Pickens writes "Two photovoltaic solar power plants will be built in San Luis Obispo County in California, covering 12.5 square miles, that together will generate about 800 megawatts of power, the latest indication that solar energy is starting to achieve significant scale. 'If you're going to make a difference, you've got to do it big,' said Randy Goldstein, the chief executive of OptiSolar. OptiSolar will employ enough of its amorphous silicon thin-film solar panels at its Topaz Solar Farm project to generate 550 MW. Meanwhile, SunPower will install mechanical tracking for its more expensive 250 MW-worth of crystalline silicon photovoltaics at High Plains Ranch II in a bid to boost their efficiency by 30 percent from following the sun across the sky. The power will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric, which is under a state mandate to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010. The utility said that it expected the new plants to be competitive with other renewable energy sources, including wind turbines and solar thermal plants. 'These landmark agreements signal the arrival of utility-scale PV solar power that may be cost-competitive with solar thermal and wind energy,' said Jack Keenan, chief operating officer and senior vice president for PG&E." Reader thefickler notes some related news that researchers have developed a method of collecting infrared rays at night to supplement day-time solar power.
CWmike writes "Apple's iPhone 3G was just a couple of days old when reports began trickling onto the company's support forum from dissatisfied customers complaining about poor reception. Although no one outside of Apple and AT&T — and maybe a chipmaker or two — really knows, that has not kept others from speculating, or in a few cases, making claims based on unnamed sources. What's going on? We may not have all the answers, but we do have questions. Gregg Keizer put together everything we know in a FAQ on the griping about iPhone 3G reception."
snydeq writes "This week's Google outages left several Google Apps admins in the lurch — and many of them are second-guessing their advocacy for making the switch to hosted apps, InfoWorld reports. The outages, which affected both Gmail and Apps, 'could serve as a deterrent to some IT and business managers who might not be ready to ditch conventional software packages that are installed on their servers,' according to the article. 'If we began to experience a similar outage more than about two or three business hours per quarter, we'd probably make Google Apps and Gmail a backup solution to a locally hosted mail system, if we used it at all,' said one Apps admin. 'And it would likely be years before we'd try a cloud-based collaborative system again from any vendor.' Coupled with recent Apple and Amazon cloud issues, these Google outages are being viewed by some as big wins for Microsoft."