Cleantech third-quarter 2012: analysis and outlook

1 Summary

The third quarter in cleantech brought into focus the successes and challenges of moremature companies like Tesla, Airbnb, and Zipcar. It also highlighted energy challenges in India and China. Key highlights from the quarter include:

  • Tesla’s production schedule came under fire as the company raised additional capital via a secondary offering. All the while the company said it would be cash-flowpositive by the end of November and laid out its ambitious vehicle road map.
  • The share economy leaders, Airbnb and Zipcar, are facing the best of times and the worst of times. Airbnb went to market to raise cash, as its hockey-stick growth requires more fuel. Zipcar is struggling to establish a greater number of strong markets while having to take a hard look at its membership model.
  • Politics and the global stage continue to impact cleantech, as the largest antidumping trade case ever, between the EU and China over solar panels, got into full swing. Coupled with the investigation are a looming consolidation among Chinese solar makers and numerous near-term problems for the leading Chinese panel makers.
  • Finally the Indian power outage in July caused many to take stock of how one of the most promising developing economies is going to power itself. Opportunities, particularly in the microgrid and solar space, will arise out of a power outage that impacted 10 percent of the world’s population.

This quarterly wrap-up discusses these milestones and provides a near-term outlook for trends, technologies and companies to watch in the next 18 to 24 months.