Thursday, May 20, 2010

BrightSource Energy raises $150 Million Series D financing

BrightSource Energy, Inc., developer of utility-scale solar thermal power plants, has raised an additional $150 million in its most recent equity financing. The Series D round brings BrightSource’s total equity financing to more than $300 million and positions the company for significant growth.

New investors including Alstom and the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) joined existing investors in this round, led by VantagePoint Venture Partners, Morgan Stanley and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

The additional financing will be used to support BrightSource's 2,610 megawatts in contracts with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Southern California Edison to build 14 solar power plants in the US southwest by 2016. The funds will also be used by BrightSource to further its international expansion plans.

“A Series D capital raise of this magnitude reflects the market’s confidence in our world-class team and the important role of our Luz Power Tower technology in meeting the growing global demand for cost-effective and reliable solar power,” said John Woolard, Chief Executive Officer of BrightSource. “By adding new strategic investors to our current blue chip investor base, we strengthen our ability to make solar thermal energy a significant part of the world’s energy mix.”

As part of the financing, global power-generation leader Alstom has committed to invest up to $55 million. This investment in BrightSource represents Alstom’s entry into the solar market and underscores BrightSource’s leading position in this industry.

Philippe Joubert, Alstom Power President, said, “BrightSource Energy’s market-leading solar-tower thermal-power technology complements Alstom’s strong portfolio of renewable energy solutions, building on our strength in hydro, geothermal, wind, tidal power, biomass and waste-to-energy solutions. Following this investment, both companies intend to enter into an industrial relationship, which will enhance BrightSource’s leading position in this industry.”

In February 2010, BrightSource received a conditional commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy for $1.37 billion in loan guarantees to support the financing of BrightSource’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System project – the first of its US-based power projects. Once constructed, Ivanpah will be the world’s largest solar energy project, nearly doubling the amount of solar thermal electricity produced in the US today. The project will also create more than 1,000 local jobs at the peak of construction and generate $250 million in construction wages. The power plant will be constructed by Bechtel, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the Ivanpah project. BrightSource expects to commence construction later this year.

“The BrightSource team continues to execute at the highest levels and set the bar for the utility-scale solar industry,” said Alan Salzman, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of VantagePoint Venture Partners. “With BrightSource’s proven ability to hit commercial and technological milestones, we see no limit to the company’s potential in transforming global power markets.”

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.

In June 2008, BrightSource launched the Negev Solar Energy Development Center, a demonstration plant producing the world’s highest temperature steam from solar, at the Rotem Industrial Park near Dimona, Israel.

Related Posts:

BrightSource / Luz II dedicate Negev Solar Energy Development Center

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BrightSource Energy signs contract with Siemens for solar-powered generator

BrightSource Energy signs 1.3 GW solar thermal deal with SCE

BrightSource Energy planning 1200 MW solar power facility in Nevada

Arnold Goldman, Chairman of BrightSource Energy

BrightSource Energy raises $115 million in latest round of funding

BrightSource Energy signs large solar deal with PG&E

Monday, May 10, 2010

Emefcy raises $5m Series A financing

Emefcy, a microbial fuel cell startup based in Caesarea, Israel, has raised $5 million at a company value of more than $10 million, post-money.

UK investment fund Pond Venture Partners led the round, joined by current Emefcy investors Israel Cleantech Ventures Funds and Plan B Ventures, according to Globes and IVC Online.

Emefcy, co-founded by serial entrepreneurs Eytan Levy and Ronen Shechter, is developing the MEGAWATTER™ technology. This technology produces low cost electricity (at $0.10/kWhr) and hydrogen in a bio-electro-chemical process from wastewater treatment by leveraging Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology.

Levy and Shechter previously founded wastewater treatment company AqWise. In February 2009, this blog detailed Emefcy's efforts to raise a $3.5-$5.0 million Series A financing. That same month, Levy presented at a public event at MIT organized by the Boston Israel Cleantech Alliance. Plan B Ventures is based in Boston and its principal, Barbara Goldman, is a member of the Boston Israel Cleantech Alliance.

Levy told Globes, "The capital raised will help us set up a commercial pilot. We've already established laboratory pilots on increasingly larger scales. Progress to a commercial pilot is based on the successful results of the laboratory pilots."

Emefcy's Scientific Advisory Board includes Prof. Bruce Logan of Pennsylvania State University, Prof. Derek Lovely of the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) and Prof. Bruce Rittmann, Director of the Biodesign Institute at the University of Arizona.

Related Posts:

Emefcy signs collaboration agreements, raising Series A funds

Israel Cleantech buys 11% of AqWise

AqWise founders start new cleantech venture

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

EnStorage raises $15M Series B financing led by Warburg Pincus

Israeli fuel cell start-up EnStorage Ltd. has raised $15 million in a Series B financing round.

