September 30, 2011

Solar Sprouts on the Roof

Solar power equipment maker Stirling Energy Systems filed for bankruptcy only a few days after the highly publicized bankruptcy of Solyndra.  U.S. manufacturers are turning off the lights due to a glut of solar panels from Asia and soft global demand.

There is a bright spot in all this darkness.  The sharp decline in panel prices has spawned a new industry: renting out roof space to utility companies.  For example,  Edison International is expected to construct a solar grid on a warehouse roof the size of 30 football fields.  5,200 homes can be powered by this electrical grid.

The theory is that the proximity of  warehouses to populations will reduce delivery costs.

Solar power sure seems like it should have a role in our and the world’s alternative energy development.  The question remains whether the new technologies needed to drastically reduce solar costs will occur before breakthroughs in other alternative sources.  The race continues….  but the sun rises and sets every day.  What a waste of clean energy.

Wall St. Journal Sept 21, 2011


September 23, 2011

Lawmaker Seeks Solyndra Examiner

Wall St. Journal September 20, 2011

Seems like there is a new way of having a solar eclipse… have the government subsidize solar energy development.

The sun has set on Solyndra LLC, a solar panel maker that has collapsed in spite of a $535 million government guarantee.  There are now calls for the Attorney General  to appoint an examiner to look into the relationship between the company and the Department of Energy.  This usually happens when there is suspicion of fraud.

President Obama personally supported Soyndra’s development of solar energy — rather than solar development we got  solar meltdown.  Too bad we can’t harvest the energy that will be expended to ridicule this project.


September 17, 2011

NASA’s Aim for Rocket: Deep Space

Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  No… It’s NASA’s new rocket.

400 feet tall with a lift capacity of five times the space shuttle, NASA’s new rocket  will push space exploration deeper into the orbital sphere.  Only one problem-

The program will cost taxpayers $35 billion dollars!

I can hear the political ads on TV now:   Should we cut funding for Medicare or  money for  Captain Kirk’s Enterprise?

Research and Science may be getting the short end of the stick .


Wall St. Journal 9/15/11

September 5, 2011

Business and Astronomy: week 1

This is my first post and first time maintaining a blog.  I’m not sure if this is going to work, but I’ll give it a try…..

I read three newspapers (Wall St Journal, Washington Post and the Sunday NY Times). As a retired businessman, now taking an introductory astronomy class, I am paying  more attention to business articles relating to astronomy.

At the end of each week, I will post my favorite article with a summary and link to the appropriate newspaper.


Slow Liftoff for Space Tours

(Wall St. Journal 9/1/11)

Are you ready to take a trip to outer space?? You may have to wait a little longer than was originally thought.  Virgin Galactic, founded by Sir Richard Branson of airline fame, was originally planning to start private flights to space in 2008.   He has missed that target — I hope he has better aim when the rocket does launch.

It seems that many states and private companies began investing in personal space travel over five years ago; however, the poor economy and fractious political environment have dramatically changed the trajectory of these programs.

Space tourism sure sounds exotic and exciting, but if you were the Governor of New Mexico, how much money would you budget in 2012 to complete the $200+ million Spaceport America????

link to article: