Worldwide News Briefs and Information on Renewable Energy– The International Finance Corporation has extended a loan of US$2.2 million to Shell Renewable India Ltd under its Photovoltaic Market Transformation Initiative, to finance working capital requirements and expansion of its network of dedicated Solar Centres. A grant of $300,000 will be used to train and equip rural sales agents and technicians in techniques of selling, installing and servicing solar home systems. – SolarWorld AG and its subsidiary, Deutsche Solar GmbH, have reported substantial sales increases in the latest quarter. SolarWorld says sales increased from DM 21.4 million to 44.9 million, or 110 percent, in the first nine months of this year compared with last. Deutsche Solar sold 78.6 million, an increase of 47.5 percent over 2000. – A solar project will replace diesel generators in Punta Patino nature reserve, Panama’s largest nature reserve located in Darien province. The project is supported by Central America’s renewable energy body Focer, Panama’s conservation agency Ancon, and Germany’s Panama embassy. The project will serve as a model to be implemented in other protected areas. – Xantrex Technology and AstroPower are providing a complete solar electric power system that will be used to power production equipment for filming and editing ‘This Renewable House.’ Produced by PBS, this new television program will bring renewable energy directly to mainstream consumer markets. In addition to production equipment, PV will power administrative offices, and hybrid electric vehicles will transport production staff. – The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has named ‘SolarWise(R) for Schools’ as one of the country’s best programs addressing renewable energy. SolarWise for Schools is an educational outreach program sponsored by the WPS Community Foundation, and was recognized by NREL because of the 5,400 utility customers who make voluntary contributions to support the program. – The French government will increase the cost for solar energy by the national utility, EDF, according to reports in Le Monde. The cost for each kilowatt-hour of solar power in Corsica and in French overseas territories will rise to Ffr 2, with prices in mainland France rising to Ffr 1. – Siemens Solar Industries has received a 2001 Washington State Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention & Sustainable Practices. The company’s crystal growing facility is located in Vancouver, Washington. In partnership with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Siemens Solar has reduced power consumption and argon use, reduced scrap silicon and quartz, increased productivity by 15 percent and saved US$2 million so far this year. – The solar industry in Turkey met last month at a PV workshop on the Sarigerme coast of the Mediteranean, to produce a roadmap for PV development in the country. The preliminary National PV Strategy should be ready soon. – Energy Conversion Devices reports a 69 percent improvement in earnings for its latest fiscal year. It had a loss of US$5.1 million, compared with a loss of $16.7 million in 2000. Revenues increased 138 percent to $71.4 million. The company is involved in using photovoltaics to break up water for fuel cell hydrogen. – SunTechnics, a subsidiary of Conergy, has installed a 44 kW roof-top PV system in a re-insurance company in Munich, Germany. The region receives annual solar insolation of 1,150 kWh. – The European Union Directive to promote electricity from renewable resources will be examined at the Eyeforenergy Green Convention 2001, to be held November 5 in Brussels. Luc Werring (EU’s Directorate General for Energy & Transport) will deliver the opening address. European regulations to double the share of green power to 22.1 percent by 2010 could be in force by the end of the year, which would drive investment and promotional initiatives in renewable energy. – Although the Australian energy sector will continue to rely on oil and coal for more than 50 percent of its energy, the use of natural gas and renewable energies will become more prevalent, according to a new report by the Australian Bureau of Agriculture & Resource Economics (ABARE). Until 2020, the intensity of energy consumption will decline by 1.4 per cent a year, which represents a significant energy savings. – A conference on strategies in solar electric building attracted builders, PV manufacturers and participants from the financial and utility communities to San Mateo to hear presentations by 22 speakers and to examine residential and commercial solar electric building installations around the world.