Recent Posts:

Tesla Incentives Come to About $10M, Says Calif. Treasurer

Michael Kanellos: June 30, 2008, 12:47 PM
Why is Tesla putting its sedan factory in California? There are ten million reasons. The incentives provided by the State of California to the car company come to about $10 million dollars, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer told me. Most of the incentives come in the form of tax holidays. (I had to duck under some black and yellow caution tape to talk to him, but he was downright polite. Didn't call security or anything. Glad I voted for him.) Financial incentives are a key part of hardware manufacturing and many other parts of the tech world. Intel and other chipmakers regularly shop the world for tax breaks and other incentives. And in many countries, they are willing to oblige....

All-Electric Cars for Under $30K in Four Years, Says Tesla Founder

Michael Kanellos: June 30, 2008, 9:15 AM
Tesla Motors chairman Elon Musk is serious about getting beyond sports cars. At a press conference with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tesla co-founder and chairman Elon Musk said the company has an ongoing program to produce an all-electric car that will cost under $30,000. It probably take "four years at most" to get such a car out, he said. "This is not about addressing a sports car shortage," he said. Tesla has talked about doing moderately-priced cars since the beginning, but the company now is getting firmer on their plans, which in turns means they are serious. Getting out an electric car out for less than $30,000, though, won't be easy. Batteries still...

SVTC Part 2: A New and Crucial Piece of the PV Ecosystem

Eric Wesoff: June 30, 2008, 5:56 AM
Scenario 1: Let’s say you’re a newly funded silicon solar startup and want to experiment in the wafer manufacturing process. You go to your VC investors and ask them for $25M to buy and install a small silicon wafer production line. Scenario 2: Let’s say you’re a process development engineer at an existing, up and running solar firm. You have a brilliant idea on how to improve the production process, so you ask your manufacturing director if you can make some changes on the commercial production line. In both cases the likely response will be a resounding “No way??? along with a few extra words from George Carlin’s list. Now, the Silicon Valley Photovoltaic...

Tesla to Unfurl Sedan Strategy With Schwarzenegger

Michael Kanellos: June 30, 2008, 4:20 AM
Tesla Motors will later today announce a "significant development" in their plans for a four-door passenger sedan, and the special guest is Arnold Schwarzenegger. That could mean that Tesla will manufacture a significant portion of the car in California. Tesla, like a lot of green tech companies, has shopped around its plans for a factory to various states. The company talked to New Mexico and Michigan. In these situations, whichever state gives the biggest incentive package wins. Governor Arnold has been trying to get more green companies to locate in California and Tesla happens to be located in San Carlos, California. Alternatively, Tesla may just announce the formal name of...

Tesla to unfurl sedan strategy with Schwarzenegger

Michael Kanellos: June 30, 2008, 4:15 AM
Tesla Motors will later today announce a "significant development" in their plans for a four-door passenger sedan, and the special guest is Arnold Schwarzenegger. That could mean that Tesla will manufacture a significant portion of the car in California. Tesla, like a lot of green tech companies, has shopped around its plans for a factory to various states. The company talked to New Mexico, Michigan. In these situations, whichever state gives the biggest incentive package wins. Governor Arnold has been trying to get more green companies to locate in California and Tesla happens to be located in San Carlos, California. Alternatively, Tesla may just announce the formal name of the...

Exit Here, Mind the Gap: Part I

Daniel Englander: June 30, 2008, 1:07 AM
The second quarter sucked. For a lot of reasons. If you were a VC, it's more than likely you woke up once or twice in a cold sweat wondering if those lignin-to-hydrogen and supercapacitor companies you funded were really the best place to put $80 million. And maybe for a brief moment this Saturday morning, you cracked open the The New York Times business section, your eyes wandering past the picture of the fat lady with the milk jug, until you settle on a story that made you mix tears of pain with your Wheaties. The second quarter was the first time since 1978 that there were no venture-backed IPOs. The first quarter was no picnic either, with only five VC-backed companies making...

With SVTC, Getting Into Solar Biz Just Got Easier

Michael Kanellos: June 26, 2008, 1:52 PM
First, Applied Materials made it easier for individuals to get into the solar business by offering to build them ready-to-run factories. Now, SVTC Technologies, at one time a division of Cypress Semiconductor, is getting into the act. The company, which offers research and design services for chip makers, will now offer prototyping and research services for solar companies. Need a lab to crank out samples of your latest silicon cell so that Applied will approve your request to buy a factory to start popping out said cells in mass production? SVTC will do it for you. China's JA Solar is already a customer. Germany's Roth and Rau will help SVTC build out its solar lab and testing...