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Americas

In the United States this week, SolarCity launched a $1 billion funding program aimed at developing 300 MW of commercial solar atop rooftops across the country. The initiative, backed by Credit Suisse, is aimed at the development of carports for businesses and solar installations on schools and government agencies over the next two years.

SolarCity partner company Tesla Motors is set to unveil a new solar storage battery for homes and businesses. Tesla is currently testing the batteries in some 300 homes in California and 11 Walmart locations, according to press reports.

Storage solutions remain a hot commodity around the globe. Chinese solar developer Solar Power, Inc. (SPI) acquired a $33.4 million stake in U.S. energy management group ZBB Energy Corporation as part of a wide-ranging pact that includes a 40 MW supply agreement for energy storage systems over a four-year period.

As part of a supply agreement valued at between $80 million and $120 million, SPI will integrate ZBB’s energy storage systems in its PV solutions for solar markets around the globe. The deal is expected to result in SPI owning a 54% stake in ZBB.

Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo is investing in renewable energy infrastructure to help balance the electricity grid serving the northeastern United States. The company has commissioned Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES) to build the first independent large-scale battery power storage system for the frequency regulation market operated by regional grid operator PJM. The project will employ Toshiba lithium ion batteries.

In Mexico’s Baja California, Energy Partners Latin America is developing a 150 MW solar plant budgeted at $279 million. The plant will be located in the sun-rich northwestern corner of the peninsular state.

Asia

China continues to make massive strides in its solar development. This week analysts at Deutsche Bank predicted the country’s PV capacity could surpass 20 GW this year following a better-than-expected first quarter and improved policy outlook.

Elsewhere in China, Hanergy Thin Film Power Group is set to build a 10 MW gallium arsenide (GaAs) thin film solar cell research and development and manufacturing factory at the Huangpi Linkong Industrial Park in Wuhan City.

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