Briefly Noted … Solar PV– BP Solar will provide PV panels to low-income housing projects in Colombia, using a US$11 million fund that is financed by oil royalties. The company is working with Compartel to develop rural telephone lines to 2,000 towns. BP Solar’s goal is to achieve sales of US$1 billion by 2007. Annual growth rates in Latin America are 25 percent, compared with 60 percent in Europe. Five percent of the company’s sales come from Latin America. – Public facilities in South Korea will be required by law to use alternative energy sources starting next year. They have been encouraged but not obliged to use power from low polluting sources, but the decision to enforce the policy will help the country meet GHG emissions reduction targets set by the Kyoto protocol. Oil prices and supply were also a consideration. – Whistler Inc. has acquired American Energy Power Systems of Nevada, a company that sells and installs renewable energy systems. AEPS has a large residential community in Capay, California, which will use PV and solar DHW panels, and which will add fuel cells next year. – Schott Applied Power, a U.S. PV systems provider, has opened new headquarters in Rocklin, California. The location near Sacramento is a hub for the solar business. – The city of Changzhou in Jiangsu, China, will invest heavily to speed development of its solar power product industry in the next five years, including a Changzhou Solar Power Industry Park and a state-level solar power research institute. – UniSource Energy has sold its investment in international power generating facilities in Curacao and will use the US$10 million pre-tax return to bolster its other companies, including Advanced Energy Technologies that develops renewable energy technologies, and Tucson Electric Power, Arizona’s second-largest investor-owned electric utility. – The Union of Concerned Scientists welcomes the release of the proposed Renewable Portfolio Standard in Massachusetts, which will increase environmental and security benefits from renewables, as well as save money for consumers by providing a hedge against price spikes in natural gas, oil and electricity prices. In the worst case, the regulations would increase electricity bills by less than 25 cents per month in 2003 and $1 a month by 2009. The group has concerns about whether the enforcement mechanisms are sufficiently strong, as well as concerns over what kinds of facilities are eligible.