I've been running around quite a bit in the Valley the past few weeks. I can't turn all of these tips into individual stories, but it's information you might find valuable.

--National Semiconductor will release a new, much smaller version of its SolarMagic device for improving the performance of solar panels. The first version of SolarMagic, which won an award at Intersolar, looked like a piece of industrial equipment.

This new version is about the size of a DVD drive for a notebook and will clip onto a panel. National is already talking to about ten panel manufacturers. The company showed me the device at the GlobalPress Summit in Santa Cruz but will formally announce it at Intersolar in July.

--Sino EV, a start-up in the Sunnyvale, Calif. area, wants to produce batteries for electric cars in China. Some of those cars may then come back to the states. That's all I know. Stay tuned.

--Keep an eye out for AquaCue, said a source near the snack table at Green:Net. AquaCue has effectively created a cellular modem that straps onto water meters that provides municipal water agencies data about water consumption. The data can then be analyzed and mined for patterns about consumption. Potentially, it could even be exploited to inform high-consumption customers that they use far more water than their neighbors. So it's like a combination of SmartSynch (cellular networking for utilities) eMeter (data mining) and Opower (neighborhood shame.)

This web site about the company is really helpful.

--Lighting fans should take a look at Xicato, an LED company founded by alumni from Lumileds, the LED specialist that Philips acquired. The company already has alliances with a number of luminaire (i.e., light fixture) makers.

--Speaking of lighting, Lumiette has devised a Edison-style bulb with its flat-light fluorescent light technology. The bulb, ideally, provides light in an energy efficient manner that will last for years. Unlike CFLs, Lumiette's lights have a far longer lifespan that is more like the life of LEDs because of the structure of its electrode. This tip from Oceanshore Ventures at Nordic Green II.

--In building control, expect to hear more from Pacific Controls, says Subodh Bapat, the green data center expert at Oracle via Sun Microsystems. The company provides automation services globally from a base in Dubai.

--Foundation Capital's Steve Vassallo is looking at a semiconductor designer that has come up with chip that increases the efficiency of high voltage power supplies. The chip is made from a known material. The novelty comes in the processing. Vassallo also predicted that we might begin to see the evolution of a second era in demand response services.

--And expect to see Simon Saba and his all-electric car at more events.