U.S. private equity fund Warburg Pincus led the round, and was joined by all of EnStorage's current investors, including Greylock Partners, Canaan Partners, Siemens TTB, and Wellington Partners, according to a report in "Globes".

EnStorage was founded in 2007 by VP R&D Dr. Arnon Blum, Chief Scientific Officer Prof. Emanuel Peled of Tel Aviv University, Chairman Nachman Shelef, and former CEO Eran Yarkoni.

EnStorage is developing and commercializing energy storage systems, based on technology developed for over by Prof. Emanuel Peled and his team at Tel Aviv University. The technology is licensed from Ramot, the technology transfer company of Tel Aviv University.

According to the EnStorage web site, James Levy, a Principal at Warburg Pincus, has joined the EnStorage Board of Directors.

EnStorage raised a $2 million Series A financing in January 2008.

Eran Yarkoni was the featured speaker at the first CleanIsrael Meetup in March 2008. Congratulations to the EnStorage team for the Series B financing!

Related Posts:

EnStorage raises $2m from Greylock, Canaan and Siemens Venture Capital

Highlights from first CleanIsrael meetup event

Monday, February 22, 2010

GreenRoad raises $10M from Al Gore's Generation Investment Management

GreenRoad, which is developing technologies to encourage safe and fuel-efficient driving behavior, announced today that it has raised $10 million in financing from Generation Investment Management, the investment firm co-founded in 2004 by Al Gore.

GreenRoad will use the proceeds of this financing to accelerate the deployment of its GreenRoad 360 service among existing and new customers.

GreenRoad 360, the Company's proprietary technology-based service, provides drivers and fleet managers with real-time, comprehensive and preventative feedback, analysis, reporting and coaching on drivers’ abilities, maneuvers and patterns.

According to GreenRoad, driving behavior is the largest single contributor to driving safety and fuel efficiency and costs the US and Europe over $500 billion dollars per year. A typical GreenRoad customer sees up to a 50% reduction in crash costs and up to a 10% reduction in fuel consumption within the first year. As a result, GreenRoad delivers an innovative solution that saves lives, saves fleets money in top vehicle expense categories (fuel, crash, wear & tear, insurance) and provides a cost-effective way to reduce emissions.

“We are very excited to welcome Generation, whose investment philosophy and leadership in sustainability is a perfect fit with GreenRoad,” said Dan Steere, CEO of GreenRoad. “At GreenRoad, our job is to make our roads safer and greener and we look forward to working with Generation in leading the way to cleaner, safer and more cost-efficient transportation.”

GreenRoad is headquartered in Redwood Shores, California, with sales offices throughout the U.S. and UK and an R&D Center in Or Yehuda, Israel, which has 90 employees. The company was founded in 2003 by Chief of Safety Hod Fleishman and CTO Ofer Raz.

GreenRoad has raised $48 million to date, including the present financing round, from Generation Investment Management and existing investors DAG Ventures, Benchmark Capital, Virgin Green Fund, Amadeus Capital and Balderton Capital.

Related Posts:

GreenRoad raises $15 million from DAG Ventures and existing investors

GreenRoad awarded contract for the world's largest teen driver technology-based safety program

UK bus company to deploy GreenRoad Safety Center

GreenRoad raises $17.5 million in Series C funding

Thursday, February 18, 2010

AquAgro Fund acquires Kinrot water incubator

AguAgro Fund LP has acquired water technology incubator Kinrot Technology Ventures from Canada's Stern Partners Inc. in a share-swap deal, reports Globes.

Stern Partners, run by president Ronald Stern, will reportedly get a stake in AquAgro, an Israeli venture capital fund focused on innovative water and agriculture technologies, although terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor regulations governing Israel's Technological Incubators Program require that AquAgro inject at least $3 million into Kinrot over three years.

Stern Partners ran Kinrot for the last three years following the incubator's privatization. Under the leadership of CEO Assaf Barnea, Kinrot has invested in a portfolio of 11 cleantech start-ups and entered into strategic partnership agreements with Israel's Mekorot, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and the Milwaukee 7 Water Council.

B. Gaon Holdings Ltd. controls AquAgro through Gaon Agro Industries Ltd.. Gaon Holdings CEO and Gaon Agro chairman Shai Preminger told Globes, "Gaon Holdings is one of the players that, a decade ago, inscribed on its flag investment in the water and cleantech industries, through Gaon Agro. The acquisition of Kinrot turns AquAgro, which we own, into the leading Israeli investor in the water and cleantech technologies."

Related Posts:

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Kinrot incubator names Assaf Barnea as CEO

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Advanced Desalination Technologies raises $4m from AquAgro Fund

CellEra raises $2 million from Israel Cleantech Ventures and BrainsToVentures

CellEra Inc., a Caesarea, Israel-based start-up developing a platinum-free membrane-based fuel cell technology (PFM-FC), has reportedly raised $2 million from German angel investor group BrainsToVentures and existing investor Israel Cleantech Ventures.

