with the recession.

Federal stimulus money has provided some grants and loan guarantees, but by all accounts the government just can’t afford to be the only funder of large-scale solar thermal plants. Moreover, the silicon glut is long gone, and PV is now the better option for utilities looking to get renewable energy into their portfolios cheaply and quickly.

Elsewhere in the world, CSP is still the technology of choice for large-scale solar, according to Jayesh Goyal, North American sales director for French utility Areva, which recently acquired Silicon Valley solar thermal start-up Ausra Solar.

The key for the U.S. market is to bring down the cost of the equipment, its installation and its operation and maintenance.

“For awhile there was a lot of development down the path of very customized solutions—lots of complicated lenses and materials,” said Sumeet Jain, a principal with CMEA Capital, a longtime investor in solar technology. “That means more expense—and maybe higher performance—but definitely at a lot of expense.”

Now companies are leveraging more off-the-shelf components, Jain said. “Solar thermal projects, for example, might go with a standard boiler or opt for flat mirrors instead of custom, curved glass.”

Such choices make it easier to get financing, because companies are using tested, proven components, Jain added. It also makes it easier to partner with manufacturers to get better deals on parts and drive down the overall cost of a project.

A number of solar thermal companies are working on the cost problem, each finding new ways to make the economics more attractive to American utilities.

There are three primary CSP designs on the market today: solar towers, parabolic troughs and linear-Fresnel systems — and proponents of each have a rivalry similar to that between PV and thin film. Engineers can wax poetic for hours on the differences between the three, but the fact is that all CSP systems work in essentially the same way: Reflective surfaces with tracking systems are used to concentrate heat from the sun into a receiver filled with a heat-conducting fluid. It is then transferred to an engine that converts the heat to electricity.

In parabolic trough systems, each trough has its own receiver, while linear-Fresnel systems feature several rows of mirrors that point to a single receiver. In tower systems, thousands of tracking mirrors in a field capture and reflect sunlight to a central receiver atop a tower. Each technology has been touted as the most efficient, stable, cost-effective choice in the solar thermal repertoire. So far, linear-Fresnel — the technology used by Ausra Solar — has been dominating the market.

However, the parabolic trough team recently has made some advances in cost reductions. Colorado-based SkyFuel, for example, is set this year to commercialize its SkyTrough, a product the company estimates uses 30 percent fewer materials, 40 percent fewer parts and requires half the assembly time of the average solar thermal system. Those numbers are backed by a report on SkyTrough published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Honolulu-based Sopogy sells what it calls a MicroCSP parabolic trough system that allows for the affordable, quick installation of smaller solar-generating plants, in the 2MW range.

The company’s systems can be installed in half the time it takes to install other systems, according to Sopogy representatives, and don’t require electricians or specialized installers, which reduces installation costs by 60 to 80 percent.

Sopogy’s greatest innovation, however, may be its marketing strategy: All CSP systems can operate at lower temperatures to fulfill a variety of demands beyond simply generating power. Sopogy has targeted that broader market, selling its system as a device with many applications — from power generation to cooling to drying.

In its first installation, a 2MW thermal energy plant in Hawaii, Sopogy is generating power on the grid; the next phase will help power a small desalination plant. In a rooftop installation at Sempra Energy in San Diego, Sopogy’s system is running the building’s air conditioning system.

“They’re getting free air conditioning from the sun,” Darren Kimura, Sopogy’s founder, said at this week’s Intersolar Conference in San Francisco. “It’s solar-augmented cooling. That makes the building more energy efficient. In that instance, we don’t necessarily think of the system as solar technology. It’s an energy conservation technology.”

While individual companies are making incremental improvements to CSP technology, until the cost is lower than that of photovoltaics, utilities are likely to continue to embrace PV. To overcome the bias, secure customers and acquire project financing, Goyal says companies need to be ready to back performance claims with their balance sheets.

That’s something most start-ups can’t do, which is why many of them are partnering with larger industrial partners. According to Goyal, that was the case when Areva acquired Ausra; similar acquisitions are happening throughout the industry, most notably Siemens’ acquisition of Israeli CSP company Solel last year.

“You need to be able to offer utilities a credible performance guarantee. This is the reason that half the large-scale CSP projects announced have failed,” Goyal told Intersolar conference participants this week. “Because what is behind that guarantee? If you’re a start-up, and you guarantee the performance of your technology and it fails, you’ll just go out of business. That’s not a guarantee.”

