Here’s some of the latest action happening today on the GreenBeat:
Production and installation of solar power fixtures grew 67 percent in the United States — but it wasn’t enough to keep up with booming demand and growth of the solar power industry in Europe, according to a new report by the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Stealthy solar startup Alta Devices has raised a whopping $72 million from one of the longest list of high-profile investors you might ever see, which includes the likes of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates.
Here’s the latest action we’re following on the GreenBeat:
Solar stalwart SunPower announced its third-quarter earnings today, which by all accounts appear to have beaten market expectations.
Cleantech startups are expecting that the market for distributed solar energy — installing individual solar panels where power is needed — is going to grow as quickly as the personal computer and cellphone markets.
Solar leasing company SunRun has emerged as one of the leaders in a white-hot solar market — and it started just three years ago as an idea in the minds of two Stanford business school students.
In a move that could make solar a much bigger part of the grid, electricity wholesaler NRG Energy announced it will invest $300 million over the next three years in BrightSource’s Ivanpah project, a 392-megawatt solar thermal facility that will be the largest in the world.
Several reports have come out lately about the progress of the U.S. solar market. The numbers are mostly positive, showing growth, though there’s less demand and investment in the sector compared to the previous year. Germany, with its generous solar incentives, is still projected to be a global leader in solar, accounting for more than half of the world’s solar installations next year. Here’s a rundown of the latest solar reports:
Here are the cleantech stories we’re following on the GreenBeat today:
Energy and carbon management startup C3 is looking to raise almost $50 million in funding. The company was founded by Thomas Siebel, who sold Siebel Systems to Oracle for $5.9 billion in 2005, and counts Condeleeza Rice among its directors. It’s still in stealth mode, so details on the company and its products are scarce. Earth2tech notes it is entering crowded space — there are already 20 companies, including Hara, in the energy and carbon management space.
You’ve heard of smart grids, but what about smart solar panels? Today, Portland-based startup Azuray Techologies announced a partnership with solar panel maker Suntech to work on just that.
Coda will be selling its $45,000 all-electric sedan in malls, a sales strategy the startup likens to Apple’s. The company plans to put up storefronts within 10 to 12 miles of its target demographic (stores are planned for Los Angeles and California’s Bay Area) and plans to retain control of the stores, servicing cars, proffering a “no-pressure” sales environment and offering the cars for sale without markup. The company made waves when it announced the high price tag earlier this week because the relatively unknown vehicle is priced well above the cost of the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, which, like Coda’s sedan, will be released in December.
Large-scale solar plant developer BrightSource Energy is quietly preparing for an IPO, reports Dow Jones Venture Wire, citing two people familiar with the company’s plans.
GE and electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure startup Better Place announced a partnership this morning. The collaboration will build compatibility between the products of the two companies, finance battery purchases abroad and push for greater EV adoption. The companies will help finance the purchase of 10,000 EV batteries in Israel and Denmark and will make GE’s WattStation charging stations (pictured) compatible with Better Place’s network of EV infrastructure. [Update: Check out our in-depth look at how the partnership will work.]
A123 opens largest lithium-ion battery plant in the U.S. The Livonia, Mich. plant will expand the company’s manufacturing capabilities by up to 600 megawatt-hours per year, with the goal of ramping up to a total 760M megawatt-hours by next year’s end. The announcement comes one year after A123 was awarded a $249 million grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As GigaOm notes, A123’s IPO last year opened at $17 per share but now trades at less than $10 per share. Another Michigan-based battery player, Sakti3, made news last week for winning a $3.2 million investment from the venture capital arm of GM.
Here’s a list of cleantech news we’re tracking today:
High-efficiency solar panel maker Solaria announced today it has raised $65 million in a fourth round of financing, $20 million more than its original target.
Electric vehicles face a long road to progress when it comes to its lithium-ion batteries, IBM scientist Winfried Wilcke tells the New York Times. Advances in lithium-ion technology have been slow, says Wilcke, whose team is trying to develop a technology that would extend EVs’ range to 500 miles on a single charge (current EVs have a range of around 100 miles). He likens the long road ahead to “climbing Mount Everest.”
Oerlikon Solar launched new thin-film silicon solar production equipment today that’s cheaper and more efficient than its previous product line, an achievement the company says closes the gap with industry giant First Solar.
SoloPower announced today that it’s the first in the solar photovoltaic industry to receive a needed safety certification for its flexible CIGS solar module — panels that are easily adhered to roofs or building materials, and made of copper, indium, gallium and deselenide (hence, CIGS). The safety greenlight paves the way for the company to debut its product line and begin commercial-scale manufacturing.
Startup Green Revolution Cooling has landed the first customer for its server cooling system that reduces server temperatures by way of an oil bath. Midas Networks is the first customer to be trying the cooling system out. The reasoning behind the system is that liquid can hold and transfer more heat than air. GRC says its oil mixture can cut data center power consumption by 45 percent. The Register has a video here.
Cisco delves deeper into the smart grid market by announcing today its plans to acquire Arch Rock, a privately held company that makes IP-based wireless technology company for smart grid applications. This comes on the heels of yesterday’s announcement of their strategic alliance with smart meter giant Itron. Read more about it on CNET News and GigaOm.
The biggest news this morning in Green:
Solar energy company SunPower Corp. has landed a sweet array of installation contracts for U.S. government entities, amounting to about 20 megawatts’ worth of new solar projects for groups such as the Navy and Marine Corps.