Thursday, April 21, 2005

Solar momentum, and natural gas extraction

A couple of deals over the last couple of days are interesting to note:
  • SunPower (owned by Cypress Semiconductor Corp.) announced a deal to sell $300M worth of their newest A-300 silicon-based photovoltaic cells to German PV module manufacturer SOLON AG over 5 years. Another sign of how hot the solar industry is right now, esp. in Germany. This means adding another 25MW of capacity at SunPower -- as point of reference, last year total PV installations worldwide were 927MW. That's 62% growth off of 2003 -- and Germany's installations grew 152%. Solar is getting to be a big market with a lot of room for upstarts. But it's also still very much driven by particular regional subsidies.
  • WellDog announced a new round of funding led by EnerTech Capital. The company has "downhole" sensing technologies that help natural gas extractors find reserves more efficiently. Some clean energy investors cannot participate in any fossil fuel-based technologies, while others point out that technologies like WellDog's can help minimize the environmental impact of drilling and extraction that's going on anyway, and that (all things being equal) that's a relative environmental gain. An ongoing discussion with many sides. But for investors in the latter camp, technologies like WellDog's can be compelling investments, best of luck to Tucker Twitmeyer and the team at EnerTech.


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