Cleantech third quarter 2014: analysis and outlook

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Samsung gears up for the smart home
  3. Tesla chooses Nevada for battery factory
  4. Fuels cells keep on trucking
  5. The solar renaissance
  6. Near-term outlook
  7. Key takeaways
  8. About Adam Lesser

1. Summary

Optimism that the smart home will be a profitable IoT consumer market continues with Samsung’s acquisition of hub/platform provider SmartThings. The move could be a new direction for the consumer electronics giant since SmartThings is a much more open ecosystem play than we’ve seen from Samsung.

On the renewable energy front, the twin darlings of cleantech, SolarCity and Tesla, furthered their vertical integration by breaking ground on two factories. Multiple solar IPOs are on deck, a sign that the capital markets have a renewed openness to solar and cleantech. Finally, fuel cell technology, long a dog of cleantech investing, may be turning a corner as signs that distributed generation for corporations with mission critical infrastructure looks more and more like a viable niche market.

This report will examine the following events and their implications for the near term:

  • Samsung’s acquisition of hub maker SmartThings marks further focus on the smart home for the consumer IT giant. The tide is turning toward IT leaders that can manage device fragmentation while keeping smart home ecosystems as open as possible.
  • The state of Nevada has won the competition to land Tesla’s massive new lithium ion battery factory, which should produce batteries for 500,000 EVs by 2020. Arguments over whether the $1.25 billion incentives package was worth it for the state are ongoing but in the long-term states like Nevada are eager to reinvent themselves as tech hubs.
  • Intelligent Energy IPO’ed, becoming the most valuable publicly held fuel cell company in the world. Fuel cells continue to search for a promising end market application but distributed power generation for customers with mission critical infrastructure (like data centers) is looking like a promising market.
  • With multiple solar industry IPOs in the works, latter stage capital is flowing toward solar, encouraged by SolarCity’s share price success. The rooftop solar industry will get increasingly competitive as SolarCity vertically integrates and squeezes its competition.


Thumbnail image courtesy: iStock/Thinkstock

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