Back in January of this year we published a long list of VC funded and early-stage solar firms. We called it “150 Solar Startups” because the total number of firms was in that ballpark and it had a bit of a ring to it.
But as we kept looking and as our readers continued to bring more firms to our attention the numbers climbed – first past 200 and settling in at a grand total of 219. Subtracting newly departed SV Solar and Optisolar leaves us with 217 solar firms hatched in the last few years.
This article updates that list and shows the additions to the master list.
Note that the list is for privately held firms with a focus of VC-funded or pre-VC startups. No public firms or OTCBB firms.
We’re getting to the stage in the solar gold rush that the number is starting to drop as we lose firms and the attrition on the down-side of the bubble kicks in. Removed from the list are OptiSolar (see Inside Optisolar’s Grand Ambitions) and SV Solar (see SV Solar RIP).
This is a long and extensive list – but our readers will surely let us know if we’ve missed any. And the list conveys a number of points, some positive, some negative.
It serves as a testament to the innovative spirit in Silicon Valley, in the U.S. and around the world. There are so many new ideas and new approaches – it is a true illustration of the entrepreneurial mind at work.
It also serves as a testament to the irrational exuberance that a strong market encourages in VC investors as science projects and powerpoint-based bubble firms get liberated from the lab a bit too early.
On with the list!
These are the recent additons and the links below will take you to the sublists Parts 1 through 6.
Balance of System Startups
Azuray: Microinverter startup received $8 million from NEA in May 2008. Rohini Chakravarty of NEA is on the company’s board. Terri Fiez, a former Oregon State University professor, is the CEO.
MPPC Technology: For distributed MPP and inverter architectures, Maximum Power Point Control (MPPC) is the exact calculation of the Maximum Power Point (MPP) coordinates (voltage and current and therefore power). MPPC Technology is conducting on and off-grid tests in Europe and India. Pre-VC.
Twin Creeks Technologies: Twin Creeks Technologies is an early stage, VC-funded solar start-up founded in January 2008. Using silicon fabrication processes. Received $13.1 million Round A from Crosslink Capital and Benchmark in Q1 2008. $52 million Round B led by Artis Capital and DAG Ventures at 7X series A price in Q3 2008. Attempting to make Si cheaper than CIGS or CdTe. CEO is Siva Sivaram.
Solar Monitoring Firms
Deck Monitoring: Monitoring commercial solar systems with a rich web-enabled interface.
Locus Energy: Low-cost, revenue-grade, web-based performance monitoring for solar systems and distributed generation.
Armageddon Energy: Armageddon’s hexagonal module is easier to handle and better accommodates the contours of a rooftop and includes an integrated microinverter. Armageddon claims that its’ affordable systems enable mainstream consumers to buy into solar with much lower installation time and cost. Currently seeking VC funding.
Eshone Energy: Founded in 1995, Eshone is a solar power integrator providing turnkey, grid-connected systems for public and commercial sectors.
Financiers and Project Managers
Axio Power: Axio Power develops, finances and constructs large-scale solar projects. Taking on private equity funding in 2009.
Renewable Funding: Renewable Funding develops and delivers solutions for renewable energy and energy efficiency financing. Cities raise funds through bonds, and the consumer pays it back through property taxes. The company provides on-line application processing coupled with a financial package that provides reasonable interest rates and low risk.
- Part 2: CPV
MegaWattSolar: With investment from Scatec and iEnergies, MegaWattSolar builds dual axis CPV “solar trees” using silicon modules and 10 to 50X concentration.
Everphoton: Taiwan-based HCPV with TJ cells.
- Part 3: Next-Gen PV
NanoMas Technologies: NanoMas builds highly conductive metallic nanoparticles for use in printed electronics, conductive pastes, solar cells and IC chip packaging. They closed a $3.2 million Round A in Q4 2008 with funding from BASF Venture Capital, Earthrise Capital Fund, and NanoMaterials Investors.
- Part 4: Thin Film
SkyPoint Solar: A thin-film solar panel manufacturing firm, launched with seed capital from its founding management team, including John Tuttle, the former CEO of troubled CIGS solar manufacturer DayStar. Their technology is based on amorphous / microcrystalline silicon materials and they look to deploy their product in Skypoint-owned and operated solar power parks, both domestically and internationally. InfusionCapital is involved in their financing.
- Part 5: Solar AC and CHP
- Part 6: CSP
RawSolar: The company's flagship product is a tracking mirrored parabolic dish that captures sunlight to produce steam or hot water.
Kotak (India): With $8 million in financing from KPCB, Sherpalo Ventures, and Applied Materials, Kotak deploys solar power installations, and builds and distributes solar appliances such as solar water heaters, water pasteurizers and solar drying systems.
Snow Peak Energy: Solar parking structures
Veranda Solar: Low-power output, consumer-oriented on-grid solar modules. With integrated inverter. They’ve received seed funding in business plan competitions and are seeking VC funding.
Modular Solar Roofing: Polymer roofing tile containing an integral PV module which is mounted using a track system, similar in concept to track lighting. Pre-VC funding from British Columbia’s Innovative Clean Energy fund.
Rainbow Solar: Rainbow claims to build a 60-cell, standard-size, mono-crystalline photovoltaic-module with a 350W output rating for solar farm and BIPV applications. They also claim to build BIPV glass.
If we've missed any – let us know.