Galapagos Island receives US$155,000 to install PV systems; Uruguay electric utility to purchase 1,000 PV systems for rural areas; BP Solar wins US$10 million contract to supply PV systems for eleven states of Brazil; Jordan wants proposals to develop a 100 to 150 MW solar hybrid power plant; Kobe Steel to supply Misawa Homes with residential solar battery modules.– Galapagos Island will receive US$155,000 to install PV systems. The funds are part of a $30 million program from Ecuadorian development bank, Fondo de Solidariedad, to extend transmission lines to rural areas and to develop 65 generation facilities. – Uruguay’s state electric utility UTE will issue a tender to obtain 1,000 solar energy systems for rural areas. The cost of the PV units will be shared by UTE, the World Bank and end users. Investments in rural electric power are US$4 million and UTE wants to spread the solar supply to 6,000 rural homes over the next three years. – BP Solar has won a US$10 million contract to supply solar energy systems for eleven states of Brazil. Prodeem (Programa de Desenvolvimento Energetico de Estados e Municipios) will install PV systems in 1,852 public schools in rural communities. – The Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources in Jordan is inviting proposals to develop a 100 to 150 MW solar hybrid power plant using solar energy and an oil or gas fired boller at Quwairah area. The solar system can use parabolic trough technology or solar tower technology. Closing date for proposals is January 15. – Kobe Steel of Japan will supply Misawa Homes with residential solar battery modules, and will invest 1 billion yen to build a production line with annual capacity of 10 MW. Kobe will incorporate the batteries into PV modules imported from RWE Solar of Germany. The residential market in Japan accounts for 80 percent of demand for solar batteries, and Kobe wants to boost annual sales to 3 billion yen next year, from 500 million yen last year. The PV market reached 100 billion yen in Japan last year, with 120,000 kW of power, and the government wants to boost that level to 4.8 million kW by 2010. – The price for solar modules for residential rooftops in Japan has been reduced by increasing sales competition and conversion efficiency, according to the country’s industrial newspaper Nikkei Sangyo. The average price for PV modules in Japan is 510,000 yen (US$4,250) per kilowatt, which has dropped by 10 percent per year over the past three years. Average total system cost is 2 million yen after a 360,000 yen subsidy. The New Energy Foundation says total subsidies in 2001 may be 23.5 billion yen, up 32 percent from 2000. – A 20 mile railway between Phoenix and Tempe / Mesa (Arizona) could be powered by solar energy. The Renewable Energy Leadership Group in Scottsdale has been hired by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to determine whether solar is a viable option for lighting, cooling and signaling systems. Construction of the light-rail project will start in 2003 and be operating by late 2006, at an estimated cost of US$43 million per mile of track. – The Privatization Council in Yugoslavia recently asked for partners that were interested in working with a solar collector manufacturer in Podgorica. – To charge cellular telephone batteries, Aurora Solar has developed a small solar charger that is housed in a waterproof plastic box and can charge a 500 MAHr battery in two hours. Weighing 3 ounces and priced at US$30, the charger is available for Nokia and StarTAC phones, with other models coming. – ICP Global Technologies has released a 350 g solar charger, ‘iSun,’ for use with cellular telephones, MP3 players, PDAs, laptops and other electronic devices. The unit has a 12 volt cigarette lighter socket, 7 input plugs and suction cups to mount on windows.