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Solar Power Recap: Life is Good in a Solar-Powered Bubble

The Solar Power International event last week was a fantastic show. Interest in solar is at an all-time high and the conference was well attended as a result. What struck me was how easy it was to forget about the broader economic concerns outside of the event, as attendees rode the wave of bullish feelings after the extension of the ITCs and PTCs. Several of our clients came back callling it a good event f ...

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Solar Power International Eve: Recessionary Impact on Cleantech

There likely will be a mixed mood when Solar Power International kicks off tomorrow. On the one hand, rejoice at the extesion of the ITC (invetsment tax credits) and PTC (production tax credits). On the other, fear about the impact that a recession and dropping oil prices will have on the economy. VentureBeat does a great job summing it up here.I am an optimistic person to begin with, but I honestly think t ...

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What’s Hot at Solar Power International?

With Solar Power International (formerly known as Solar Power 2008) under one week away, it will be interesting to see what topics take center stage at the event. Here are some quick predictions:-Thin Film: No market has been a bigger investment darling than thin film manufacturing in 2008 and so it is pretty clear that there will be significant attention on emerging players in the market.-Solar Concentrato ...

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TGIF: Happy Day for Cleantech

Happy day for the Cleantech and Green Market as Congress did what everyone was hoping and extended the Investment Tax Credit and the Production Tax Credit. Earth2Tech gives a good rundown of the joy in Greenville and what is included in the bill. It ends an emotional and long battle to get renewed Federal support for renewable energy.Quick Note: We'll be hosting a webinar on the intersection of public relat ...

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Cleantech Venture Capital Hits Another Record

What financial crisis? Cleantech investing hit another record in Q3 as money poured into the market at a clip of $2.6 billion (thanks, Cleantech Group). Amazingly, I still am not among those that thinks there is a Green Bubble since this trend has largely been unsupported by the Federal Government.Yes the ITCs and PTCs have been good for the industry, but with a new administration and bigger Democratic majo ...

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ITCs Make it in New Senate Bailout Bill

Great news this morning that the ITC extension has made it into the new Senate version of the bailout bill. Cleantech industry experts and watchers had all but written an extension off after it looked as though the House would not vote on the last Senate-passed ITC/PTC extension and instead passed a version that the White House said it would veto.The bill is expected to pass through the Senate quickly and h ...

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Some Random Thoughts: Green PR & GoingGreen

Some random thoughts on which I may expand later after digesting the week at GoingGreen:-There is a debate between two camps in solar and other incentive-boosted renewables. One camp says there needs to be a focus on markets with resources (abundant sunlight) and less emphasis on public policy. The other camp thinks that policy is the major issue short and long term. I think they are both right in that even ...

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PG&E: Willing adopter or reluctant participant?

PG&E spoke at yesterday's GoingGreen event and talked a bit about their work in renewables. The speaker didn't take any questions from the audience at the end of the presentation and really just read a laundry list of investments they have made in plants.Now everyone knows that they are mandated to get a certain percentage of energy from renewables, so the traction they have made is not surprising. The ...

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Cleantech to Follow Tech? M&A & IPOs in 2009

Scott Kirsner recaps an interesting post about the M&A climate at the end of 2008 in traditional technology and how the softening economy hasn't necessarily killed M&A activity. In it, a Boston-based VC talks about how 2008 saw some relatively major acquisitions in lieu of companies testing a frigid IPO market.Unlike traditional technology sectors, Cleantech is one area that seemed immune to the coo ...

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Oh, to be a branding firm: PVSEC Post Mortem Part Deux

If there is one thing that struck me most at PVSEC is how much companies need branding help when targeting international events and markets. There are plenty of examples of serious branding errors by US companies, including Chevy "Nova" ("no go" in Spanish) or the Gerber baby food example in some African markets (don't ask). Those companies had millions to spend on brand and marketing re ...

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PVSEC Post Mortem: Solar Investment is Obvious

One of the more notable things we noticed at PVSEC last week is that investment is obviously flowing into solar and is now beyond just funding R&D and manufacturing capacity. Companies are investing a great deal more money in green and cleantech marketing, PR and government relations.The difference between the booths at this year's show and the booths at Solar Power 2007 are very striking. It used to be ...

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PVSEC is Hard Core

iHola from Valencia!One of the things that has struck me the most about the PVSEC conference is where a lot of the exhibiting companies fall in the supply chain. There are a lot of silicon suppliers and robotics/equipment manufacturers. Most of the rest are actual cell and string producers themselves.Along those lines, the sessions and panels were extremely technical focusing on new developments in cell tec ...

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