Thursday, January 29, 2009

Israel Venture Capital Jounal: "Can cleantech sail through the slump?"

The current issue of the Israel Venture Capital Journal, published by the IVC Research Center, is now available online.

Entitled "High C: Can cleantech sail through the slump?" (pdf), the issue contains a list of Israeli cleantech companies and articles by cleantech investors and entrepreneurs, government officials, and service providers:
  • Sustainable development is essential for our future, by Minister of National Infrastructures, Benjamin (Fuad) Ben-Eliezer
  • Belt tightening impacts cleantech trends, by Richard Youngman, Managing Director (Europe) of Cleantech Group
  • The landscape has changed, but the opportunity persists, by Zeev Holtzman, Chairman of IVC and Giza Venture Capital
  • Adjusting to cleantech investment, by Eytan Levy, CEO of Emefcy, and Gene Dolgin, analyst at Israel Cleantech Ventures
  • The next cleantech frontier: Africa, by Daniel Schwab, Managing Director of Kayema Investments, and Miriam Schwab, CEO of Illuminea Marketing & Media
  • Solar thermal energy: Israel and the Obama opportunity, by David Anthony, Managing Partner at 21Ventures
  • Cleantech, Clusters, and Convergence: How investors and entrepreneurs combine to save the planet, Prof. Philip Cooke of Cardiff University
  • US Government Grants: An alternative source of funds for Israeli cleantech startups, by Itai Nevo and Jonathan Shapira of Goodwin Procter LLP
  • Cleantech calls for a different VC approach, by Rafi Gidron, Orni Petruschka, Nimrod Good and Albert Olier of Precede Technologies
  • Light and harmony come mainstream, a profile of Arnold Goldman, Chairman of BrightSource Energy
  • Everything you (n)ever wanted to know about cow manure, by Shlomi Ben-Arush, Marketing Manager at Global Environmental Solutions
  • Early stage investing in a challenging environment, by Astorre Modena, General Partner of Terra Venture Partners
  • The next opportunity in cleantech: A holistic approach to the water and energy nexus, by Booky Oren, Chairman of Miya
  • In a downturn, aggressive communication and PR are key, by Steve Schuster, CEO of Rainier Communications
  • Yes, Israel can take advantage of opportunities in cleantech! by Sarit Soccary Ben Yochanan, CEO of ATI Incubator
  • Cleantech IP trends: intellectual property management from a business perspective, by Sharon Dayan, VP of Business Development at GTT Global Technology Transfer

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tigo Energy adds three cleantech industry veterans to board of advisors

Tigo Energy, a California- and Israel-based solar startup developing technology to increase efficiency in photovoltaic installations, announced today that industry veterans, Professor Takashi Tomita, Mr. Yair Cohen and Dr. Nathan Zommer, have agreed to join the company's board of advisors.
Yair Cohen was previously a Brig. General (Res.) in the IDF and head of the IDF's famous Unit 8200, responsible for collecting signal intelligence and code decryption -- Israel's equivalent to the NSA. As described in this Forbes article, Unit 8200 alumni have founded high-tech companies such as Check Point, ICQ, Nice, AudioCodes and Gilat. Mr. Cohen is now Senior Vice-President of IDB Group, one of Israel's largest holding companies, he occupies executive positions at Clal Energy and Elron, and he is a director of cleantech companies Atlantium and AqWise. In November 2008, Clal Energy announced a collaboration agreement with Tigo Energy.

Nathan Zommer, PhD is the Chairman and CEO of Nasdaq-listed IXYS Corporation, which he founded in 1983. During IXYS' 25 year history, he has been an advocate of energy efficient technologies as strategic investment opportunities. Zommer has served as a director since 1983 and as chairman of the board, president and CEO since March 1993. Prior to founding IXYS, Zommer served in a variety of positions with Intersil, Hewlett Packard and General Electric, including as a scientist in the Hewlett Packard Laboratories and director of the Power MOS division for Intersil/General Electric. Zommer also holds many patents in Power OSFETs and IGBTs.

