Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Low Tech Clean Tech

Not all the excitement concerning clean energy systems has to do with pushing the efficiency of solar panels, or finding the best way to produce biofuels. Some are actually pretty low tech.
Here in the Pacific Northwest of the US, we are blessed with an abundance of hydropower. The Columbia River in fact is no longer a "river" in the traditional sense of the word, but rather a series of lakes backed up behind dams.

Hydro dams cause big problems for migrating salmon. They block the fish from getting upstream to spawn, and the slack water behind the dams means that the fingerlings spend an inordinate amount of time and energy getting out to the sea. But there is at least one aspect of these operations that is being addressed.

Going through the huge turbines on the way downstream is often deadly for salmon. Well, they don't actually get chopped up the way you might think. The blades actually turn more slowly than that. But they do experience disorienting turbulence and horrifyingly steep pressure gradients. And they do get killed.

Turbulence and pressure gradients cause those smolts that survive the passage to spin out the dam in a very vulnerable state, a situation that a growing menagerie of animals - sea lions, arctic terns, etc. - have become aware of. But the salmon may be getting some help, and the dams can be made less harmful than they are.

The US Army Corps of Engineers, who own and manage the dams on the Columbia River, and the Bonneville Power Administration, which sells the power from the dams, are paying a Pennsylvania firm to design and build a turbine with smoother interior passageways to cut down on salmon fatalities. An aging turbine at the Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River would be the first to be replaced.

This isn't exactly rocket science, but it's close. High performance aircraft have the same problem with turbulence around their blades as the turbines in the dams do. In the case of the aircraft, the turbulence leads to inefficiency and higher operating costs. But the tools that are being used to re-vision the powerhouse blades for the salmon are the same tools used to model high performance aircraft propeller and turbine fan blades.

The larger problem has been that the turbines are so expensive to replace, that the Corps generally waits until a turbine is "on its last legs" before buying a new one. So perhaps, with the turbines in the dams on Northwest rivers reaching the end of their service lives, we'll finally see an opportunity to do the right thing along with the necessary thing.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Energy Efficiency and Human Behavior

I wrote in a previous post Climate Denial and Extreme CSR about the human behavior issues surrounding the psychological acceptance of climate change. Engineers involved ni energy efficiency don't like to admit it, but there's a human behavior element to energy efficiency as well. In fact, there was just a hole conference on the subject organized by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, not exactly a flaky bastion of mushy thought.

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance sent Karen Horkitz, director of NEEA's evaluation and partner services, and recently published an interview with her. I'll excerpt some of it here.
  • " ... The first important take-away for the energy efficiency community is that behavior change is a key component in the majority of, if not all, energy efficiency initiatives. The industry is counting on behavior change to capture as much as half of the target future energy efficiency gain. We can ignore it, but if we do we are limiting how much potential savings we can realize."
  • "Another take-away is that there are strong behavioral barriers that discourage people from taking action related to energy consumption and climate change. One speaker described climate change as a "perfect storm for doing nothing". That's because, from a decision-making perspective, climate change has many characteristics that typically lead human beings to make poor decisions-the potential negative impacts seem far in the future, we don't have any concrete examples of consequences, and taking action requires changes that are inconvenient for us. Behavioral economics research, however, offers techniques to influence behavior in predictable and quantifiable ways."
  • "That leads into the third thing I'd like to mention: that behavior change is a social science with a fairly robust body of research behind it. I think a lot of people in the energy efficiency field have this idea that behavior change is just a squishy concept-where the actions taken to change behavior are vague and the impacts unmeasurable. But we actually do know quite a bit about how to affect predictable and quantifiable behavior change. Mass marketers have known about and applied effective behavioral science techniques for decades, and we also know quite a bit about how to effect behavior change in commercial and industrial settings."
  • "It's not just a question of the environmental impacts of climate change. Businesses, industry and government all face tremendous financial and security risks associated with climate change. In addition, energy efficiency offers industry a way to improve production efficiency, and offers the commercial and industrial sectors a source of competitive advantage. The financial community has even begun to recognize that companies who are effectively addressing sustainability issues also tend to have more effective overall business management and results.

