It's been a slow month so far for cleantech deals, at least the ones that have been announced. But there have still been some news items of interest over the last few days:
- The high cost of high-quality silicon has been a big challenge for the solar industry. Many of the recently-funded solar startups are working to avoid the use of silicon altogether. But now comes word of another alternative, as UC Berkeley researchers have developed a way for PV to work with low-grade "dirty" silicon.
- We've talked before about the debate out SOFCs. In a bit of a mixed signal, here's news of a DOE contract being awarded to GE Energy to pursue coal-fueled SOFC. It's a mixed signal because, while it's a good forward movement for the technology overall to see such attention and resources devoted to the space, it's also a sign that a significant share of the funding and endorsements are already going to large players, even before the smaller startup vendors can get good market traction for themselves.
- The emerging solar industry ecosystem continues to come together. Public policies are increasingly being put in place to encourage adoption, technology continues to advance, and now there's even more word of financing options being made available, this time by Nationwide Mortgage. This follows on the emergence of financial-focused developers such as SunEdison, and the news that GE Commercial Finance is developing options to finance rooftop systems. Now if mounting systems and installation costs could be better optimized, the broader feasibility of solar would really start to improve...