Takashi Tomita now serves as Visiting Professor of the University of Tokyo, Research Center of Advanced Science and Technology; and as a Member of the Market Strategy Board of the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC). Prior to this, Tomita provided 34 years of successful leadership at SHARP Corporation. As an Executive Director of Sharp and head of the Solar Business Group, Tomita guided the company to become the largest solar supplier in the world for seven consecutive years, achieved a total solar business volume of $1.5bn in 2006, and established Sharp as the top residential solar supplier in Japan.

The three new appointees will join Gary Gerber, President of the California Solar Energy Industries Association -- SEIA; and CEO of Sun, Light & Power on the Tigo Energy board of advisors.

"We are pleased that these gentlemen -- each a key leader in the energy sector -- have recognized the potential within Tigo Energy's solar solution," stated Ron Hadar, President of Tigo Energy. "Each has committed their assistance towards our goal of accelerating solar adoption."

Mr. Cohen, Senior Vice President of IDB Group stated, "Tigo's innovative technology and great people position the company for strong contributions to the Solar Industry. I'm happy to be part of the team."

Speaking of the recent additions to the board of advisors and future of the company, Tigo Energy CEO Sam Arditi said, "Tigo Energy is honored to have these international industry leaders join as advisors. We will take their recommendations seriously and look forward to contributing to the growth of the industry as a whole."

According to the company's web site, Tigo Energy builds hardware and software intelligence into solar energy installations, making them more efficient, more manageable, and safer. By maximizing the energy output of each individual module, Tigo's advanced balance-of-system products deliver lower cost of ownership and a faster return on investment for existing and new solar installations. Started in 2007, Tigo has raised six million dollars in a round led by Matrix Partners and OVP Venture Partners, and successfully deployed beta installations across US and Europe in cooperation with prominent regional installers.

In October 2008, Tigo Energy announced the opening of an office in Kfar Saba, Israel, that will focus on the company's engineering activities. Mordechay (Modi) Avrutsky heads Tigo Energy's Israel operation and serves as Vice President of Engineering.

More information about Tigo Energy's technology and business plan is available online in this presentation by the company.

Related Posts:

BrightView Systems raises $6 million from Israel Cleantech Ventures and Hasso Plattner Ventures

SolarEdge raises $23 million in venture capital

Better Place raises €103 million, names new Danish CEO

Better Place, in conjunction with its Danish utility partner, DONG Energy, announced today it has raised approximately €103 million Euro (770 million Danish Kroner) in equity and convertible debt for the initial deployment of their electric car charging network in Denmark.

Under the terms of the agreement, DONG Energy will assist in the Better Place Denmark network rollout as well as be the preferred supplier of renewable energy to power the network.

In March 2008, Better Place named Better Place Denmark as its second operator following Israel, which recently unveiled its first installed electric charge spots. Starting in 2011 The Renault-Nissan Alliance will begin to commercialize a complete range of electric vehicles adapted to Danish customer requirements

Better Place also named Jens Moberg as Head of Better Place Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Business Development and Chief Executive Officer of Better Place Denmark. As CEO, Mr. Moberg will focus on establishing Denmark as Better Place's first operation in Europe and help expand Better Place to other European countries. He joins Better Place Denmark from Microsoft Corp., where he was responsible for developing and growing Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar enterprise business in Russia, India and China.

Today's announcement follows a series of deals signed by Better Place to construct charging and battery-swapping networks in Australia, California, Canada, Hawaii and Israel.

“With the U.N. Summit on Climate Change around the corner, Denmark has the opportunity to demonstrate to the world what the future of transportation will look like,” said Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO, Better Place. “In Jens Moberg, we’ve selected a world-class business executive to help us implement our model in Denmark, which will serve as a showcase for Europe and the rest of the world as they come to Copenhagen for COP15 in December.”

“Our goal in investing in Better Place Denmark is to help reduce CO2 emissions and increase the consumption of sustainable energy by capturing and leveraging wind power more efficiently,” said Anders Eldrup, CEO and President, DONG Energy. “Under Jens Moberg’s leadership, we look forward to making the Better Place vision a reality in Denmark for the entire world to see.”

