Primus Power’s flow batteries rake in $11M

Primus Power announced today that it has raised $11 million in its latest round of funding to finance its battery technology, which store energy and provide backup power for large power grids and “smart grids” — power grids that use advanced computer algorithms to efficiently distribute electricity and minimize loss of power.

Are solar panel manufacturing component prices falling fast enough?

The price of polysilicon, a key component in manufacturing solar panels that capture sunlight and convert it to electricity, fell 5.1 percent to $74.4 per kilogram from $78.19 last month. Still, the decline is smaller than expected and the current prices could hurt profit margins for solar panel manufacturers that rely on crystalline silicon panels.

First Solar nears U.S. DOE loan guarantees, but is it enough?

First Solar is getting closer to securing loan guarantees for three solar panel plants that would add 1,300 megawatts of power worth of clean energy to the United States — a critical step in shoring up the potentially threatened American solar panel manufacturing industry.

Last major independent U.S. solar panel maker limps through first quarter

Uncertainty about First Solar’s future operations led investors to smash the company’s shares in trading after the bell today after the company failed to grow its revenues in the first quarter this year — a sign of weakness for the last major independent solar panel manufacturer in the United States.

Solar power dominated cleantech investments in April

Investors were still pouring money into solar power ventures in April — with about 45 percent the $330 million invested in clean technology ventures pointed toward solar power startups.

Total buys majority stake in solar panel manufacturer SunPower

Total, a French oil company, announced today that it will purchase a majority stake in solar panel manufacturer SunPower for $23.25 per share — bringing Europe’s third-largest oil company into the growing and hyper-competitive solar panel business.

Listen up, Realtors: solar panels increase home value

So much for the not-in-my-backyard argument: California homes with solar panels installed on them sell for more than their panel-free counterparts, according to a study by the University of California at Berkeley.

GE to build cheaper thin-film solar panel plant in U.S.

General Electric has finished acquiring thin-film solar panel maker PrimeStar Solar and will build a 400-megawatt thin-film solar panel manufacturing plant in the U.S., the company announced today.

Google drops $5M in German solar plant

Google has invested €3.5 million (roughly $5 million) in a German 18.7-megawatt solar power plant in a small town near Berlin.

Late-stage investments dominate cleantech sector in Q1

Investments in clean technology startups rose 13 percent in the first quarter this year in North America, Europe, China and India — to $2.57 billion from $2.28 billion in the first quarter of 2010 across 159 companies — according to a report by Cleantech Group.

GE to pick up power management pro Converteam for $3.2B

General Electric will acquire Converteam, a company that specializes in technology that converts electricity to mechanical energy and vice versa, for a whopping $3.2 billion to improve its power transmission and management network.

Nuclear crisis doesn’t panic cleantech investors

An escalating crisis at nuclear power plants in Japan following a massive earthquake and tsunami has not changed the investing thesis about clean technology, according to a number of leading venture capitalists and researchers.

Solar power shines amid Japan’s nuclear woes

Call solar power the second best thing in clean energy. Solar power stocks have soared since concerns about a nuclear meltdown in one of Japan’s nuclear power plants have sent investors running to alternative clean energy companies.

Flexible solar panel maker SoloPower raises $13.5M

SoloPower, a maker of flexible thin-film solar power panels, has raised $13.5 million in its fifth round of funding from Crosslink Capital and others, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Sun rising on U.S. solar power despite trailing Europe in 2010 growth

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.

Startups bet on solar panels on every home and building

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.

The SolSource solar oven wins 500K EU in the Green Challenge

The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge award is a startup competition run by the Dutch Postcode Lottery with 500,000 EU ($666,200) up for grabs for the winner and 200,000 EU ($260,500) for the runner-up. All entries must have the potential to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in a measurable fashion. From an impressive field of young entrepreneurs, the jury chose 25-year old Scot Frank of One Earth Designs as the winner for his company’s SolSource solar oven.

On the GreenBeat: $6 billion solar plant wins approval, Solyndra’s secret sauce

Chevron Energy Ventures and Solar Millennium’s proposed $6 billion solar power plant – to be the largest in the world – has cleared approval from the California Energy Commission, according to a Reuters report. The Blythe, Calif. plant will have a capacity of 1,000 megawatts — big numbers in an industry where the largest plants are about one-third that size. Solar Millennium and Ferrostaal AG are working to develop the plant through a joint venture, Solar Trust of America. It’s unclear what role Chevron plays in the plant, according to the Reuters story. Southern California Edison has already entered a deal to purchase all of the energy generated from the first half of the project. The entire project consists of four 250 megawatt plants.

SoloPower gets safety greenlight for flexible solar modules, will expand production

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.