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What Did We Learn This Week?

Daniel Englander: February 29, 2008, 1:52 PM
Stop! Turn around! See what we learned this week!

Solexel: The Incredible Missing Stealth Company

Daniel Englander: February 29, 2008, 9:56 AM
Yesterday Eric Wesoff reported that Solexel, a stealth, Kleiner Perkins-backed company was hiring for epitaxial silicon and MEMS engineers. MEMS, or micro-electro-mechanical systems, is a microfabrication technology used to integrate mechanical features and microelectronics on a silicon surface. Interesting, right? After reporting this, (almost) all mentions of Solexel were removed from John Denniston's page on the KPCB wesbite. But a deeper look on their site shows someone in the KPCB IT department most likely didn't finish in the top of their class at Stanford. I did a search for "Solexel" and turned up this page, which clearly shows Solexel listed as one of Denniston's companies. Right there next to Segway. So what's to hide, John?

Frost & Sullivan Drops Data, Uses Ouija Board

Daniel Englander: February 29, 2008, 7:07 AM
A press release put out last week by consultancy Frost & Sullivan points to the "Global Solar Photovoltaic Market" hitting $6.49 billion in revenues in 2005, with revenue projections of $16 billion in 2012. It's so important they had to capitalize it, but clearly not important enough for F&S to really know what they're talking about. I just got off the phone with our man Travis Bradford, who told me "this is not being specific enough to be useful. In 2005 the market at the module level was probably something close to what they're saying, but that's just for the modules" not the entire market. And once Travis starts talking...

The Morning Feedstock

Daniel Englander: February 29, 2008, 4:30 AM
  • Greentech VC numbers are in for 2007. Global figures jumped 43 percent from 2006 to $3 billion. The U.S. made up $2.5 billion of that, bouncing nearly 80 percent from 2006. Deal volume in the U.S. was up 54 percent, accounting for 8 percent of all U.S. VC money. Once again, the Bay State's booming salted cod and pilgrim shoe innovation market took a distant second to California, raking in $273 million compared to $1.3 billion for the Galactic Confederacy.

  • The end of an E.on. Literally. The German power giant has agreed to split up following pressure from the European Commission's competition regulators. E.on will sell its transmission and distribution network, and may spin off 20 percent of its generation capacity or "swap assets with a foreign competitor." The break up, which was done to avoid a possible €7 billion antitrust fine, was met with mixed signals across Europe - EDF and RWE will continue to fight unbundling plans from Brussels while Britain's National Grid is believed to be an interested buyer of E.on's networks. Wulf Bernotat wants to swap some assets

  • Xcel Energy has announced plans to fix its wind problem. The western utility will be the first to incorporate grid storage-grade sodium sulphate batteries into a wind farm. Xcel has contracted with Japan's NGK Insulators for a 1 MW test battery, capable of discharging power over seven hours with no gaps at an 11 MW wind farm. The companies will receive a $1 million grant from Minnesota's Renewable Development Fund for the project. I usually store my farts in a bottle.

  • Fed Chief Ben Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday he favors a reduction of the Brazilian ethanol tariff. As part of his plan to boost consumer spending, Bernanke argued allowing Brazilian sugarcane ethanol into the U.S. would reduce price pressures on corn and soybeans, stemming the precipitous increase in food prices. But it will probably never happen because, really, the last thing U.S. farmers need is competition.

  • And finally today... Treehugger is like your cousin that everyone hates because he kills squirrels with sticks, but that everyone secretly laughs at because he kills squirrels with sticks. This is kind of like that.

Melting the Ingot with Bob Ford, CEO of Solaicx

Daniel Englander: February 28, 2008, 9:02 AM
Solaicx is a venture-backed startup hell bent on reducing costs in the PV supply chain. Since breaking ground on their new Portland, OR, factory in November, the company has worked 'round-the-clock to stabilize their innovative wafer manufacturing technology, with an eye towards full-scale commercial production in the first half of 2009. Solaicx was also one of Greentech Media’s top ten startups. I had the opportunity to talk with Bob Ford, the company’s CEO, a few days ago about his company’s progress, supply issues in the PV market, and the possibility of a solar shakeout. Bubbling silicon, after the jump.