Related Posts:

Better Place secures $350 million series B round led by HSBC

Better Place and Hawaii to partner on electric car project

Shai Agassi, Better Place, featured in Wired Magazine

Better Place in talks with Mercedes, Hawaii and San Francisco

Better Place appoints Israel CEO, declares Israel as primary R&D center

BrightView raises $6 million from Israel Cleantech Ventures and Hasso Plattner Ventures

BrightView Systems Ltd., a solar photovoltaic startup based in Petah Tikva, Israel, announced today that it has recently finalized a $6 million Series A round of financing. Eyal Harel, formerly Co-President of Orbotech, has become BrightView's Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Israel Cleantech Ventures (ICV) financed BrightView Systems in mid 2008 and was later joined by Hasso Plattner Ventures (HPV), a Germany-based venture capital fund whose limited partners include CMEA Ventures, Shai Agassi, Arnon Katz and Hasso Plattner, the co-founder of SAP. Glen Schwaber, partner at ICV, is now a director of BrightView Systems.

"BrightView is focused on perfecting the production process of photovoltaic-based solar-cells," said Benny Shoham, BrightView's co-founder and CEO. "Our tools are designed to deliver a solution suite that uniquely addresses some key production gaps while optimized to meet the particular needs of the most advanced solar-cells manufacturers. The current investment will enable us to introduce our first solution to the market during 2009."

"Headquartered in Potsdam (Germany), Hasso Plattner Ventures is well positioned to support BrightView's access to the European market and particularly to Germany, which is by far the most developed solar photovoltaic market in the world today, both in solar deployments and in investments in advanced photovoltaic production," said Eran Davidson, President and CEO of Hasso Plattner Ventures. "We believe that BrightView is addressing an essential key segment that is still insufficiently developed in the photovoltaic industry's value chain.

"BrightView exemplifies our strategy of investing in entrepreneurial teams that leverage Israeli technology know-how to solve major bottlenecks in cleantech markets," noted Glen Schwaber, Partner at Israel Cleantech Ventures. "The company's competitive advantage stems from applying Israel's recognized leadership in the Semiconductor and Flat Panel Display industries to the growing market for solar process equipment."

Related Posts:

Israel Cleantech Ventures closes on $75 million fund

Israel Cleantech buys 11% of AqWise

Pythagoras Solar raises $10m from Israel Cleantech, Pitango, and Evergreen

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ormat secures $65m contract for Costa Rican geothermal plant

Ormat Technologies, Inc. announced that it has signed a contract with Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica ("BCIE") for the supply, supervision of installation, start-up and testing of Las Pailas Geothermal Plant, a new geothermal power plant that is to be constructed in Las Pailas Field, Costa Rica.

The plant will be utilized by Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad ("ICE"), the Costa Rican national electricity and telecommunications company. The contract is valued at approximately $65 million and supply of the power plant is expected to be completed within 18 months from the contract start date.

Ormat Technologies is the U.S-based subsidiary of Yavne, Israel-based Ormat.

This is the second order for an Ormat geothermal power plant in Costa Rica for operation by ICE. ICE has been operating an Ormat 18 MW binary geothermal power plant in Miravalles V since 2004. Ormat has been actively designing, supplying, upgrading and operating geothermal power solutions in Central America since 1999.

Dita Bronicki, CEO of Ormat Technologies, said, "We are very pleased to receive this repeat contract for a geothermal project in Costa Rica and to be able to contribute to the Country's effort to move closer to independence from fossil energy sources. The award of these contracts demonstrates the trust that BCIE and ICE have in our ability to contribute experience and knowledge to the development of this new geothermal field, and we look forward to delivering a high performing power plant on schedule and once again work with ICE's geothermal team."

Ms. Bronicki concluded, "We view this milestone as a demonstration of the effectiveness and reliability of Ormat's solutions and it further reinforces the applicability of our renewable energy solutions to the world electricity markets."

The Pailas plant will mark the fifth geothermal power plant with total capacity of over 150 MW erected and upgraded in Central America by Ormat. The new plant will use water-cooled condensers and will utilize the hi-performance, hi-efficiency organic turbine developed by Ormat for geothermal and recovered-energy applications.