  • The conference featured numerous presentations that illustrated various approaches to behavior change. Some trends include:
    1. Programs that focus on energy consumption feedback to the end user.
    2. Competition-based programs.
    3. Community-based programs.
    4. Strategic energy management.
    5. Media campaigns and social media.
    6. Research techniques.

    7. ACEEE has made a complete library of presentations from the conference available.

      New legislation to Amend Recovery Act & Restrict Overseas Products

      Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jon Tester (D-MT) requested that stimulus spending on a renewable energy program is discontinued until restrictions are implemented ensuring that the grantees of federal funding for these projects utilize domestic construction materials and products. The senators have cited the fact that nearly 80 percent of $2.1 billion in wind energy U.S. Recovery Act grants were approved for foreign-owned companies. Much of the recent consternation is over a $1.5 billion Texas wind power project that according to Sen. Schumer would create 3,000 green jobs in China but only 300 in the U.S.

      This group of senators requested a moratorium on the distribution of section 1603 grant funding and awarding of any further grants until an amendment to the stimulus package is approved by the legislative process. Section 1603 of the Recovery Act allocates 30 percent cash grants for energy property in lieu of federal tax credits. Furthermore, they have authored new legislation entitled the American Renewable Energy Jobs Act, which would amend the Recovery Act and require that stimulus funds be only authorized for clean energy projects that incorporate materials manufactured in the U.S. and/or create a majority of jobs in the country. This is nothing new as “Buy American” legislation intended to benefit the U.S. economy and employment through the use of U.S. government funds has been part of many policies for decades including many infrastructure elements of the stimulus bill but has been impinged upon as the country outsources more of its manufacturing.

      The American Renewable Energy Jobs Act proposes to expand the “Buy American” provision to include restrictions on all U.S. trading partners, and to extend the provision to private enterprises. The Department of Energy, which oversees the clean energy stimulus program, stated that suspending the clean energy grants program would require immediate layoffs at U.S. manufacturing plants due to the stoppage of work on major contracts.

      What’s more, China is one of the leading global producers of solar panels; many of the power generation projects funded by the stimulus have subsidized the installation of overseas solar products. This is the trade-off for the carbon emissions reductions benefit until the U.S. bolsters its clean energy manufacturing market share, as it is attempting to do by offering more tax credits to companies. Thus, now that health care reform is essentially complete from a legislative perspective, the U.S. has the opportunity to enact comprehensive energy reform to lessen the likelihood of these conflicts from happening in the future.

      The development of a clean energy economy is a vague term since it has not been clearly defined whether it means simply the generation and consumption of clean energy power, clean energy manufacturing or both. The Recovery Act was quite good-natured in its intention of funding a fledging alternative energy industry, where many companies struggled to obtain R&D support and competed on an unlevel playing field on the demand side, based on minimal government support from past administrations. However, due to the lack of a sufficient clean technology corporate infrastructure, it was inevitable that much of the funding would aid overseas companies, some of which whom do not even have facilities in the U.S.

      Thursday, March 18, 2010

      A Nominal Egg

      The story goes that a recent arrival in New England (in the Northeast United States) met a neighbor who warned her that heating her home that winter was going to cost "a nominal egg." Tickled that she had learned a local expression, she told her Boston-born husband at dinner that evening. He told her that it was not a local expression, that people everywhere used it. She said that she had never herself heard it before. He replied that surely someone somewhere had told her that something had cost "an arm and a leg!"

      Meanwhile over on's Daily Score, Eric de Place posted an interesting piece on electricity prices. He plotted electricity consumption vs. electricity price for the 50 states (less Hawaii, but plus Washington, D.C.). Lo and behold, even given all the generalizations inherent in such a plot, the higher cost correlated with lower consumption. De Place's conclusion was that to encourage energy conservation, we should raise electricity prices. This sparked a lot of discussion ranging from the efficacy of tiered rates to the need to avoid a regressive rate structure that weighs more heavily on lower income citizens than higher income ones.

      The upshot for me was a little different.

      Here's the conundrum I see: Higher energy prices encourage conservation. But energy conservation serves only to keep electricity prices where they are. For example, here in the US Pacific Northwest, excess power generated by our dams is sold to California consumers. Basically, the energy we save is just placed on the open market. Those not doing the conserving get cheaper energy (because there is more supply), and to the extent we can get California consumers to purchase our excess electricity, our electric rates get subsidized and are arguably unjustifiably low.

