Archive for the ‘GREEN ENERGY MARKETS’ Category

Skyline Solar recently emerged from stealth mode, after an impressive 8-month R&D program from prototype to product, with the announcement of one of the first new high-gain solar (HGS) arrays on the market. The new HGS technology includes some well-known components of the more highly technical mega-arrays that brighten the arid regions of the globe, including motorized solar tracking, solar concentration, and thermal cooling.

According to Chief Executive Bob McDonald, the new arrays generate 10 to 50 times the yield of traditional systems as just a fraction of the cost. He also noted that this is accomplished using only one-tenth of the amount of silicon and less than half the parts of comparable systems. A trial installation is already generating electricity in San Jose, CA. This is one we’re definitely keeping an eye on!

For more information see: http://www.rdmag.com/ShowPR.aspx?PUBCODE=014&ACCT=1400000101&ISSUE=0905&RELTYPE=IDN&PRODCODE=00000000&PRODLETT=AI&CommonCount=0


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With the big lighting event this week in NYC (LIGHTFAIR ’09) – all eyes are on the best and brightest in the world of LEDs. And with all the incredible innovation, it was interesting to read today in Eric Taub’s technology column for the NY Times that there are still no entries in the twenty million dollar contest for an LED-powered lamp capable of replacing a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb. Sponsored by the Department of Energy the contest was announced at LIGHTFAIR last year, the prize will go to the company that can produce a solid-state replacement for the ubiquitous household bulb or the PAR 38 halogen bulb commonly used in businesses. The “L Prize” (short for Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize) will not only provide cash but also lucrative contracts with government organizations and heavy marketing and promotion support from partnering public utilities. Currently, there are 23 of these utility partners covering 29 states – pretty impressive market coverage for the winner! Looking at the opportunity ahead, I wonder which of the LED innovators will rise to the challenge. . . I only wish our light bulb was worth 20 million!

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Another interesting little piece popped up on earth2tech this morning that I just can’t resist sharing. As a PR firm, we love working with startups. Really, we do: the struggle to grow is an adrenaline rush, and the challenge of defining their identity even as they work to determine how they fit is oftentimes frustrating, but extremely rewarding. These days, green startups are exploding, however, and even VCs are having trouble gauging which ones are the real deal.

With stimulus funds now flowing into the smart grid, investors are rushing to get in the game. And the opportunities are indeed aplenty. According to Katie Fehrenbacher, picking the market leader should be easy: the firms that have managed to complete deals with larger utility companies are clearly a step ahead of the game, right? The problem is that most utility giants are currently “sampling” the smart grid landscape, and doing a host of smaller pilot deals with several startups. And this means that almost all of the contenders have some small deal with a larger utility company. So how to suss out the winners from the also-rans?

This is a really interesting discussion that will undoubtedly get hotter as the push toward energy efficiency grows.  Listen and learn…


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There’s no denying that green tech has become sort of a buzzword in the industry, but beyond the millions of great ideas, is the reality of turning those ideas into successful business ventures. To address this and the various other issues surrounding the economic implications of clean-energy policies, Van Jones, special adviser for green jobs, enterprise, and innovation in the White House, recently spoke at the Bentley University Leadership Forum.

Tasked with coordinating green job-related initiatives among different government agencies, Jones relayed his message that a “riptide of innovation” was about to flow through the energy industry if President Barack Obama has his way.

In addition to touting the recent stimulus package, Jones indicated that the most promising industries for growth are those at the crossroads of information technology and energy technology.

“Five to 10 years from now, the people making the most money are the people who figure how to store those clean electrons and move them around the country,” Jones said.

To read more about Jones’ speech, check out the CNET News article at: http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10220936-54.html.

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A bit of an aside today, but I wanted to share an interesting piece that appeared in Greentech Media’s CleanTech Investing column last week on the branding of greentech/cleantech/“insert some-new-tech here” investing.  According to the author (a principal at Boston-based @Ventures), as greentech has grown in popularity and worked its way into the larger geopolitical discussion, it has become synonymous, in many cases, with the earth-friendly, “let’s all help save the planet” sentiment that makes VCs cringe.  VCs, of course, want to make sure their focus on the bottom line is always paramount – no matter the sector – and that an eco-happy perception doesn’t somehow undermine their image in the investment market.

This is interesting because, as marketers ourselves, we make a living by using words and ideas to position companies in the minds of their prospective customers.  That the misleading (and to VCs, harmful) connotation now attached to cleantech and greentech may force the creation of a new category is something to keep an eye on.  This may be one of the first industries, for now at least, where green buzz is not necessarily a good thing.  The first of more?  Only time will tell.  But for now, ”resource tech” and “natural resource optimization” don’t exactly roll off the tongue, do they?


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National Environmental Education Week (EE Week), taking place from April 12-18, is the largest organized environmental education event in the United States. EE Week increases the educational impact of Earth Day by creating a full week of educational preparation, learning, and activities in K-12 classrooms, nature centers, zoos, museums, and aquariums. For more information, visit: http://www.eeweek.org/

In terms of monitoring environmental efforts in the tech world, we came across a wireless-sensor start-up called Arch Rock who launched its Energy Optimizer product line today, which combines Internet Protocol-based sensors with server software for collecting and analyzing energy data for use in commercial buildings. Getting more fine-grained information on energy usage will allow businesses to shave their energy bills by 10 to 20 percent, Arch Rock CEO Roland Acra said. The company makes a sensor for electricity, and another that measures flow rates for water and gas, as well as light, air temperature, and humidity.

For more information, visit: http://news.cnet.com/greentech/

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While the venture capital industry worldwide is feeling the effects of the current economic conditions, there is one area that doesn’t seem to be feeling the pinch as much: renewable energy. According to Greentech Media Inc., venture capital investment in green technologies totaled $836.1 million in the first quarter of 2009.

Remarks made by Ira Ehrenpreis, General Partner at greentech investment firm Technology Partners, include the following: “The $800 million of investment this quarter is more capital than has been invested annually for most of the years that we’ve been investing in the cleantech sector.” Eric Wesoff, analyst at GTM Research and Greentech Innovations Report author added, “Despite the slump, VC investors remain optimistic about the greentech sector and eventual exits in this space.”

Greentech Media noted that solar continues to be the leading sector with $356.6 million in investments, followed by energy storage with $121.5 million and biofuels with $94.15 million.

More information: http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20090401005987&newsLang=en

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