* SolFocus Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., has secured $25 million in private financing to go toward the commercialization and advancement of its solar concentrator technology. SolFocus has a joint venture with Xerox PARC, which is more or less acting as an incubator for the company. Its concentrator technology can significantly increase the efficiency of solar systems and the company has plans of building mulit-megawatt solar farms, which claims can be competitive with conventional fossil fuel systems. Yet another example of the massive dollars flowing into the solar business.
* The government of Northern Ireland is considering a proposal that would make it mandatory to include some form of wind, solar PV, solar thermal or another renewable technology on all new homes, offices and public buildings that are built after 2008. It’s such a quick, simple and effective solution…
* Xantrex Technology saw revenues in its second quarter jump after achieving 72-per-cent growth in its renewable energy business, which sells inverters for solar and wind projects. Adding to the company’s momentum was an announcement that solar upstart SunPower Corp. has decided to purchase and rebrand Xantrex inverters as part of the complete solar systems it sells to U.S. customers. This is a significant coup for Xantrex, further solidifying its leading position in the U.S. solar market for power electronics.
* Ballard Power also had a good quarter, slashing costs, beating analysts’ estimates and touting now that its non-auto fuel cell business will be profitable within the next couple of years. The company is now focusing more of its efforts on back-up power, forklifts, and co-generation fuel cell units for home heating and electricity. If you ask me, Japan and China hold the key for Ballard, at least on the co-gen side and specifically China when it eventually comes to cars. On a side note, former Ballard CEO Dennis Campbell is now devoting his efforts on opportunities in the ethanol industry.
* Finally, the Cleantech Capital Alert reports that California and Massachussets lead the United States in both number, size and diversity of venture capital investments in the cleantech space.