First Takes: US Gives Solar $145M Shot in the Arm, Green Investment Tops $2T, & More

First Takes: US Gives Solar $145M Shot in the Arm, Green Investment Tops $2T, & More

• $145M Infusion for Low-Cost Solar Development: The U.S. Department of Energy has signaled the Obama administration's continuing commitment to solar power with a $145-million shot in the arm for advanced technology projects aimed at bringing the cost of solar power down to $1 per watt.

The 69 projects being funded include work by Owens Corning and Solexel, which will get $13 million to develop photovoltaics that are integrated into building materials (in contrast to panels that are added to a structure). The funding comes on the heels of the Solyndra collapse. The once high-flying solar company, the first to receive loan guarantee in the recovery program, closed its doors last week.

• China's Hunger for Hybrid Car Tech: China wants the low-down on technology for plug-in hybrid cars and it wants it bad. According to the New York Times, the country is putting the squeeze on General Motors by blocking the Chevy Volt from qualifying for subsidies unless GM shares some of its engineering secrets with a Chinese carmaker. The Volt is expected to be available for sale in China by year's end.

• Going Bullish on Green: If governments seem to be sinking huge amounts of money in eco technology, consider that private sector investment in green companies and tech now tops $2.4 trillion, according to the latest update of the Ethical Markets Media's Green Transition Scoreboard. The scoreboard report says that's the tally of green market investment since 2007.

• Clean Power's $25M Boon: News from Clean Power Finance illustrates how the money is rolling in. The solar financing company says it's received $25 million from new investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Google Ventures.

• Germany Hits New Record for Renewables: Germany now generates 20.8 percent of its energy from green power sources. The country has a goal of producing 35 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2035. Triple Pundit takes a look at the new data in a report from the German Association of Energy and Water Industries.

In the U.S., President Barack Obama has a goal of doubling green energy production in 25 years and California recently bumped up its green power goal to  33 percent by 2020.

• More Bad News on Phthalates: New research adds another strike against phthalates by providing further indications that exposure to the chemicals widely used in plastics may harm human health by interfering interfere with the body's endocrine system.

Columbia University researchers measured phthalate levels in pregnant women, then looked at their children at age 3. The study, released today, associated exposure with increased risk of motor delay. The research also associated one phthalate with "significant decreases in mental development" among girls and associated three other phthalates with "behavior problems such as anxiety and depression, 'emotionally reactive behavior' and withdrawn behavior"  among boys and girls, the Washington Post reported.

The research does not shed light, however, on how exactly the chemicals may work to bring about the harm that they are suspected of causing in the human body.

Image CC licensed by Walmart Stores.