To deal with utilities’ hesitation and price concerns, Goyal says Areva’s strategy of building so-called “booster” projects at existing plants—smaller CSP installations that take some of the load off an existing power plant—have been successful. The booster plants help reduce emissions and increase a utility’s comfort level with CSP.

Still, he said, utilities are never likely to choose CSP over PV simply because of the storage and stability advantages of the technology.

“At the end of the day, you have to be able to benchmark your offering against not only the lowest-cost solar offering, but the lowest-cost renewable. But, even though utilities have a preference for PV because it’s cheaper, smaller, and easy to deploy rapidly so they can meet their RPS [Renewable Portfolio Standard] requirements, they all say that if CSP can match the cost of PV, they have a preference for CSP.”

That holds true in Europe, where feed-in tariffs and government subsidies make the two comparable, and utilities show a heavy preference for CSP. Analysts and experts are confident that day will come in the United States as well. The U.S. Department of Energy has predicted a 13 percent growth in the CSP market over the next 20 years, and a total installed U.S. capacity of 20GW by 2020.

In other words, the sun isn’t ready to set on solar thermal.

See original story

Michael P. Loo named Chief Financial Officer at Sopogy, Inc.

July 7, 2010

Honolulu, HI—July 7, 2010—Sopogy, Inc., the leader in MicroCSP™ solar technology development, manufacturing and installation, announced the appointment of Michael P. Loo as its new Chief Financial Officer.

Loo comes to Sopogy with over 24 years of corporate financial management and public-accounting experience. Most recently, he served seven years as Vice President for Finance and Administration at Kamehameha Schools which has held the distinction as one of the largest charitable trusts in the US with an estimated portfolio of over $7 billion. Prior to Kamehameha Schools he served nine years as Vice President-Controller, Treasurer and Corporate Officer at Hawaiian Airlines (NASDAQ: HA) and seven years in the public accounting field as Senior Manager at KPMG, LLP.

Loo will be transitioning in for Tim Wong who has served as Sopogy’s CFO since 2007. Wong will become the Vice President of Administration overseeing Human Resources, Information Technology, Professional Services and Strategic Initiatives.

Speaking on the transitions, Darren T. Kimura, Chairman, CEO and President of Sopogy, Inc. said, “We are excited to have Michael Loo join our senior leadership team. His experience, focus and desire complement our ambitious goals.” Kimura added, “Tim Wong has been an exceptional CFO and over the years, demonstrated his robust business skills. I’m anxious to continue working with him as we focus on our strategic initiatives.”

“Having worked with Michael at KPMG, I am confident he will lead us forward as we grow exponentially and expand our international presence,” said Tim Wong.

“Sopogy has been a technology leader in the Concentrating Solar Power field and I’m looking forward to working with the team as we continue to bring the MicroCSP solution to the markets,” said Michael Loo.

About Sopogy
Sopogy specializes in MicroCSP™ solar technologies that bring the economics of large solar energy systems to the industrial, commercial and utility sectors in a smaller, robust and more cost effective package. Sopogy’s goal is to create solar solutions that improve the quality of life and simplify the solar power business. Please visit www.sopogy.org for more information.

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Media Contact:
Dy Phung
Sopogy, Inc.
dphung@sopogy.org
808-237-2422

Sopogy appoints Layne Yoshida, CPA as Corporate Controller

June 30, 2010

Honolulu, HI—June 30, 2010— Sopogy, Inc., a leader in small-scale concentrating solar power (MicroCSP) technology development, manufacturing, and installation, announced the appointment of Layne Yoshida as Corporate Controller reporting to the CFO. In this role, Yoshida will oversee accounting, reporting, compliance, controls, and tax-related matters for the Company.

“The rapid adoption of Sopogy’s MicroCSP technologies has led to fast growth of our company and we are anxiously looking forward to Layne’s contributions,” said Darren Kimura, President and CEO. “We are pleased to have a specialist of Layne’s caliber and expertise joining Sopogy at this critical time.”

Yoshida joins Sopogy from Central Pacific Financial Corp (NYSE: CPF) where he served as Vice President and Director of Accounting. As a certified public accountant, Yoshida brings 15 years of accounting experience including senior-level finance positions at Coherent Inc. and Ernst and Young LLP.

