Briefly Noted … Worldwide Renewable Energy News– PECO Energy will give grants of US$8,000 to homeowners and companies that install solar PV systems. The utility will use its Energy Sustainable Development Fund, which is a staggered payment to encourage owners and installers to monitor system performance and to ensure the system is performing well. – BP will open an environmentally friendly service station in Hornchurch, Essex (England) this month. All energy required at the new BP Connect store will be met by renewables, with half the electricity generated by solar panels and three wind turbines; the balance will be purchased through London Electricity’s Green Tariff, which starts this month. The BP station will use energy conservation and water purification measures, including redirecting excess heat from the refrigeration system to an underfloor heating system. – Solar charging stations for barangays on Samal Island will be commissioned as part of National Energy Week in the Philippines. A memorandum will be signed for the electrification of barangays in Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato provinces. – One hundred solar-powered call boxes will be installed along Highway 50 through the California Sierra mountains, at one mile intervals, by Sacramento area governments, the state Highway Patrol and El Dorado County. Despite a boom in cellular phones, the Highway Patrol says it receives 3,000 calls a month from 1,400 solar-powered call boxes in the state, asking for roadside assistance or reporting hazards. – The German solar firm, SAG Solar Electricity AG, has joined with California’s PowerLight in a joint venture to market the Powerguard® system in Europe. SAG installed the first 184 kW pilot plant in November, using the insulated PV roof tile system on the roof of the Swiss company ProRheno in Basel. The PV interlocking tiles are easily installed on new buildings or retrofits, and the insulating properties reduce heating and cooling costs. – Solar Energy Systems of Australia will have its Sun Mill solar water pumps distributed by the national chain of Hugall & Hoile’s outlets, after the Australian Northern Territory Government announced a rebate of 50 percent that applies to off-grid solar pumps. The rebate is expected to be attractive to farmers, indigenous communities and mining operations. – The California firm of Natural Strategies will partner with BP Solar to look for cost efficiencies in the economic downturn. The alliance will offer solar energy products to put ‘green business innovation’ into strategic business planning. Many companies have solid sustainability initiatives, but officials say the current economy offers an opportunity to look at the potential of solar energy for cost savings and energy price stability.