Thursday, 21 June 2007

Clean Sweep 3

A round-up of recent news in clean technology and cleantech investment.
(Sorry for lack of other posts - been busy with other work this week, including some research on recent cleantech investment trends.)

Two US deals show an emphasis on reducing the silicon concentration in solar cells. Advent Solar has raised $70m+ in a fourth round led by ZBI Ventures (part of Ziff Brothers Investments). Sun Mountain Capital and Globespan Capital Partners also joined in alongside existing investors Battery Ventures, EnerTech Capital, @Ventures, New Mexico Co-Investment Partners and Firelake Capital. Advent's solar cells are based on unique ultra-thin solar wafers which minimise silicon consumption.
California's Silicon Valley Solar meanwhile raised a $10.2m first round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. The company, founded last year, manufactures solar modules which use less than half the number of cells of traditional assemblies. The deal includes the acquisition of NuEdison, an angel-funded photovoltaic manufacturer.

In a less-explored branch of technology, Washington-based Stirling engine developer Infinia has raised $9.5m from some prominent investors. Khosla Ventures, Vulcan Capital, EQUUS Total Return and Idealab of Pasadena, CA joined existing investor Power Play Energy. The deal financed the acquisition of Stirling Cycles from Idealab.
Stirling engines date from the early 19th century, but are now winning increasing interest as an alternative to internal combustion engines and in CHP and solar applications. Infinia is commercialising a Stirling power system for domestic and commercial users, which promises to convert solar energy into electricity in a more efficient manner than photovoltaic cells.

Fund news
Early stage investor E-Synergy has recruited Sam Richardson as investment director for its Sustainable Technology Fund. The £30m fund, one of the government-backed Enterprise Capital Funds, invests in rounds of £500k-2m.

Swiss specialist Mountain Cleantech is raising its first fund with a reported target of Euro30m.

Further reading
The UN's annual review of Global Trends in Sustainable Development details soaring global investment in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. VC highlights taken from the media summary include:
Investment capital flowing into renewable energy climbed from $80 billion in 2005 to a record $100 billion in 2006. As well, the renewable energy sector's growth "although still volatile ... is showing no sign of abating."
Stock market investments in technology development, commercialization and manufacturing firms leapt 141% in 2006 compared with 2005, while venture capital and private equity investments jumped 167%.
Venture capital and private equity investors in 2006 poured $2.3 billion into biofuels, $1.4 billion into solar and $1.3 billion in wind, much of it to increase manufacturing capacity.
Most energy efficiency investment has been in early-stage funding. Venture capital and private equity investment rose 54% between 2005 and 2006 to $1.1 billion.

Full report here as PDF.

New Scientist presents an interesting study of US public attitudes to climate change:
The results of our poll challenge some common preconceptions. They show clearly that policies to combat global warming can command majority public support in the US, as long as they don't hit people's pockets too hard. Americans turn out to be suspicious of policies that use market forces to help bring down emissions, and are much more likely to support prescriptive regulations that tell companies exactly how they must achieve cuts. What's more, given the probable costs, action seems more likely to win public support if it targets electricity generation rather than private vehicles.
Some interesting implications for both policy design and cleantech commercialisation.

1 comment:

ilanit said...

All in all, the meat of the survey is pretty predictable, and for those who have been following Orange County equity investment environment - it should not be suprising. But more importantly, the survey does confirm that United States still needs to go a long way in developing its judicial system toward protection of rights as well as dealing with the tedious bureaucracy of doing business.