      My thinking is that we need to take the electricity conserved and translate that into other resources. For example, we save XXX mwh region wide over a month. We convert that to how much "water-through-the-dams" was saved, and spill that water in a way that benefits salmon instead. That way it's a sort of cap-and-trade for electricity. We are actually generating less electricity and investing more in our other resources over time. The cost of electricity rises, especially outside the region, because the excess created by conservation is actually removed from the market. The 'savings' get invested in others of our resources in our region.

      I know there are probably a thousand things to work through to put such a system in place. But it is this fundamental dynamic that will start the positive feedback cycle on energy conservation. So long as our 'conserved' electricity is simply made available for others to use, the price will not go up, and serious energy efficiency, not the energy itself, will appear to cost the 'nominal egg.'

      Monday, March 15, 2010

      What Solar Oversuppliers Could Learn from LED Market

      Global supply of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is facing a shortage in 2010, according to several leading market analyst firms. As more and more companies support the solar supply chain, which has an overabundance of panel inventory currently, it is surprising that more companies have not turned their attention to overlapping synergistic products and services that support the LED supply chain. What’s more, high-brightness LEDs (HB-LEDs) feed into energy-efficient solid state lighting, which has an analogous carbon emissions reductions benefit of solar and is eligible for green energy incentive programs. In addition, companies who receive green stimulus or other government funding for SSL are able to offset their net R&D cost, which also supports consumer electronics, where there is an emerging shortage of LED backlighting devices.

      Total consumption of LEDs reached 63 billion units in 2009, up from 57 billion in 2008. According to iSuppli market analysts, overall LED consumption was just above the industry’s total capacity of 75 billion units, indicating that many LED manufacturers were operating at nearly 100 percent capacity levels. The shortage predicted in 2010 applies to LEDs used for the backlighting of large-screen LCD-TVs due to their appealing thin design attributes and stellar picture quality. In comparison to notebook computers, which typically use 50 LEDs, or monitors, which require approximately 100 LEDs, LCD-TVs consume 300 to 500 LEDs per panel; thus a shortage would impact these products the most, especially in terms of cost. Furthermore, LEDs have deeply penetrated markets including: cell phones, portable navigation devices, digital photo frames, digital cameras and keypads.

      On the green energy front, LED solutions are being increasingly adopted in the general illumination market but primarily for commercial and industrial lighting applications, which ultimately lower a building’s energy cost and carbon footprint. However, there are only two primary equipment-makers that support this overall supply chain, Aixtron of Germany and Veeco Instruments of the U.S., which are planning to double their production capacity by the fourth quarter of 2010 compared to the end of 2009. Interestingly enough, their tools are capable of supporting the growth of thin-films used both in the solar and LED industries allowing them to shift emphasis, depending on demand. In addition, there are significantly less HB-LED producers globally compared to solar panel manufacturers, whom have been dealing with a glut of oversupply and declining module prices. However, a domestic LED chip producer, Cree, based in
      Durham, NC, has been enjoying record profits and stock price valuations in recent months.

      According to Navigant Consulting, 2009 started with approximately 1.6-gigawatts (GW) of solar inventory and 7.2GW of technology was shipped to the first point of sale. Approximately 6.6GW were installed globally in 2009, which leaves 2.2GW of photovoltaic cells and modules likely sitting in inventory in 2010. This inventory will likely continue to grow based on the fact there are about 400 solar panel manufacturers across the world. Even though the solar industry benefited from record low module prices in recent years, leading to increasing installation figures globally, an increasing oversupply would be alarming, especially once prices stabilize, which may lessen demand.

      As the LED industry seeks to meet a possible shortage, the solar industry has been facing sliming profits and the stalling of clean energy legislation globally, as selling prices shift closer to operating costs. It is surprising that more corporations have not diversified their product portfolio by shifting into the LED market.

      Tuesday, March 9, 2010

      Clams and Red Herrings

      I wrote earlier about why we find it so easy to deny what our emissions are doing to the planet. Climate Denial and Extreme CSR. But I just found another reason - red herrings. Read this brief report from Liz Gross of Living On Earth (a site that I otherwise much respect).

