Government as cleantech venture capitalists

Right off the heels of yesterday’s post on the possible bottom for solar stocks and improving outlook for the industry as a whole, comes today’s news of another solar bankruptcy after receiving loans from the Department of Energy. Abound Solar, a Colorado based solar panel maker received a $400 million loan guarantee from the federal government and tapped about $68 million of the loan guarantee … [Read more...]

Have solar stocks reached a bottom?

Solar stocks have been in an extended slump since their peak in late 2008.  Solar panel manufacturers have seen their profits and share prices collapse due to a glut of solar panels on the global market that has reduced panel prices. A large increase in manufacturing capacity became available just as subsidies for renewable energy were falling in Europe, which is by far the world's biggest market … [Read more...]

Electric vehicles have disappointed investors, but don’t throw that plug away just yet

Electric vehicles have made it back into the news this week as a handful of fully electric Tesla (TSLA) Model S Signature Performance sedans were presented to their owners at the company’s factory, each priced around $100,000. The luxury sedans were fitted with the most powerful battery pack available from the start-up automaker. Billions of dollars of investment from the federal government and … [Read more...]

Renewable Energy Finance Forum – Wall Street highlights industry crossroads

Last week in New York City, bankers, project developers, analysts and regulators gathered at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum and discussed about how renewable energy is financed, and how changes in financing are affecting the rapidly maturing renewable industry. A recurring theme across presentations and subsequent discussions were the fact that the industry is at a vital crossroads. Some of … [Read more...]

Natural gas boom could benefit Cleantech in the long-term

There has been a huge amount of attention paid to the natural gas industry of late by the media, policy makers, and environmentalists. Over the past five years, the US’s shale-gas industry, which produces natural gas from shale rock by injecting water and chemicals (known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking) has grown by 45% a year. The US is now producing so much gas it is running out of places … [Read more...]

NREL study determines that the US could easily incorporate 80 percent renewables by 2050

Proving many naysayers wrong, NREL issued a report today that states that using only CURRENT technology, renewables could provide the vast bulk of U.S. electricity by mid-century. The study explores the integration of the electricity grid using models with unprecedented geographic and time resolution for the entire country to assess whether the power system can supply electricity to meet customer … [Read more...]

The sun continues to shine for solar due to innovative financing

Making solar cost competitive with other forms of energy continues to be a key component of the Obama administration’s energy policy. The week, the Administration took big steps this week in the area of solar finance and the development of innovative financing techniques. The Energy Department’s SunShot Grand Challenge Summit began as Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $10 million in prizes … [Read more...]

How can governments level the playing field for energy tax subsidies?

As the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil gets underway this week in Rio de Janeiro, many are reiterating the commitment made in 2009  to eliminate the $775 billion spent each year subsidizing fossil fuels throughout the world. Here in the US, President Obama has repeatedly proposed cutting $4 billion in annual federal subsidies to the oil and gas industry and several bills have been introduced in … [Read more...]

The Economist writes that Crowdfunding is here to stay

Crowdfunding Comes Into its Own, the most recent issue of the Economist argues. Citing the Massolution research report, crowdfunding is booming, with over 450 crowdfunding platforms, including four in China, up from just under 100 in 2007. Duncan Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext states that if properly done, crowdfunding will become the future of how most small businesses are going to be … [Read more...]

Is Cleanweb the next step after Cleantech?

There are essentially three problems that many in the venture capital industry see for cleantech: 1) Cleantech is often too capital intensive and technology dependent; 2) returns or exits, if they happen at all, tend to be in 7-10 years rather than the typical 3-5 years of most start-ups; and 3) when exits happen, they haven’t been as lucrative as what VCs have seen from other … [Read more...]