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Is the window for greentech IPOs opening up?

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Two greentech companies that have planned to go public — waste to fuel company Enerkem, and solar inverter company Enphase Energy — have set the expected price ranges for their shares in recent days. Is it a sign that the IPO window is slowly opening back up?

The suggested price ranges for these companies doesn’t necessarily mean that these IPOs are imminent, but indicates that the process that these companies have to go through to go public is moving along. Many of the greentech companies that have planned to go public have seemed to be in a holding pattern for months.

Solar inverter company Enphase Energy says it expects a range of $10 to $12 for its 7.27 million shares, which could raise a maximum offering of $100.36 million, according to the company’s latest amended S-1 filing. Enphase filed for an IPO last June.

Enphase, founded in 2006, develops microinverters, which are attached to each solar panel to monitor power output and convert the direct current from the panel to alternating current for feeding the grid. Conventional solar inverters are usually centralized, pairing one inverter with about a dozen panels, and Enphase has been pioneering a market for microinverters.

Enphase has been growing fast and more than doubled its 2011 revenues. The company generated $149.5 million in revenues during 2011, compared with $61.7 million during 2010. Though, at the same time, Enphase widened its net losses during the same period, to $32.3 million from $21.8 million. Investors in Enphase include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Applied Ventures, Third Point, RockPort Capital, Madrone Partners, and Bay Partners.

Enerkem, which develops technology that turns waste into biofuels, set its expected pricing range at $17 to $19 per share for its 7.25 million shares, according to its latest amended filing. At that range, the company could raise up to $137.8 million. The company filed to go public this February.

Enerkem, founded in 2000, gasifies waste — from old telephone poles to city garbage — and turns the syngas into various fuels including methanol and ethanol. Enerkem has agreements with Waste Management and Valero to sell its equipment, and also counts Waste Management, and Valero as investors. Rho Ventures, Braemer Energy Ventures and the Westly Group, have also invested in the company.

Enerkem didn’t generate any revenue in 2011, because it’s in a pre-commercial stage, and lost $26.17 million over the same period.

Window opening?

A lot of greentech companies that have planned to go public — and filed back in 2011 — have been in a seeming holding pattern. Some of these include smart grid firm Silver Spring Networks, solar thermal company BrightSource Energy, and electric car company Smith Electric Vehicles.

Last August, the entire IPO market seemed to take a significant hit thanks to the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard & Poor and debt troubles in Europe. In recent months, though, with Facebook’s IPO plans and Groupon’s IPO in November, the overall IPO market seems to be looking up.

Nancy Pfund, managing director at DBL Investors, told me in an interview recently that she is closely watching Facebook’s IPO plans, as a potential indicator for the possibilities of IPOs for some of her portfolio companies. DBL Investors has invested in solar panel installer SolarCity, which reportedly could file to IPO soon, and BrightSource Energy.

Given Enerkem is a mostly a pre-revenue company, it might not have such a successful IPO. But Enerkem likely needs the money to scale its business. For a variety of biofuel and greentech firms, the IPO has turned into a sort of fund raise, and several biofuel firms went public last year.

However for greentech companies that are growing and generating substantial revenues these new pricings could indicate that now is a good time to kick start those stalled IPO plans. Will we see Silver Spring make its public debut this Summer?

Image courtesy of aBooth202.