      "Laughing gas can make a dental patient happy as a clam. But scientists were not so happy to find clams belching out this powerful greenhouse gas. A recent study by Danish and German biologists analyzed digestion in a number of aquatic bottom feeders, including mollusks and insect larvae. The belly gas of these invertebrates contained levels of laughing gas - or nitrous oxide - that surprised the scientists. Nitrous oxide is the fourth largest contributor to global warming. Pound for pound, this gas traps 310 times as much heat as carbon dioxide. While burning fossil fuels is the most common source of nitrous oxide emissions, worms living in nitrogen-rich soil also release the gas. The recent study though was the first to measure the emissions from animals living in rivers, streams and oceans.

      But the researchers found it's not the clams themselves that release the gas - it's their lunch. These animals feed on sediment full of nitrogen-hungry bacteria. And thanks to runoff from fields treated with chemical fertilizer, there are plenty of nitrates out there. Usually, the bacteria don't break down these nitrates. But in environments with no oxygen, like the belly of a clam or a snail, they do - releasing laughing gas in the process.

      With demand for nitrogen fertilizer increasing, and global greenhouse gas emissions going up, nitrous oxide in mollusk burps is no laughing matter. That's this week's note on emerging science." So why bring this clam thing up? Why link clams to greenhouse gas production? Is this to absolve us of our own nitrous production? (See my post on the Tangled Web of Carbon Emissions for a sense of how great that problem is, and the surprising single industry that produces most of it.) Clams have been producing nitrous for eons. Should we include exterminating clams as part of our response to climate change?

      Well, first of all, nitrous oxide produced by clams is part of the current cycling of materials in the ecosphere. It is not like hauling up fossil carbon from the depths and spraying it into the atmosphere. Not only can we NOT stop what clams are doing, but it would probably be destructive to do so. Also, burning fossil fuels is not the most common source.

      "Well," Liz might say to me, "I never advocated the extermination of clams." That is certainly true. And yet that is the laughable, unspoken, and absurdist conclusion to a piece such as this. We all want to laugh, so we all conclude it. And in the process we trivialize emissions and climate change.

      This is a small thing, but climate skeptics LOVE reading these kinds of articles, articles that point out the "natural course' that the Earth is taking, articles that let us laugh at a trivialized catastrophe. We all need a sense of humor here, but really. It's hard enough forcing change through the political system without these kinds of postings. Let's be judicious in our presentation of topics.

      Wednesday, March 3, 2010

      Solar PV Materials Growth Amidst Module Price Declines

      The solar photovoltaic (PV) industry will likely be affected by steep price declines again in 2010, although prices are expected to fall at a more moderate rate than in 2009, according to a leading industry analyst firm, iSuppli. This firm forecasts overall demand to increase sharply, but this depends on the German feed-in tariff subsidy that is guaranteed for only half of this year, which impacts nearly 50 percent of the current global market. Price declines for PV solar panels will likely be fueled by the emergence of more hefty competitors in the field of nearly 400 already such as: Samsung, LG Electronics, Bechtel and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., among others, whom are developing or expanding solar operations.

      Many solar companies were gearing up in early 2009 for potential global greenhouse gas emissions reductions treaties and American renewable energy mandates for utilities, which never materialized. iSuppli analysts have announced recently that global installed watts for PV systems will grow by 64 percent in 2010, reaching 8.3GW; thus matching 2008 growth levels before the recession and bank credit crisis took its toll. Nonetheless, they have made a reasonable assertion that the industry will see a continuation of the significant price declines that carried through 2009.

      However, even though the market for PV chemicals and materials declined slightly to about $2.44B in 2009, it is expected to grow 27 percent to $3.1B in 2010, according to Linx Consulting. This firm has published a recent report entitled “Chemicals & Materials for Photovoltaic Cells and Modules 2010,” which forecasts this market to reach $14B by 2015, lowering their April 2009 estimate by $1B, likely due to the lack of binding national clean energy and carbon capping regulations in the U.S and abroad. Linx has based their upstream supply chain growth figures on end-user demand for solar power, which they predict will increase from 5.8GW currently to 38GW by 2015. The PV supplier branch of the supply chain is less affected by module price declines than PV manufacturers and enjoys less overall competition.

