Solar Highlights: SolarCity Corp (SCTY) & First Solar, Inc. (FSLR)’s Former Exec, SunPower Corporation (SPWR) CEO Tom Werner

Editor’s Note: SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY), First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR)

BioEnergy Bytes (Domestic Fuel)
SolarCity is providing solar electricity directly to the town of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) has provided the town with more than 10,000 solar panels, and the town pays SolarCity for the electricity the panels produce at a discount to its local utility rates. At 2.45 megawatts of generation capacity, East Bridgewater’s project is among the largest solar installations in Massachusetts. The solar panels are expected to produce more than 3 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year–enough power to supply about 350 homes. The town is expected to save as much as $2 million on energy costs over 25 years.

SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY)

UPDATE 1-Ex-First Solar executive settles U.S. SEC charges over disclosures (MSN Money)
The former head of investor relations at First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) will pay $50,000 to settle civil charges that he wrongfully gave some analysts and investors a heads-up that the company was unlikely to receive a U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee, U.S. regulators said on Friday. Lawrence Polizzotto settled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission without admitting or denying the charges. The SEC said it has decided not to separately charge the company due to its “extraordinary cooperation,” noting it self-reported the violations to the SEC and had a strong compliance program in place.

UW grad and SunPower CEO Tom Werner touts solar industry growth (Capital Times)
UW-Madison grad Tom Werner is returning to his college roots this weekend with a dual purpose: to see the Badgers win a football game and dispel some myths about solar energy. The CEO of California-based SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) hasn’t been to Camp Randall Stadium since he was an industrial engineering undergrad here in the early 1980s. On Friday, Werner will appear at the Marquee Theater in Union South to tout the tremendous growth in the solar industry and the fact that electricity generated from the sun is now cost competitive with coal, natural gas and nuclear.

Dark Clouds Over SolarCity (Barron’s)
All across America, even atop the White House, homeowners are installing rooftop solar panels. The trend has been propelled not by forecasts for sunnier weather, but in large part by generous government tax breaks aimed at rewarding those who purchase panels and help reduce greenhouse gases. Few companies have been as adept at capitalizing on Uncle Sam’s largess as SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY), a San Mateo, Calif.–based company that sells, leases and installs solar systems, and is backed by celebrity entrepreneur Elon Musk. SolarCity controls 17% of the market for residential solar installations, the largest share in a highly fragmented industry, and has found dedicated fans on both Main and Wall streets.

First Solar & Sharp The Lone Non-Chinese Solar Module Leaders (CleanTechnica)
It’s no secret, Chinese solar module manufacturers have come along and dominated the solar module market. In 2012, according to IHS, six out of the top ten solar module manufacturers were Chinese companies, including #1 Yingli Green Energy. Now, a recent Solarbuzz report found that Chinese solar module manufacturers led shipments of solar modules in seven out of ten geographic regions. The only non-Chinese companies to lead a region were US-based First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) (in the US and India) and Japan-based Sharp (in Japan). Yingli was 31 in Europe, China, and Latin America + Caribbean. Suntech was #1 in the Middle East + Africa and in “Other Asia.” Trina Solar was #1 in Australia. And Canadian Solar was #1 in Canada.