13 solar startups to watch in 2013

Solar makers are getting squeezed in a difficult global solar market, but the growth of solar panel installations continues to soar. This should all make 2013 a very interesting year for solar startups. Here’s 13 solar startups to watch in 2013:

Wanted: The ability to fail

If the world wants solutions to its most intractable problems — getting enough food, water and fuel for 9 billion people, for example — entrepreneurs must be able to try out big ideas. And fail sometimes.

Note to Romney: Tesla is not Solyndra

Solyndra not surprisingly got a mention in the first Presidential debates on Wednesday night as a symbol of misplaced spending. But another cleantech company surprisingly got lumped into the mix, too: Tesla. My thoughts: Tesla is no Solyndra.

Solar startup SoloPower aims to do what Solyndra couldn’t

Silicon Valley solar startup, SoloPower, is turning on its first large-scale factory in Oregon at a time when many solar manufacturers have crashed and burned. The factory will pave the way for the company to use a $197 million federal loan guarantee to expand its factory.


Flash analysis: how the Model S will change Tesla and the electric-car market

Tesla’s Model S represents a new chapter for the Silicon Valley–born, venture capital–backed company and a new hope for the mainstream adoption of electric vehicles. In a recent survey we asked GigaOM readers to weigh in on the future of both Tesla and what the fate of its new vehicle means for the future of the entire EV industry. The results are collected and analyzed here.

The latest cleantech VC: China

Does the Chinese government want to be a cleantech VC? That seems to be the case as the government announced a plan to invest directly or through venture capital funds in startups that are developing technologies including alternative energy and cars.

Fall special: solar companies for sale

The sale season is on for solar. SpectraWatt, which filed for bankruptcy last month, plans to hold a live auction of its silicon solar factory equipment on Sept. 28. Others will follow.

Solyndra to file for bankruptcy, lay off 1,100

After getting a $535 million federal loan guarantee for building a factory, solar thin-film startup Solyndra is going out of business. Solyndra has also raised close to a billion dollars in equity and loans and said it will file Chapter 11.

PHOTO: Solyndra Goes Greenhouse

Thin film solar firm Solyndra might have had its share of problems throughout 2010, but here’s a seriously cool application for its tube-shaped solar panels: greenhouses.

This Is the Make or Break Year for Solyndra

Solar company Solyndra, which has been on a roller coaster ride of funding and political attention over the past two years, is now slowly ramping up production at its new factory. Will it survive, meet expectations and one day turn into a solar powerhouse?

VIDEO: Inside Solyndra’s Factory

Despite some of the trials and tribulations of thin film solar firm Solyndra, we’ve been curious to get a look at how they make the tubular panels. Solyndra just released this video, which shows some of the key steps.

Solyndra Scores So Cal Rooftop Solar Deal

In the midst of recent turmoil at solar panel maker Solyndra, including swapping out its CEO and shelving its IPO plans, the VC-backed startup has some good news: a deal to sell 18 rooftop solar systems, (16.2 MW), to utility Southern California Edison (SCE).

Solyndra's Founding CEO to Step Down

Solyndra, the solar startup that ditched its IPO dreams last month, is now swapping out its CEO. Brian Harrison, the former President and CEO of flash memory maker Numonyx, B.V, has replaced founding CEO Chris Gronet as Solyndra’s new CEO.

HelioVolt: Raising Funds to Get Out of Neutral?

While thin film solar startup Solyndra teed up an IPO, and then had to ditch it earlier this month, other thin film solar firms are still solidly stuck in neutral. Everyone’s still waiting for the announcement from HelioVolt to say that it has moved into commercial production

Solyndra Ditches IPO, Raises More Money

For Solyndra, looks like going public isn’t such a good plan after all. The solar company says tonight it has opted to raise $175 million by selling convertible promissory notes from existing investors instead of doing an IPO.

PHOTOS: Solyndra's Largest Installation in the U.S.

Solar tube maker, and Department of Energy-darling, Solyndra is showing off its largest installation in the U.S., on the rooftop of packaging company LPS Industries. The 704 kW system, which includes 3,800 Solyndra solar panels, is in Moonachie, New Jersey, and was installed in 4 weeks.