Related Posts:

Ormat geothermal project in Guatemala receives UN CDM registration

Ormat discovers magma chamber in Hawaii

Ormat completes $150m Kenyan geothermal project

Ormat secures Alaskan geothermal rights

Friday, January 16, 2009

Israel sets renewable energy target of 10%

Israel's government this week set a target of producing 10 percent of the country's electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.

The decision was made by the socio-economic cabinet, headed by Finance Minister Roni Bar-On. The panel also set an interim target of 5 percent by 2014.

The Negev and Arava regions will become "national preference" regions for renewable energy, according to the plan put forward by Minister of National Infrastructure Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. Ben-Eliezer's plan calls for the construction of 10 solar power stations in the Negev and Arava between 2010-2020.

Israel has already initiated a process of building solar thermal and photovoltaic power plants at Ashalim, in the Negev desert, that are expected to be operational by 2012.

"Promoting the generation of renewable energy will not only lead to a reduction in the dependency on fossil fuels and the promotion of environmental values but advancing this industry in the south will lead to the development of the periphery in the south," Bar-On said in a statement.

Israel currently produces only 1% of its electricity from renewable sources, while 69% is produced from coal, 23% from natural gas and 7% from diesel fuel or fuel oil, according a report in YNet News.

Related Posts:

Arava Power solar project approved for Negev kibbutz

Finance and Infastructures Ministries in dispute over technology for Israel's first solar power station

Israel plans 250-MW solar power plant

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Viola buys 23% of Amiad Filtration Systems

Viola Private Equity has purchased approximately 23% of Amiad Filtration Systems Ltd. (AIM:AFS) for $9 million.

Viola purchased the stake in Amiad from Icelandic investment firm Atorka Group hf, according to a report in Globes.

Viola partners Harel Beit-On and Osnat Ronen are expected to be named to Amiad's board of directors.

Viola Private Equity partner Osnat Ronen said, "We were impressed that the company has impressive and consistently high growth, high quality products, a wide and stable market, a solid reputation, international standing and talented management. We have been following Amiad for a long time, and turned to a long-term investment, which will lead the company to more significant growth."

Amiad Filtration Systems, controlled by Galilee-based Kibbutz Amiad, with a 53.9 percent stake, manufactures water filtration systems. The company sells its products in 70 countries worldwide. Founded in 1962, Amiad went public on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in 2005.

Viola Private Equity, founded in 2008, is part of the Viola Group founded by Shlomo Dovrat, Harel Beit-On, Avi Zeevi and the late Aharon Dovrat. Viola Group has over $1.8 billion under management.

Related Posts:

Amiad announces rise in profits due to growing demand for clean water

Bloomberg: "Blooming Deserts Turn Israeli Water Industry Into Money Magnet"

Thailand seeks Israeli water technologies

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Afcon and IEC to partner on Galilee wind project

Afcon E.B. Wind Energy Ltd., a subsidiary of Afcon Industries, is in talks to partner with Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) on a $70 million project for installing wind turbines in the Lower Galilee.

As part of the collaboration, IEC has already started the process of obtaining statutory permits for the wind turbine farm, according to a report in Globes.

The wind turbine farm will be set up in Ramat Sirin and the Gilboa mountain ridge, with an output estimated at 40-50 megawatts. The National Planning and Building Board approved the construction of wind turbines in this region in 2003. IEC had previously planned to construct the turbine farm on its own, but after its board refused to finance the project, because of its high cost, the plan was dropped.

Afcon Wind Energy General Manager Dr. Eli Ben Dov was formerly deputy manager of IEC's planning and development division.

Afcon has already reached agreements in principle with the kibbutzim in the area, including Ma'aleh Gilboa, Beit Zera, and Degania, on constructing wind turbines on their land. In the next few months it will apply to the Public Utilities Authority (Electricity) for a conditional license to set up the farm.

Afcon declined to comment on the report. IEC said in response, "The company is doing all in its power to assist the promotion of green energy, and helps private producers in every possible way. The company is a subcontractor to Afcon Wind Energy, and is contributing towards advancing these important projects. The company is prevented from divulging details of commercial agreements with its customers."

