clean energy competition

Who? How? When? Is Solar ever going to be really affordable?

Recently I checked out how much it would cost me to put solar on my house. To my surprise, it was much more than I wanted to spend, especially since I’m not convinced that I really want to stay there for more than five more years. The economics of it just didn't add up. I had question like: Who would pay for the remaining balance if I decided to sell the house before the solar units were paid for?  Would the house actually meet an appraisal value that would include the cost of solar in the sales price? 

Unfortunately, the financing options for me weren't exactly attractive and leasing didn't appeal to me either.  Lucky for me and you, the Department of Energy (DOE) has just launched a new competition that could solve my problem.

The DOE has developed the SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national initiative to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.  The first step in this aggressive endeavor focuses on removing municipal barriers such as permitting and structural engineering cost (which SJVCEO is a named partner with Optony, Inc.under The Solar Roadmap). 
Now, the DOE is going one step further by launching the SunShot prize competition, a very unique competition. This competition is working to install solar energy systems at a fraction of today’s price. The SunShot Initiative is reducing the installed cost of solar energy systems by about 75% and will drive widespread, large-scale adoption of this renewable energy technology while restoring U.S. leadership in the global clean energy race.


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Mr. Eco seeks to launch spring school tour

Mr. Eco, a Cal Poly student from Fresno, Calif. trying to raise green awareness, is going on a middle/elementary school tour this spring and is looking for a little financial assistance.

His tour is to span five school districts with the potential of reaching "THOUSANDS of kids with a potential of over 20 school visits this Spring," he says.

"Some schools say that they are willing to pay for my performances, but I would like to complete this tour with no cost to the schools," Mr. Eco says.

His project has been posted on, a funding platform made especially for creative projects.

Those who pledge can receive items such as a signed copy of the parody album, "Get Green Or Die Trying," Mr. Eco reusable bags, Mr. Eco shirts, a DVD of Mr. Eco's videos, items from his original costume, "a personal rap made just for you" or even a performance at the site of the donor's choosing.

"I think what Mr. Eco is doing is brilliant - making all this environment awareness fun and educational," says Shannon Bryan-Ruggiero at Creston Elementary School in San Luis Obispo County, in a testimonial supplied by Mr. Eco. "In a time of a LOT of unhealthy influences on kids (and people as a whole for that matter in the media, etc) his message, his humor, his info, the whole thing, is so positive and so needed in today's world, and especially for today's youth."

For more on Mr. Eco, go to

Video: Behind the Scenes of "You Can't Find Me in the Tub."

Clean energy competition offers 200k top prize

A national competition is offering a prize of $200,000 to the student entrepreneurs who can come up with a winning clean energy business plan.

The First Look West, or FLoW, contest invites student teams to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy’s first-ever business plan competition for clean energy.

In addition to the prize money, organizers say, FLoW offers mentoring programs, legal start-up packages and the opportunity for students to pitch the idea to investors.

Students must attend accredited universities and submit an application by Feb. 15, 2012. The competition -- one of six awarded regionally as part of a three-year, $2 million DOE program -- focuses on California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, Idaho, Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa. Top teams proceed to final judging, which will be held at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena on April 30 and May 1, 2012.

Panels of experts will select a winning team from each region to compete for a National Grand Prize at a competition in Washington, D.C. in June 2012.

Organizers say the goal is to "shine a spotlight on the best young innovators in the country and attract the follow-on support the competitors will need to bring game-changing new ideas to the market quickly."

For more information and to apply, go to