About Sopogy
Sopogy specializes in MicroCSP™ solar technologies that bring the economics of large solar energy fields to the industrial, commercial and utility sectors.  In the power market  MicroCSP™ technologies target the 1-50 Megawatt class. MicroCSP™ technologies are also used for solar absorption cooling, desalination and steam generation. Sopogy’s goal is to invent, commercialize and deploy cost effective and easy to install solar solutions to bring the solar energy everywhere. Please visit www.sopogy.org for more information.

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Media Contact:
Dy Phung
Sopogy, Inc.
dphung@sopogy.org
808-237-2422

CSP Today: CSP installations – Room to scale down?

June 29, 2010

25 June 2010

If Southwestern US states are to meet their renewable energy targets on time, energy experts are urging developers to ditch their fixation on large-scale CSP projects.

By Emma Clarke, UK correspondent

Banging a new drum on the scale of CSP, energy experts now say developers’ focus should be on deploying smaller solar plants on rooftops and on abandoned farms closer to urban centres. But can CSP tap into this interim market for distributed energy, or must it always be limited to utility-scale applications?

Progress of large CSP plants in the southwest US has been held back by long delays that are associated with transmission build-outs. Existing transmission lines are at full capacity, and new lines are hugely expensive, hugely controversial and can take a decade, even more, to complete, says Craig Lewis, founding principal of consultancy RightCycle and the FIT Coalition. “In many cases, the transmission won’t ever get built because it is so wildly opposed by the communities it crosses.”

Building large central station solar plants and transmission lines to remote desert locations also involves major environmental trade-offs in terms of water usage and impact on virgin desert, says Bill Powers, engineer and energy consultant.

On the other hand, wholesale distributed generation, or the 20MW-and-under, distribution-interconnected market segment is “cheaper, faster and avoids all of the environmental controversy,” says Powers. He points to Germany, which has installed between 2-4GW of distributed PV every year, “in conditions more akin to the Arctic from a California standpoint”.

In the future, utility-scale CSP plants will provide the backbone of renewable energy in southwest USA, with hundreds of gigawatts of solar power eventually being shipped to the far corners of the United States, says Lewis. But utilities must not get ahead of themselves and neglect a market segment that can come on scale in the near term.

Any room for CSP?

The technology that is expected to dominate the distributed generation market is photovoltaics (PV). Most agree that CSP will be left to niche applications.

“CSP’s strength is in economies of scale”, says Craig Turchi, from the CSP program at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). CSP only becomes cost competitive with PV once large amounts of energy are produced, or when large numbers of units are manufactured.

CSP developers can’t even save costs in the permitting process by going for smaller-scale developments, Turchi adds. “It is more difficult to get a permit for a large site, but the level of effort in terms of costs are comparable for small sites,” he says. “All these factors push CSP into larger facilities.”

Not all agree, however. Craig Lewis believes there will be “a tremendous amount of innovation” from the CSP community to scale down their technology in order to participate in the wholesale-distributed energy market.

The key, he says, will be innovations in technology that can go through smaller power blocks. The reason companies currently prefer large-scale projects, is because 70MW power blocks are available off-the-shelf.

“But once we achieve scale for lower capacity power blocks, the pricing will come down,” says Lewis. When this happens, CSP technology will be competitive at a smaller scale.

Innovation is already underway. Hawaii-based designer and manufacturer, Sopogy has developed a range of micro CSP solutions that use smaller parabolic trough panels and an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) system, which instead of using steam, uses the temperature difference between fluids in a closed loop to generate electricity.

“In the US we see our technologies being installed on heavy commercial, industrial and utility sectors and on rooftops or ground mounted,” says a Sopogy spokesperson.

Sopogy’s technology, which generates energy in the range of 1-50MW, has eleven solar thermal energy facilities worldwide in applications including process heat, solar air conditioning, roof top deployment and, more recently, power generation.

Parabolic trough manufacturer and solar developer, Albiasa Solar is also scaling down its CSP technology in order to target new markets. To achieve this it is using Ram Power’s Solar Thermal Integrated Cycle (STIC) technology that integrates both ORC and steam turbine technologies into a single power block.

The key benefit of this technology, says Jesse Tippett, managing director of Albiasa, is that it can operate at lower temperatures for both heating and cooling. This means it generates more energy overall so developers can achieve greater economies of scale in smaller plants. The lower temperatures also mean the system can be air cooled to save on water usage.

Albiasa are working with developer Pacific Light and Power on a 10MW CSP plant in Hawaii. Tippett sees further applications in southwest USA for projects in the 10-20MW range. On projects of this size, Tippett says costs can compete with PV electricity.