Afcon Industries, one of Israel's leading industrial enterprises, is controlled by Shlomo Shmeltzer and traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Motorola owns 9% of the group.

Defense Ministry opposes wind turbines in the Golan Heights

In related news, Globes reports that the Defense Ministry is opposed to the contruction of additional wind turbines in the Golan Heights. If true, this would be a blow to Mei Golan Wind's plans to construct a $600m wind turbine project in the Golan in partnership with U.S.-based AES.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Arava Power solar project approved for Negev kibbutz

Israel's Public Utilities Authority (Electricity) has approved the application of Arava Power Company for a license to build a 4.9-megawatt solar power plant at an 20-acre site at Kibbutz Ketura in the Negev. The project will cost NIS 100 million ($26 million), according to a report in Globes, and will use both photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal technologies.

The Public Utilities Authority plenum approved the conditional license for Arava Power to produce electricity, and sent it to Minister of National Infrastructures Benjamin Ben-Eliezer.

"This is an historic day for renewable energy in Israel," Arava Power Company president Yosef Abramowitz said in a statement. "For the first time, a large solar project is being launched that will be connected to the national grid, with many more megawatts on the way in the coming years. The Public Utility Authority is making a reality Ben-Eliezer's dramatic decision to produce thousands of megawatts of electricity from renewable sources by 2020."

The first solar installation of 100 kilowatts will be built by Edig Solar, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Edig Solar uses solar thermal technology developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. The plant is expected to become operational in March.

Arava Power has signed cooperation agreements with 15 kibbutzim, including Ketura and Yotvata, that own land available sufficient for the production of up to 500 megawatts of electricity at photovoltaic farms. The company predicts that a total of over 20 kibbutzim will join the venture this year.

Kibbutz Ketura owns 40% of Arava Power, and a group of US investors, led by company president Yossi Abramowitz, own the rest. Arava Power plans on announcing its brand-name institutional investors by February 1st, 2009.

Related Posts:

"A Renewable Light Unto the Nations"

Renewable energy park to be built in Arava Valley

Edig Solar provides hybrid solution for cloudy days

Friday, January 2, 2009

BrightSource Energy signs contract with Siemens for solar-powered generator

BrightSource Energy, Inc., developer of large-scale solar thermal energy plants, has signed a contract with Siemens to purchase the steam turbine generator for BrightSource's first 100MW plant at its Ivanpah Solar Power Complex in California's Mojave Desert.

The contract with Siemens is for the supply of a 123 MW fully solar-powered steam turbine generator. When completed, the turbine is expected to be the largest fully solar-powered steam turbine generator to date.

"This contract marks another significant milestone in building California's first large scale-solar power plant in decades," said John Woolard, CEO of BrightSource Energy. "The Siemens high quality solar-powered turbine generator offers additional certainty that the project will deliver cost effective, reliable, and clean solar power."

Due to a lengthy production process, turbine generators must be ordered approximately three years in advance of the planned delivery date. The Siemens turbine is slated to be delivered in early 2011, and BrightSource expects this first phase of its Ivanpah Solar Power Complex to be operational and supplying solar energy to utilities in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The Ivanpah Solar Power Complex that BrightSource is building near the California/Nevada border in the Mojave Desert will power 250,000 homes and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by over 500,000 tons per year. According to BrightSource, the Ivanpah Solar Power Complex will produce more electricity in one year than the total of all of the residential solar installations currently installed in the US.

BrightSource is the parent of Jerusalem, Israel-based BrightSource Industries Israel (BSII), formerly called Luz II. BSII performs R&D, production and project engineering for its California-based parent company.

BrightSource Energy selected as World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer 2009

Last month, BrightSource was selected as a 2009 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. BrightSource was the only solar company to win this year's prestigious award.

The Technology Pioneers Program identifies companies that have contributed to the Forum's mission of improving the state of the world. To be selected as a Technology Pioneer, a company must be involved in the development of life-changing technology innovation and ahve the potential for long-term impact on business and society.

Related Posts:

BrightSource Energy planning 1200 MW solar power facility in Nevada

BrightSource / Luz II dedicate Negev Solar Energy Development Center

BrightSource Energy raises $115 million in latest round of funding