The fall of Lehman Brothers has raised serious concerns for renewable-energy companies seeking to raise money in the near future. But that won't stop some firms from trying.
Until it filed for bankruptcy protection last week, Lehman had been a popular underwriter for companies raising funds by issuing shares or borrowing money. The investment bank's collapse prompted statements from companies such as SunPower and Evergreen Solar explaining the financial impact of Lehman's fall (see Lehman's Fall to Create Greentech Woes).
Investors said the market's turmoil will likely suppress any appetite for initial public offerings for now. Solar- and wind-energy companies also will likely find it difficult to raise money in the near future to build power plants or factories.
Some companies don't want to wait until the markets stabilize. LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK), for example, announced last week that it intended to raise $200 million (see LDK Wants $200M More for Manufacturing).
Startups might have an easier time raising money from venture capitalists, who typically don't expect immediate returns on their investments.
Here is some other funding news:
- SolarReserve raised $140 million to build power plants that generate electricity from the sun's heat instead of light (see SolarReserve Raises $140M for Solar-Thermal Projects). The Santa Monica, Calif., company raised the fund from Sustainable Development investments, Credit Suisse's Customized Fund Investment Group, Good Energies, U.S. Renewables Group, PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund and Nimes Capital.
- Ampulse is seeking $10 million for its first round of funding (see Hunting for Cash at the Cleantech Forum). The Littleton, Colo., company claims its technology, developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, can deposit a thin layer of crystalline silicon - usually used in traditional flat-plate solar panels - on a metal substrate. The idea is to combine crystalline silicon's ability to convert sunlight into electricity efficiently with the potential cost savings of thin-film solar technologies, which use less photovoltaic material than traditional crystalline technology.
- Sapphire Energy has raised another round of money, bringing its total funding to more than $100 million. The San Diego startup is developing a process to grow algae and make gasoline out of it. It announced in May that it had raised more than $50 million from Arch Venture Partners, the Wellcome Trust and Venrock. The company raised the new round from existing investor and Cascade Investments, owned by Bill Gates.
- Coskata CEO Bill Roe said he expects to close a third round of funding in a few weeks (see Green Light post). Roe declined to say how much the cellulosic-biofuel company is seeking. Coskata, based in Warrenville, Ill., announced it had raised $19.5 million in March.
- Tesla Motors plans to raise $250 million to build an assembly plant in San Jose, Calif. The electric-car startup, which also plans to move its headquarters to San Jose from San Carlos, Calif., intends to build its four-door sedan, the Model S, at the new factory. The company intends to raise $100 million in a fifth round of funding and obtain $150 million in a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy.
- PowerGenix, a nickel-zinc battery maker, raised $30 million from Bessember Venture Partners, Angeleno Group, Advent International, Braemar Energy Ventures, OnPoint Techologies and Technology Partners. The San Diego company began mass producing its nickel-zinc cells in March, and has since signed $75 million worth of contracts to supply makers of power tools, lighting and other products. It also is targeting the electric-car market.
- VanDyne SuperTurbo Inc. is looking to raise $12 million for a first round of financing. The company, based in Colorado, is developing a car part that combines the benefits of a supercharger and a turbocharger to improve fuel efficiencies (see VanDyne Looks for $12M Boost).
- Brammo raised $10 million to produce its first electric motorcycle, called Enertia, Private Equity Hub reported. The motorcycle company, based in Ashland, Ore., raised the money from investors including Chrysalix Energy Ventures and Best Buy Venture Capital.
- FlexSys is looking to raise $8 million (see Hunting for Cash at the Cleantech Forum). The company, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., is developing a flap that can alter its shape in response to changing wind conditions. The company plans to sell its product to wind-turbine blade makers.
- NanoH2O raised $15 million to commercialize its technology, which can turn seawater into fresh water or reuse wastewater. The Los Angeles company is developing membranes and a reverse-osmosis process to filter water. The new funding came from Oak Investment Partners and Khosla Ventures.
- BioPetroClean, a water-purification company in Israel, raised $5 million from 21 Ventures. The company is developing a bacterial mixture for treating wastewater. BioPetroClean plans to use the money to start a sales network and supporting new projects.
- Competitive Power Ventures Holdings received $300 million in equity from Warburg Pincus. Power Ventures, based in Silver Spring, Md., is developing combined-cycle natural-gas power plants and wind-energy farms. The company said it has nearly 8 gigawatts of conventional power projects and close to 5 gigawatts of wind-energy projects under development.
- Advanced Electron Beams received $4 million from GE Energy Financial Services. Advanced Electron, based in Wilmington, Mass., is developing a technology that uses electron beams to jumpstart chemical reactions or break chemical bonds. The technology could reduce power consumption during the process of sterilizing food, minimizing air pollution and coating materials, the company said.
- Green Energy Options raised £250,000 ($457,670) from Thames Valley Investment Network. The money is part of the £800,000 ($1.46 million) round for the U.K. company, which develops devices to monitor home energy consumption.
- CO2Stats, which analyzes a Website's energy use to figure out its carbon footprint, has received less than $1 million in angel funding, VentureWire reported (via VentureBeat). The company, part of Enernetics, offers customers ways to buy renewable energy to offset their energy use. The funding came from Paul Buchheit of Freenfeed, Alexis Ohanian of Reddit and Wayne Crosby and Robby Walker of Mixin Capital.
- Ormat Technologies, a geothermal power developer in Reno, Nev., intends to raise $1.5 billion, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (see Ormat Technologies Seeks $1.5B). The filing will enable Ormat (NYSE: ORA) to raise money by issuing shares or borrowing money, but the company hasn't specified how it plans to obtain the capital.
- SMG Indium Resources Ltd. has filed to raise $55 million in an initial public offering. The company plans to stockpile indium, which is used by companies developing thin-film solar panels made of copper, indium, gallium and selenium, among other applications (see SMG Files $55M IPO, Plans Indium Stockpile).
- Capstone Turbine Corp. (NDSQ: CPST) expects to raise $29.5 million in net proceeds from selling about 21.49 million shares of common stock and issuing warrants to buy an additional 6.45 million shares of common stock. The Chatsworth, Calif., company makes microturbines for gas-fired power plants.