Another opportunity for CSP technology in the distributed market will be for heat process applications. “Solar thermal offers a cost-effective method compared to regular grid electricity to heat water. On the distributed energy side, you will see a lot more development around that,” says Tippett.

Abengoa Solar’s parabolic trough system, for example, is being used to deliver heating, cooling and humidity control of manufacturing facilities at a Steinway & Sons piano factory in New York, and hot water for a minimum-security federal prison outside Denver.

It is unlikely that CSP technology will lead the market for wholesale distributed generation. But if smaller-scale generation does take hold in the United States, innovation could secure it a stake.

To respond to this article, please write to:

Emma Clarke: emma.jane.clarke@gmail.com

Or write to the editor:

Rikki Stancich: rstancich@gmail.com

View original story – http://social.csptoday.com/industry-insight/csp-installations-room-scale-down

Waste not: Maximising the mileage on CSP Systems

June 25, 2010

Moving away from the Sun Belt locations with their near-perfect direct normal irradiance (DNI), CSP Today’s Andrew Williams explores the advantages of small-scale and modular CSP options for temperate regions.

By Andrew Williams, UK correspondent

Compensating for size, several technologies enable developers of smaller scale CSP systems to capture waste heat and convert it into a cost-effective source of electricity.

Several smaller-scale an modular CSP systems use an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) to recover heat from low-temperature sources.

A good example is UK-based Freepower’s ORC Turbine Generator, a closed-cycle electrical power-generation system driven by external heat sources.  It comprises a generator, directly coupled to a multi-stage turbine driven by high-pressure hot gas (the working fluid), which is heated up and vaporised by the waste heat source before driving the turbine.

Two US products also employ ORC technology.  Sopogy’s MicroCSP system is designed on a low temperature, low pressure scheme, whereas Trimodal’s LTPC engine is a positive displacement device capable of using heat sources as low as 180F / 82 degrees Celsius.

“A positive displacement device is far more efficient and therefore capable of producing mechanical energy at a much lower pressure,” says Marty Johnson, President of Trimodal Group.

France-based Heat2Power’s system does not use an ORC, instead using air as the working medium.  It sees this as an important advantage for CSP since it makes it possible to run in an open thermodynamic cycle, aspirating ambient air and exhausting hot air, thus eliminating dry or liquid cooling requirements and saving on cost and water consumption.

More versatile

Many current offerings are relatively small-scale, which can be an advantage in some situations.  For example, the Freepower system can be located at the point of energy consumption (say, alongside rooftop solar-collectors), removing the need for a grid and eliminating distribution costs.

Other systems, such as Heat2Power’s and Sopogy’s, are modular, opening up the possibility of building them up to utility-scale.  However, the ideal scale is likely to vary between applications.

“In the case of solar absorption cooling, the technology is ideally [suited] to rooftop-installations, [whereas] for process heat system sizes can be as small as several collectors to several hundred collectors.  In power generation, the technology is best suited to utility-scale ground-mounted applications,” says Darren Kimura, President & CEO of Sopogy.

Trimodal’s system differs because it is designed for commercial or utility-scale.  Their current unit is a 100kw system, sufficient to power about 60-80 ‘US-sized’ homes.  They have recently finished engineering a second 250kw unit and expect to rapidly scale-up to larger-sized 250kw, 500kw, 1MW, 2.5MW, and 5MW modules.

“The technology could potentially be scaled to volumes above 5MW, but we feel that it will be most efficient to construct and install in those sizes,” says Johnson.

Niche markets

Although initially slated for automotive applications, Heat2Power soon considered its concept for other uses and are now paying ‘strong attention’ to the CSP sector.

“It makes more sense to run a heat engine 12-15 hours per day on concentrated sunlight that it does for about an hour per day in a car”, says Managing Director, Randolph Toom.

“We see several target-markets.  But as the technology [is] small, it fills the gap between Stirling engines and steam/gas turbines. This gap will become more and more important in decentralized power-generation, and in countries where the grid is not yet available or in poor condition, it can become a life-changer”, he adds.

Sopogy’s focus is to expand into new and emerging solar power markets between 1-50mw and substantially reduce costs.  However, given the larger size of their system, Trimodal’s target CSP markets are primarily in large commercial and utility-scale solar-thermal projects.