      PV solar cells are comprised of several main categories including: crystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, tandem-junction, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide cells and modules. Key technology areas for improving cell performance are centered around texturization, chemical cleaning, metallization, selective emitters, backsheets, frontsheets, and encapsulants. The Linx market research report focuses on all of the above issues, as well as perspectives on the levelized cost of energy as a function of module performance, including geographic adjustments such as local incentives and solar irradiance factors.

      One particular company positioned to capitalize well on the solar PV materials boom is DuPont. This company has recently added to its investment in a $120M capacity expansion, announced in August 2009, for raw materials processing related to these cells, bringing the total commitment of these two phases to $295M. A primary driving force for this expansion is to deploy its industry-leading Tedlar films that serve as a critical component of solar PV backsheets, providing long-term durability and performance for solar PV modules in all-weather conditions. The manufacturing steps for Tedlar-oriented solar PV backsheet films include producing vinyl fluoride monomer, which is converted into polyvinyl fluoride polymer resins prior to extrusion into the Tedlar film. DuPont’s solar PV backsheet film line expansion will be located at their Circleville, Ohio, facility using existing and retrofitted assets; production is slated to begin in September 2011.

      This expansion supports Tedlar-oriented film capacity for global demand of over 10GW of solar PV module production. DuPont expects that overall sales of its family of products into the solar PV industry will exceed $1B by 2012 based on their internal analysis of solar PV market growth over the next several years, which would accelerate demand, in particular, for Tedlar and other new materials that have increased the lifetime and efficiency of solar cells and modules previously.

      Declining solar PV module prices over the last couple years and reports for continued behavior have not generated much consolidation in the solar module manufacturing arena; thus, PV solar materials providers have the opportunity to serve this market to meet increasing installation demands. Companies such as DuPont, as well as leading process equipment providers, with competitive advantages for certain critical products, will be in a good position to capitalize on this trend.

      Opening the Bloom Box

      There's been a lot of news this week about Bloom Energy's just released Bloom Box. They've been working on it for 8 years, and have VC investment of $400 million. Colin Powell sits on their Board, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California, attended the introduction ceremony.

      The Bloom Box has been spoken of at times as producing cheap power while having no emissions and requiring no fossil fuels. The Bloom Box is a standalone unit, although it can connect to the grid the way your PV array does, and can be built in custom sizes to power individual homes or corporate campuses.

      So this week was the unveiling, and inside the box was ... (drum roll please) ... a fuel cell.

      Okay, it may be a more efficient fuel cell than ever before built. It may have some proprietary catalyst painted onto its ceramic plates. And it may have more flexible tastes in fuels than other fuel cells. But the upshot is that it's a fuel cell, not a power source.

      You can look at fuel cells as either batteries that consume fuel, or tremendously efficient, low emission generators that don't get very hot. Either way, you're looking at a way to release energy that was actually generated in some other manner, or transported from somewhere else. They are not like solar panels and wind turbines that actually MAKE power from the sun and the wind respectively. Fuel cells combust fuel, i.e. things that have easily liberated hydrogen atoms in them - natural gas, propane, biogas, hydrogen gas. But there has to be a predescesor process to put that hydrogen atom in that place, to make that fuel - fossil fuel formation, biodigestion, hydrolysis. So, who is accounting for that energy? Who is accounting for those emissions?

      More efficient fuel cells have a role to play in the clean energy world for sure. (Less expensive fuel cells have an even greater role to play, but I'm not sure Bloom has gotten there.) But they are not a messiah technology that's somehow going to save us all. So why all the hoopla?

      The word I get is that the firms that have installed Bloom Boxes - Google, Wal-Mart, Fedex - have pushed Bloom to come out with the announcement so that they themselves can polish their green credentials. The competition for customers, and even more for employees, requires that these firms green their operations up as much as possible. And unless and until Bloom itself makes an announcement, those firms could not tout their Bloom Box installations. So perhaps here is an interface with CSR.

      If the need for green credentials drives firms to adopt marginally improved technologies at relatively great expense, is that really a good thing for us all?

      Tuesday, March 2, 2010

      Clean Energy Debate Hurdles facing U.S. & its States

      In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States recently overturned campaign finance laws. This encourages more direct spending by corporations, unions and other special interest groups. The Supreme Court ruling removes restrictions for federal campaign financing from these special interest groups and gives them the same rights to freedom of speech as citizens. According to a Needham & Co. estimate, $2.8 billion will be spent on issue-oriented influence or lobbying in the U.S. this year.

