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Advocacy group rates solar module manufacturers
The environmental and health effects of photovoltaic panels are becoming a major consideration among solar companies. Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition ranked international solar manufacturers on factors such as extraction of the raw materials, toxic chemical use in production, worker safety issues, product disposal and recycling. The nonprofit advocacy group hopes the solar industry phases out pollutants such as lead and other toxic chemicals from its products. Los Angeles Times

Hits and misses for Industrial Ethernet
Industrial Ethernet has made a distinct mark on factory networking, but the jury is still out on how much it will dominate in real-time Ethernet applications such as high-performance, multi-axis motion control, as well as in lower cost devices such as sensors and process control automation. The main challenges and concerns about using Industrial Ethernet for automation control focus on managing the network’s hardware and software infrastructure, reliability and performance. Design News

US lawmakers eye plan to compete with Asia on robotics
US senators unveiled an initiative to try to narrow the US gap with Asian nations more advanced in robotics, proposing exposing American high school students to a curriculum heavier on technology and science. The plan calls for exposing students to heavier doses of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics seen as essential starting points on tracks to the better-paying jobs of the present and future. AFP

Solar leads the pack for US industry growth in 2010
The solar energy industry is the fastest growing industry in the US; growing faster than wind energy, faster than telecommunications, and, even growing faster than the mortgage foreclosure industry. The industry experienced year-over-year growth in 2010 of 67 per cent, based on sales of installed solar.

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