Cost efficient

Is this the breakthrough technology that could drive down cooling costs and boost efficiency for utility-scale projects?  “Most definitely”, says Johnson, “we would be able to add capacity from their waste heat and have a big impact on cooling costs.”

However, size may not be the only important factor in driving down costs.  As Toom highlights, generators that run 24 hours a day are great for rapid returns on investment.

“In CSP applications, we see rooftops becoming more important because energy reflected by mirrors isn’t heating up the building, which in turn requires less cooling capacity.  In my opinion, factories, shopping malls and large office buildings in sunny countries should always be equipped with CSP”, he says.

However, does the emergence of waste heat capture technology undermine current views that the optimal size for CSP is upward of 100mw?  At this stage it’s difficult to tell, since the optimal sizing of projects depends on many factors, including grid-access and the availability of land and local water resources.

“I think that at the end of the day the question will not be ‘what is the optimal size of CSP?’ but rather ‘what size CSP do I want?’ Since the market in not yet mature, and neither are some CSP technologies, we will see the question coming back and being answered differently according to local conditions, politics, presence of a reliable grid, local cost of maintenance and so on,” says Toom.

To respond to this article, please write to:

Andrew Williams: TheGreenExpert@btinternet.com

Or write to the editor:

Rikki Stancich: rstancich@gmail.com

View original story – http://social.csptoday.com/industry-insight/waste-not-maximising-mileage-csp-systems

Sahara-based Solar Power Project Could Help Power Europe within 5 Years

June 24, 2010

Thursday, 24 June 2010

European project Desertec could power Europe within five years as solar technology in walls and curtains comes closer to being commercially viable.

The European energy commissioner recently announced that Europe could draw clean energy from solar panels constructed in the Saharan desert within five years, half the initial 10-year estimate. The series of solar projects in Northern Africa known as Desertec are funded with the help of the EU and some European companies, in the hope that the EU will meet its target of generating 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The latest statistics from Europe’s Energy Portal show that in 2006 the EU as a whole produced 9.2 percent of its energy from renewable sources, however the production of renewable energy and the target EU members hope to meet by 2020 varies from country to country. For example Malta, which produced 0 percent of its energy through renewable resources in 2006, aims to meet a target of 10 percent by 2020, while the Czech Republic which produced 6.5 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2006 aims to increase this to 13 percent by 2020.

Solar technology could also soon become practical on a smaller scale, being used in households in order to reduce individual carbon footprints and increase domestic reliance on renewable energy. Konarka technologies have been developing thin film photovoltaic for nine years and are currently in partnership with Arch Aluminum and Glass in an effort to produce solar technology that could be used in home fittings such as curtains or walls thereby reducing household reliance on fossil fuels. The cells under development can store and reuse light from lightbulbs as well as the sun and are made of recycled materials.

Other companies, such as Solar Technologies FZE, are also hoping to develop solar panels for use in private accommodation. Technology in small-scale architecture has been in development for several years and Hawaii-based company Sopogy released commercially available solar technology for rooftop installations in 2009.

www.desertec.org

http://sopogy.org

http://www.konarka.com

Source: The Independent

Technology Company’s Attorney Fights on Behalf of Alternative Energy

June 21, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Forty under 40 Class of 2010

Pacific Business News (Honolulu)

As general counsel, Pamela Ann Joe guides her venture-backed technology company through the many legal and financial issues that challenge the alternative-energy industry.

She also is a guiding force in the industry. She was a member of a legislative working group that developed alternative-energy initiatives for the state. And she represents the sole concentrating solar power stakeholder in an ongoing effort to develop guidelines for the state’s Feed-in-Tariff Renewable Energy Incentive Program.

Outside of work, Joe provides legal services to startup business and nonprofits either pro bono or at reduced cost. She also volunteers with the Hawaiian Humane Society, Aloha United Way and the Kam Society, a Chinese cultural organization.

At work, she encourages her co-workers to reduce their impact on the environment. One such initiative is “Fossil Fuel Free Fridays,” when employees are encouraged to find alternative means of traveling to and from work rather than using their cars.

Read more: Technology company’s attorney fights on behalf of alternative energy – Pacific Business News (Honolulu)

Pamela Joe Receives Forty Under 40 Award

June 21, 2010

Sopogy’s VP of Corporate Development and General Counsel is Honored as One of Hawaii’s Top Business Leaders

Honolulu, HI—June 18, 2010— Sopogy, Inc., a manufacturer of small-scale concentrating solar power (MicroCSP) systems, is proud to announce Pamela Joe, VP of Corporate Development and General Counsel, has been named a recipient of the Pacific Business News (PBN) Forty Under 40 awards for 2010.