      Although this may be a boom for corporations, marketers and media agencies, the decision will tilt the balance of power in formulating new legislation. The results of massive spending and its impact on the health care debate have been obvious. The Washington Post reported that corporations spent an average $1.4 million per day to stall the President's health care legislation, which is still being dragged out in Congressional events such as today’s Health Care Caucus. Constant stalemates supported by wealthy incumbent corporations in power over the status quo will lessen the possibility for change on many issues across the board including climate change and the development of a clean energy economy.

      Public debates have already been confused by misinformation on health care and other major issues, and the political culture will be even more distorted by corporate spending in the future. Under the new ruling, facts will be lost to an even higher degree through a plethora of false television advertisements and lobbyist events to protect future profits and market share. Therefore,
      with unlimited spending on major policy issues, misinformation campaigns by Big Oil, Big Coal and other special interests will be even more aggressive, potentially brainwashing the public who may have initially favored clean energy and carbon emissions reduction policies.

      In the case of renewable energy development, the Recovery Act has been an obvious boost; however, stimulus funding is essentially a temporary lift to an industry that requires substantial long-term legislative support to overcome the even more powerful entrenched fossil fuel industry. The reports that the joint DOE/Treasury grants in lieu of tax credit program implemented last year under the Recovery Act may end too soon to benefit some planned solar plants. In many cases, construction must be started this year in order to benefit from the program, which is a stiff challenge for solar projects that have been delayed due to permitting issues for large-scale capital projects and transmission, especially for ones on federal land. The solar industry has asked Congress to extend the deadline to begin construction beyond 2010, but an extension may not be forthcoming.

      Part of the current problem for renewable energy deployment in the U.S. is lack of national renewable portfolio standard (RPS), as in many other countries, requiring Congressional approval, especially one linked to a greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade system. Global companies and outside investors cannot be expected to keep up with emerging policies for 50 different states without any national standard, where one state has a mandate or simply a goal of 15 percent renewable energy by 2015 and its neighboring state has a higher percentage, including differing energy sources, or no requirement at all. The lack of a consistent national RPS policy complicates investment and deployment strategies and lessens the overall visibility of an eventual market opportunity.

      Furthermore, without a national RPS there will be imbalanced market and overall less growth in the renewable energy sector, since many states will not have a major incentive to match surrounding states or the ability to overcome wealthy fossil fuel lobbyist organizations. However, if a national RPS or cap-and-trade system is ever enacted, the states which fell behind the curve and never progressed in building a clean energy infrastructure and accompanying power grid system or smart grid, will lack the know-how and have a mountain to climb, as their utilities may be forced to purchase specific renewable energy at a premium from out-of-state power providers, driving up the cost for all energy users. What’s more, states without state RPS mandates will lose out on the synergistic spillover effect that clean energy deployment has, which is the attraction of the supply chain (jobs) to the customer base, as in the case of solar manufacturing operations opening up in California- a state with the most aggressive state RPS in the country.

      Arizona has a mandate requiring 15 percent of its energy to be generated from renewables by 2025, which is moderate compared to about 29 other states with requirements. However, its House Committee voted 5-2 to overturn the state's renewable energy mandate this week. The bill that came out of committee, House Bill 2701, will be presented to the full House and is designed to strip regulators of their authority to impose renewable energy mandates; thus, potentially letting the status quo to remain intact where nearly half of its power is derived from coal. The bill lumps nuclear power in with renewable resources and prohibits any utility from being forced to buy "alternative" energy. The National Renewable Energy Lab has conducted numerous studies showing that Arizona has the highest solar availability (potential) in the country, making the sun ones its valuable resources, including the tourism and snow bird benefit, similar to the abundance of oil in Texas.

      After Arizona finally was able to attract a major solar manufacturer to the Phoenix area for the first time in its history, after passing related incentive legislation, and its governor, Jan Brewer, touted the state as the next “solar capital of the world,” solar energy giant SunTech Power Holdings, based in China, is now reconsidering its plan to build its plant in Goodyear, AZ if the bill is passed, according to the Phoenix Business Journal. And that could be how the cookie crumbles, as the state and the country as a whole, drowns in debt and economic woes without being able to see the promise of future economic growth.