Venture Capital and Cleantech weekly update

01 Venture Capital and Cleantech weekly update

Sunrun, a rooftop solar-power provider, acquired the residential installation and racking units of Mainstream Energy Corp. to add in-house construction capabilities. The company has acquired the residential division of REC Solar, AEE Solar and SnapNrack, which companies represent Mainstream Energy’s residential solar sales, design and installation; wholesale distribution; and mounting systems and hardware businesses, respectively. In the commercial market, REC Solar will continue as an independent organization under the legal name REC Solar Commercial Corp. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

“Sunrun pioneered solar service to remove the most significant barriers to going solar. We continue to innovate our business to further drive down costs, increase quality and broaden our reach to consumers so more homeowners have access to affordable home solar,” said Lynn Jurich, Chief Executive Officer of Sunrun. “The residential solar market is growing rapidly and this acquisition marks the next step in our multi-channel growth strategy. REC Solar’s residential division, AEE Solar and SnapNrack complement our thriving channel business and further enable us to fulfill the enormous market potential for home solar nationwide.”

Sunrun has raised over $150 million in VC funding from Accel Partners, Sequoia Capital, Madrone Capital Partners and Foundation Capital. Acquiring an installation operation brings Sunrun closer to becoming a full-service home solar supplier such as rival SolarCity Corp. as demand for rooftop power grows.

 

Persistent Energy Partners, an investment firm that partners with and invests in businesses providing access to clean energy for rural households and businesses in sub-Saharan Africa, has acquired Impact Energies, an off-grid solar firm that sells and leases solar panel systems to people making less than $6 a day in Ghana.

“After studying and managing investments in rural off-grid energy for several years, we decided that Persistent Energy Ghana [Impact Energies' new moniker] was the right place to concentrate our investment and advisory support,” said Chris Aidun, managing partner of Persistent Energy Partners. “With our resources, Persistent Energy Ghana will have the opportunity to build a scalable business that brings clean, affordable energy services to Ghana’s off-grid communities during 2014.”

 

Regen Energy Inc., an electricity grid management software company, has raised $7 million in Series B funding. The round was led by a the funding came from an un-named, international energy company, along with existing investors NGEN Partners and the BDC Venture Capital Energy/Cleantech Fund.

Regen’s wireless smart grid technology platform, Swarm Energy Management, generates demand-management and auto-demand response electrical savings. The software allows small to mid-sized commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings to participate in dynamic load management markets.

 

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced $30 million in funding to 12 ARPA-E projects in the Full-Spectrum Optimized Conversion and Utilization of Sunlight (FOCUS) program, which is aimed at developing new hybrid solar energy converters and hybrid energy storage systems that can deliver low-cost, high-efficiency solar energy on demand.

Companies with funding include $2 million to Cogenra Solar to develop a hybrid solar energy system with full spectrum utilization; $3 million to Otherlab to develop a hybrid solar converter with solar pond receiver; and $4 million to Sharp Labs of America to develop a high-concentration full-spectrum solar energy system

 

Huron Capital Partners, an operationally-focused private equity firm, has formed Albireo Energy, an acquisition platform focused on niche energy service providers with annual revenue of at least $15 million. Through the platform, Huron will invest in and partner with regional and niche energy service providers to build a world-class service business in energy efficiency and grid services for commercial and institutional buildings. The new company will provide holistic energy solutions to building owners that lower operational costs and the environmental impacts of their buildings.

 

Genability, Inc., a software company that licenses its extensive database of electricity tariffs and rate engine for use with third-party products, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding led by EnerNOC Inc. (ENOC).

“Genability’s utility tariff and rate engine gives us the functionality we need to translate kilowatt hour usage into customer-specific dollar terms across our entire portfolio of commercial, institutional, and industrial customers, many of which have sites in dozens of geographies,” said Tim Healy, Chairman and CEO of EnerNOC. “As we looked at the market for potential partners, Genability stood out as a leader in the field with proven technology that is uniquely positioned to help EnerNOC scale domestically and internationally.”

In adition to the funding, EnerNOC signed a licensing agreement which gives it certain exclusive rights to Genability’s technology for EIS solutions that serve the commercial, institutional, and industrial sector. By connecting Genability’s tariff engine to EnerNOC’s EIS applications, end users will have more accurate energy forecasts, be able to make operational tradeoffs in a more informed manner, as well as be able to verify the cost savings from energy efficiency measures.

 

Abe’s Market, an online retailer of organic snacks and other items often found at farmer’s markets, received $10 million from Accel Partners, Beringea Ventures (Invest Michigan), Carmel Ventures, and Index Ventures.

 

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