The award recognizes Hawaii’s highly accomplished young leaders under the age of 40 based on professional success, community involvement and strong industry leadership. Pamela received the award at the Forty Under 40 awards ceremony on Thursday, June 17 at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Since joining Sopogy in 2008, Pamela has played an instrumental role in the growth of the company as it transitioned from a Hawaii research firm into a commercial company achieving global sales. She is responsible for overseeing policy, business and legal matters of the company and represents the concentrating solar power (CSP) industry in City and State policy matters where she has been key in developing Hawaii’s Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) Program for CSP.

“Pamela’s deep legal knowledge, hard work, and fresh perspectives have contributed tremendously to the company’s growth and success” said Darren Kimura, Sopogy’s President and CEO. “She is fully deserving of this honor.”

Outside of the office, Pamela is dedicated to community service and generously donates her time and talents to local organizations including Punahou School’s Enterpreneurs in Residence Program and Aloha United Way. She has also volunteered pro bono legal services to nonprofits.

Pamela holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford University and a J.D. with distinction in corporate and business law from UCLA.

About Sopogy
Sopogy specializes in MicroCSP™ solar technologies that bring the economics of large solar energy systems to the industrial, commercial and utility sectors in a smaller, robust and more cost effective package. Sopogy’s goal is to create solar solutions that improve the quality of life and simplify the solar power business. Please visit www.sopogy.org for more information.

Media Contact:
Dy Phung
Sopogy, Inc.
dphung@sopogy.org
808-237-2422

Beyond Zero Emissions of Australia talks MicroCSP with Darren Kimura CEO of Sopogy

June 4, 2010

Beyond Zero Emissions’ Mathew Wright and Scott Bilby speak to Darren Kimura, President and CEO of Sopogy, a leader in MicroCSP technologies, about the commercial availability and application of solar technologies. Applications including Direct Heat, Power generation with an organic rankine cycle and solar air-conditioning using absorption chiller a huge emerging market.

Inc. Magazine: Incubation Nation – Where Great Ideas Are Born – Sopogy of Hawai

May 26, 2010

Spun out of university research labs or started by local entrepreneurs trying to supercharge their hometowns, business incubators are everywhere. This map puts the spotlight on 20 initiatives.

Hawaii is leveraging its most abundant resources — sun and sea. The 45 tenants at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority are developing applications in aquaculture, renewable energy, and marine biotechnology. Who gets in:Innovative start-ups nationwide.Breakout company: Sopogy has raised nearly $20 million for development of its micro-solar panels.

Incubation Nation: Where Great Ideas Are Born - Kona, Hawaii

Incubation Nation: Where Great Ideas Are Born

Click map to see the original, interactive version

Source: Inc.

Concentrating Solar Power Projects Showed Growth in 2009

April 15, 2010

From: Power-Gen Worldwide

15 April 2010 — Three new concentrating solar power (CSP) facilities came online in the United States in 2009, the third year in the past four such facilities were added following 15 years of inactivity.

The 5 MWac Sierra SunTower from eSolar, the 2 MWac Holaniku trough from Sopogy and the 5 MWac Kimberlina linear Fresnel system from Areva Solar (formerly Ausra) came online during 2009. The Sierra SunTower is the first power tower operating in the U.S. in a decade and Holaniku is the first CSP facility to come online in Hawaii.

The 2009 CSP market summary was released April 15 by the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Also last year, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced two initiatives to speed the development of solar energy on public lands. First, four Renewable Energy Coordination Offices were established across the west (in California, Nevada, Wyoming and Arizona), along with renewable energy teams in five other offices. Second, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) identified 14 solar energy projects that were in position to qualify for stimulus-related funding, if permitted during 2010. BLM and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have focused their resources on getting these “fast-track” projects through the permitting process so they can commence construction by Dec.31, 2010.

The trade association said the United States now has 432 MW of operational CSP plants in commercial production (as of March 2010), making it the world leader in installed CSP. At least three additional CSP facilities are likely to come online in 2010: a 2 MWac Stirling dish installation in Phoenix, Ariz., a 4 MWth trough plant displacing coal-fired generation in Grand Junction, Colo. and the 75 MW Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center hybrid trough in Martin County, Fla.