MIT researchers have developed another interesting way to boost the efficiency of the typical silicon solar cell. Read more »
A lawsuit against battery startup Envia — from its former CEO and two other former employees — looks headed for dismissal. Read more »
I’m all for a revolution in energy and cars, but it can happen faster if we understand the dynamics of how these sectors work. Read more »
Individuals will soon be able to invest in SolarCity’s solar panel projects, following its acquisition of a small startup called Common Assets. Read more »
Plastics and chemicals that have ditched crude oil, could be the result of a new partnership between a startup and a Brazilian petrochemical giant. Read more »
Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla has written a 2,000-word open letter to 60 Minutes and CBS in response to their recent “Cleantech Crash” report, which featured lengthy interviews with Khosla and a tour of one of Khosla’s portfolio companies. He asserts that there are numerous errors in the piece, that the journalists who made it were practicing “agenda-driven bastardization of news reporting,” and that the story “grossly misrepresented the state of the sustainable energy industry.”
You can read the entire letter here. He also says in the letter that Khosla Venture’s “cleantech portfolio is profitable.” Here’s my take on the 60 Minutes piece; here’s NRG CEO David Crane’s response; and here’s clean power entrepreneur and investor Jigar Shah’s take.
Google keeps on keepin’ on with its latest support of a wind farm near its Oklahoma data center. Read more »
Tesla sent many more cars than expected to customers last quarter, but is meanwhile dealing with a recall over charging overheating. Read more »
Here’s my take on who wins and who loses in Google’s planned $3.2 billion purchase of Nest, from investors to competitors to industries. Read more »
The Refugee Project is an example of what cutting edge data designers can do with the massive amount of data sets that were buried within the U.N.’s refugee group. Read more »
Electric car company Tesla Motors announced on Friday that it’s pushed an over-the-air software update to its Model S cars that will stop overheating while charging in the event that the electrical outlet has faulty wiring, corrosion or physical damage. Tesla also sent its customers a new charger wall adapter that will address the same overheating issues. The move follows an incident where a garage caught on fire in Irvine, Calif., which may or may not have been caused by charging a Tesla Model S, and Jalopnik and Bloomberg note that there have been several issues with overheating while charging last year.
Tesla’s Model X is supposed to launch to its first customers at the end of this year and in early 2015, but already the car is starting to be seen driving around the streets near Tesla’s design shop in Los Angeles. InsideEVs posted these pics, and says it seems to be the only fully operational Model X yet in existence. We took these pics of the Model X prototype in early 2012.
Look for the next generation of batteries, particularly for the power grid, to come out this year from some interesting startups. Read more »
A funky battery that’s made of natural materials and uses liquid tanks is being developed in a lab at Harvard. If the breakthrough makes it to market it could be a low cost energy storage option for clean power. Read more »
While batteries for the power grid might not be all that sexy of a topic, Aquion Energy is using water and salt, it’s backed by Bill Gates, and it’s aiming to commercialize its battery this year. Read more »
Kleiner Perkins has been restructuring itself, and part of that plan has been to emphasize the importance of product design, and work with up and coming young designers. Kleiner’s new Design Partner, the former President of RISD John Maeda, announced on Tuesday that Kleiner’s 2014 design fellows program is now open for applications. Design-minded Kleiner companies include Nest, Flipboard, Jawbone, Spotify and Square.
Two of venture firm Venrock’s energy investors, Matt Trevithick and Matthew Nordan, have left the firm. Trevithick is an accomplished investor who was one of my first interviews after I launched the cleantech site. We’ve published many pieces from Nordan on the state of cleantech venture capital on this site, and Nordan has launched a clean energy project development company focused on China called MNL Partners (which is keeping a low profile). Both investors worked on Venrock’s Nest deal.
Startup View raises a whopper of a round from the private equity firm associated with the Walmart heirs. Can another $100 million deliver on-demand tinting windows across the country? Read more »
Apple plans to continue building and owning solar panel farms near its data centers, following its first in North Carolina, and another reported in Reno, Nevada. Now it’s planning one in Oregon. Read more »
Amprius’ lithium ion batteries can deliver gadgets that last 25 percent longer between charges. The company is now working on commercializing those batteries and even looking at using them for electric cars. Read more »
60 Minutes just aired one of the more mainstream looks yet at the Silicon Valley cleantech rise and fall. While they got some things right they also got some wrong. My take here. Read more »
Now that Airbnb has grown up, has a huge valuation, and is causing fear in the hotel lobby in cities across the world, can the traveler experience get a little better, please? Read more »
A report says Nest is raising another whopper of a funding round. Here’s why it needs such a large chunk of change now. Read more »
Here’s the 13 biggest things I paid attention to this year around next-generation energy, sustainability, and resource management. Oh heck, let’s just keep calling it cleantech. Read more »
As the world’s cities get ever more crowded, the web sharing economy emerged into the mainstream this year. Next stop, booming cities in developing nations. Read more »
The New York Times profiles a growing ecosystem for entrepreneurs and startups in Japan. Though, all of these “where’s the next Silicon Valley” articles always make the inevitable comparison to the Valley:
The 20-somethings in jeans sipping espresso and tapping on laptops at this Tokyo business incubator would look more at home in Silicon Valley than in Japan, where for years the surest signs of success were the gray suits of its corporate salarymen.
What was one of the hottest solar states in 2013 in the U.S.? Would you expect it was North Carolina? Read more »
More efficient power electronics might not be all that sexy. But a startup is scaling up the process to make next-generation power conversion a reality. Read more »
Tesla plans to boost Model S production by 35,000 cars, and it’ll be using tax breaks from California to do it. Read more »
Ridejoy, the ride sharing startup, will soon be no more. It’s the latest startup to try its hand at this difficult market (in the U.S.) and fall short. The same market is growing quickly in Europe. Read more »
Apple’s Reno data center is already underway, but not surprisingly it’s a bit controversial: Apple has a deal for an 85 percent reduction on its property taxes. Read more »
The ghost of Google’s PowerMeter is back! Maybe. In the form of a reported smart thermostat and energy data trial from Google. Read more »
The smart heating devices in the U.K. score resoundingly poor on usability, and user satisfaction. Time to step up design in the energy field. Read more »
Kleiner tried to get you jetpacks. It was called cleantech, and it cleaned their clock. Read more »
Can a startup making tech for energy efficient refrigerators and window-mounted coolers get its products to market in China? Read more »
This startup’s data analytics can quickly and cheaply determine the energy information of a big building without anyone stepping in the place. Read more »
Who’s buying the most next-gen light bulbs — both LEDs and CFLs? Home Depot knows. It’s collected that sales data and created this heat-map-style graphic. Read more »
Solar panels had another rockin’ quarter in the U.S., breaking records left and right, according to a new report. Read more »
In 2012 beleaguered Fisker actually had $170 million in income from sales of its electric cars. That makes the fall of Fisker just that more painful. Read more »