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SolarCity panels on a Walmart, courtesy of SolarCity.
photo: Image courtesy of SolarCity.

When Walmart decides to invest in emerging green technologies it offers considerable validation. That’s certainly the intention behind Walmart’s announcement that it will pay for solar electricity from installations that use thin film solar panels from MiaSole and First Solar and are installed by SolarCity. Read more »

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Amazon is looking to buy out U.K.-based video rental firm Lovefilm in a deal that would value it at £200 million. Buying Lovefilm could give Amazon a stronger position in the U.K. and also give it some expertise to compete with Netflix’s DVD-by-mail and streaming businesses. Read more »

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Battery startup Contour Energy Systems says it has developed a new battery technology based on the volatile material fluorine, which can deliver longer lasting, higher power batteries for devices spanning from smart meters to pacemakers, and — potentially years down the road — electric vehicles and laptops. Read more »

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FriendCaller, a browser-based click-to-call voice calling service developed by Dortmund, Germany-based startup C2Call, is once again showing that despite Skype’s monstrous market share, the game isn’t over just yet. The company is adding thousands of new users every day. Read more »

Xeround, a Bellevue, WA-based start-up has come out of stealth and has launched the beta version of MySQL in the cloud and is offering relational database as an on-demand service. Xeround is available either as Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) or as a virtual appliance. Read more »

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Of 39 startups who have participated in TechStars through this spring, six have been acquired, five have failed, and 28 are still active. If nothing else, you have to love that level of transparency. In an interview, founder David Cohen shared more. Read more »

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Seaweed: great for sushi, skin care and … powering cars? Bio Architecture Lab (BAL) thinks so, and it announced Wednesday that it has lined up a Norwegian oil heavy weight, Statoil, to help it bring its technology to market. Read more »

As Big Data gathers steam within the consumer web, Cloudera is making it possible for mainstream IT to tap into this trend through its distribution of Hadoop, suggested by the company’s customer growth. Lower costs and improved ease-of-use are making Hadoop a reality for enterprise. Read more »

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Intel has taken up a patriotic cause this year, paying special attention to promising U.S.-based companies. The company announced four software and chip companies that have collectively received over $30 million from its Intel Capital Invest in America Technology Fund, including an energy software maker. Read more »

StorSimple, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based company that combines enterprise and cloud storage has raised $13 million in new funding in a round led by Mayfield Fund. Ignition Partners is also a new investor in the company, and joins previous investors, Index Ventures and Redpoint Ventures. Read more »

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Lithium ion battery maker A123 Systems officially opened up its stimulus money-funded battery factory in Michigan, which will eventually reach 600 megawatt hours of annual production capacity, and, according to the company, represents the largest lithium ion battery plant for electric vehicles in the U.S. Read more »

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Cloud and mobile computing represent two of the biggest technology trends today, with each pushing processing closer to the edge. Today, Encoding.com announced tools to make propagation of video content across mobile devices a simple click-and-go process for publishers, further solidifying the matchmaking of cloud and mobile. Read more »

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DataSphere Technologies, which has developed a hyper-local news and advertising software platform for content publishers, today announced that it has closed a $10-million Series C financing round led by OVP Venture Partners and will be using the funds to expand its operations into more local communities. Read more »

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Hunch.com co-founder and angel investor Chris Dixon has some advice for big venture capital firms: Try to think more like, and behave more like, the startup companies you invest in. That includes cutting down on excessive management fees and not tweeting about your golf game. Read more »

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As Twitter focuses on building up its own services and applications, financing for pure-play Twitter-based startups has dropped sharply, according to CB Insights. The investment-tracking firm says figures show funding for Twitter apps and services has fallen by more than 50 percent over the past year. Read more »

SoloPower

After years of talking about flexible, light-weight solar thin film material that can drape over roofs, manufacturers are finally starting to deliver. SoloPower is announcing on Tuesday that its first flexible solar panel has gotten UL certification, which is required for installation in many U.S. regions. Read more »

Heading into the Labor Day weekend our reading list offers up stories on IBM’s prescient storage moves, whether or not the age of platforms as a service is over, yet another NoSQL commercialization startup and an overview of how Citrix sees the cloud. Enjoy. Read more »

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Digg, which is in the midst of a hot-button redesign, has hired a new CEO, long-time Amazon executive Matt Williams, as TechCrunch first reported today and Digg has confirmed to us. Williams was most recently general manager of Amazon’s payments initiative. Read more »

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Chartbeat, which offers real-time website analytics, has closed a $3-million Series A round of financing from a group of VCs led by Index Ventures. This is the first external financing the startup has taken after being founded by betaworks, the venture group/incubator run by John Borthwick. Read more »

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