Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
“2010 will be a day of reckoning for solar projects that have been announced,” said Mark McLanahan, CEO at Renewable Ventures, a Fotowatio company.
Five hundred bankers and solar executives speculated about the promise and pitfalls of implementing solar power projects at the 2010 Solar Power Finance & Investment Summit in San Diego last week.
Permitting the Biggest Challenge
Permit approval and securing financing dominated the two-and-a-half day meeting as the greatest obstacles to completing projects. A panel of venture capitalists agreed that in all cases, developing solar projects and technology consistently takes longer than expected.
According to Sven Strohband, partner with MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures, this is because “materials science is hard, but not as hard as biology: We are trying to do something truly new, and solar investments require a lot of capital to go to market.” (more…)
Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
(Reuters) – A Web application that alerts wine grape farmers when their vines are thirsty has won first place in a competition to spur entrepreneurs in the investment-starved water sector, organizers said on Monday.
Fruition Sciences, which operates in both California and France, came first among 50 teams in Imagine H2O’s global competition aimed at building a “Silicon Valley” for water.
Water is a $500 billion business worldwide, but draws a mere 0.5 to 1.0 percent of venture capital and only a handful of investments per year despite growing demand for solutions to widespread water shortages. (more…)
Monday, March 8th, 2010
A California-based startup company says it has developed an improved version of the internal combustion engine that boosts gas mileage by more than 50 percent and enabled a prototype vehicle to get 64 miles per gallon on the highway in recent test drives.
Transonic Combustion, backed by Vinod Khosla and other venture capitalists, says it has invented a new fuel injection system that heats and pressurizes gasoline before injecting it into the combustion chamber, placing the fuel in a “supercritical” state that allows for clean and fast combustion. (more…)
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
After making his fortune with Idealab and a host of technology start-ups, Bill Gross has turned his attention to renewable energy. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Gross talks about the solar power plant technology his company eSolar is developing and about the future of solar.
Bill Gross is not your typical solar energy entrepreneur. In a business dominated by Silicon Valley technologists and veterans of the fossil fuel industry, Gross is a Southern Californian who made his name in software. His Idealab startup incubator led to the creation of companies such as eToys, CitySearch, and GoTo.com. The latter pioneered search advertising — think Google — and was acquired by Yahoo for $1.6 billion in 2003.
That payday has allowed Gross to pursue his green dreams. (As a teenager, he started a company to sell plans for a parabolic solar dish he had designed.) Over the past decade, Gross has launched a slew of green tech startups, including solar power plant builder eSolar, electric car company Aptera, and Energy Innovations, which is developing advanced photovoltaic technology. (more…)
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
The 26th annual Cleantech Forum begins today in San Francisco. With the theme of “Taking Cleantech to Scale,” this year’s conference focuses on how companies can take advantage of the growing funds available from government and the private sector.
At Friday’s “Information and Clean Technology” session, Microsoft’s Troy Batterberry will discuss the company’s Hohm software, one of the early strong entries into desktop home energy management. Below, Batterberry’s colleague Meredith Budwin previews his presentation.
Matter Network: Explain what Hohm does for a homeowner.
Budwin: Microsoft Hohm was designed to help consumers make smarter decisions about saving energy and money. Hohm uses information provided by consumers to provide personalized behavioral and home improvement recommendations, specific to their home’s situation. (more…)
Friday, February 12th, 2010
SunPower, Silicon Valley’s biggest solar panel manufacturer, announced Thursday an agreement to buy SunRay Renewable Energy, a developer of solar power plants in Europe and Israel, for $277 million.
Although based in Malta, SunRay is managed by Israelis, including CEO Yoram Amiga and Michael Barnea, Head of Legal and M&A. SunRay established a wholly-owned Israeli subsidiary, SunRay Israel Blue & White, which is working to develop 100 megawatts of solar photovoltaic projects.
Kobi Katz, the CEO of SunRay Israel, told The Marker the sale was a vote of confidence by SunPower in the Israeli solar market.
Monday, January 25th, 2010
Shai Agassi (left) and the team at Better Place have done it again: almost two years to the day after announcing its first car partnership and its first country deployment in Israel, Better Place today announced that it has signed an agreement with an HSBC-led investor consortium for new equity financing of $350 million. The deal marks one of the largest clean-tech investments in history and values Better Place at $1.25 billion.
This Series B equity financing round features participation from new investors including HSBC, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, and Lazard Asset Management. These investors will join existing Series A investors including Israel Corp., VantagePoint Venture Partners, Ofer Hi-Tech Holdings, Morgan Stanley Principal Investments, Maniv Energy Capital, and Israel Cleantech Ventures, among others, as shareholders of Better Place. For HSBC, which led the round with an investment of $125 million, the deal represents one of the largest financial investments of its kind by HSBC.
As part of the deal, Kevin Adeson, HSBC Head of Global Capital Financing, will join the Better Place Board of Directors, and HSBC will own approximately 10% of the company’s shares. (more…)
Monday, October 5th, 2009
A “plucky little” country is how the late Princess Diana once described Israel to Shimon Peres. About the size of New Jersey, Israel has a disproportionate number of clean tech companies and investment in clean technology compared to its size.
And now U.S. businessman and investor David Anthony from 21Ventures (at left) is about to reveal his trade secrets and insider information about clean tech investing in Israel.
If you are itching to become a clean tech entrepreneur in Israel, this is must-read information. If you’d like to know more about what makes the industry tick, read on.
Unlike Silicon Valley and the high-tech industry, the clean tech market today has no center of excellence, Anthony tells Green Prophet. In the last 50 years of venture capital investing there has been a saying, “Never fly over your company,” meaning one shouldn’t invest in a company that isn’t within a 60 mile radius of the office.
Thursday, October 1st, 2009
What lessons can California learn from Sweden’s successes in sustainable innovation? What are the California’s energy and environmental goals, and what progress has been made to reach them?
The 2009 Sustainable Innovation Event, presented by the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce San Francisco/Silicon Valley, will discuss these questions and more Monday, Oct. 5 in South San Francisco.
Readers of CleanTechies, a media partner for this event, can attend for a discount price of $55.00 (regular $65).
Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
Thank billions in government funding for helping to lift clean technology investment in the third quarter, said the Cleantech Group and Deloitte in a report Wednesday.
The quarterly analysis reiterated that the recession has kicked but not killed investments in this sector, which remain down 42 percent from the third quarter of 2008. Biotech and IT combined receive less funding than clean tech, which continues its climb from the second quarter, the report noted.
“The two largest venture deals (Solyndra and Tesla Motors) and the largest IPO (A123Systems) this quarter were all recipients of U.S. government funding,” said Cleantech Group managing director Dallas Kachan in a statement.