According to a German press release from BrainsToVentures and an article in the Financial Times’ German edition, both of which were originally reported by Earth2Tech, CellEra has raised $2 million and developed its first prototype.

CEO Ziv Gottesfeld, in an interview with Earth2Tech, confirmed the news and said that the $2 million is part of a larger investment round.

Gottesfeld also says that CellEra already is working with a major manufacturer and is integrating its fuel cells into backup power systems. CellEra plans to use its new cash to turn its working prototype into its first commercial product, Gottesfeld told Earth2Tech, adding that the company aims to have products ready for the market in two years.

According to the press release from BrainsToVentures, CellEra believes it can cut fuel-cell development and manufacturing costs by more than 70 percent by eliminating the most expensive material – platinum. Platinum currently costs $1500 per ounce, approximately double the price from a year ago.

Christian Sch├╝etz, a at BrainsToVentures, told the Financial Times’ German edition that he expects CellEra to introduce fuel cells for hybrid cars by 2015.

Gottesfeld refuses to speculate on when CellEra's technology would be ready for vehicle applications, but he said that CellEra's technology could work “very nicely and cost-effectively” with batteries to extend the range of electric vehicles in the future.

CellEra, founded in 2007 by CEO Ziv Gotttesfeld and VP R&D Dario Dekel, raised an inital $2 million investment from Israel Cleantech Ventures in 2008. Later that year, Roger Saillant, a fuel cell industry veteran and former CEO of NASDAQ-listed Plug Power, joined CellEra's board of directors.

CellEra's CTO is Dr. Shimshon Gottesfeld, former CTO for MTI Micro and the director of the fuel cell research program at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Related Posts:

Roger Saillant, fuel cell industry veteran, joins CellEra board of directors

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Israel Cleantech Ventures invests in CellEra, fuel cell startup

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Terra Venture Partners Israel's most active VC in 2009

Terra Venture Partners, a Jerusalem-based venture capital fund focused on seed and early-stage cleantech investments, was recently named Israel's most active venture capital investor for 2009.

According to the IVC Research Center, Terra Venture Partners made six first investments in 2009, followed closely by Carmel Ventures, Giza Venture Capital, Jerusalem Venture Partners, Magma Venture Partners, Pitango Venture Capital, Sequoia Capital, which each made five first investments in 2009.

Terra Venture Partners has $25 million under management and is headed up by general partners Astorre Modena and Harold Wiener. Its initial investments in 2007 were in wind energy start-up IQWind and energy efficiency start-up Phoebus Energy. Later, Terra Venture Partners invested in Biological Alarm Systems, a start-up developing airborne biological hazards.

IVC Research Center reports that in 2009 Terra Venturea Partners invested in:
  • Linum Systems, a start-up founded in 2009 that is developing an advanced, energy efficient air conditioning technology. Linum Systems was founded by Yuval Berson and Amir Hirshfeld, two veterans of Israeli solar power company Di.S.P
  • Lithium Force, a start-up focused on providing complete solutions for electric powered transportation fleets (buses, trucks, and taxis)
  • PV Nanocell, a stealthy start-up apparently focused on the development and production of nanomaterials for the solar photovoltaic industry
  • Silentium, which is developing innovative noise reduction products and solutions
  • SmarTap, a company devloping innovative, efficient electronic water faucets
  • Wi-Charge, a start-up developing technology to enable the safe, reliable and efficient wireless transmission of power. Wi-Charge was founded in 2007 by Ortal Alpert
You can follow this link to access the original report online.

Related Posts:

Terra Venture Partners raises $15 million, makes first investments

Thursday, February 11, 2010

SunPower acquires SunRay Renewable Energy for $277 million

SunPower, Silicon Valley's biggest solar panel manufacturer, announced Thursday an agreement to buy SunRay Renewable Energy, a developer of solar power plants in Europe and Israel, for $277 million.

Although based in Malta, SunRay is managed by Israelis, including CEO Yoram Amiga and Michael Barnea, Head of Legal and M&A. SunRay established a wholly-owned Israeli subsidiary, SunRay Israel Blue & White, which is working to develop 100MW of solar photovoltaic projects.

Kobi Katz, the CEO of SunRay Israel, told The Marker the sale was a vote of confidence by SunPower in the Israeli solar market.

SunRay currently has 1,200 megawatts of generating plants in development in Italy, France, Israel, Spain, the United Kingdom and Greece. SunRay is owned by its management and U.S.-based Denham Capital, which bought control of the firm for $200 million in 2007.

SunPower and SunRay originally joined forces on Montalto, the largest power plant in Italy. "Our experience working with SunPower on Montalto and several other power plants in Italy convinced us that SunRay will be joining the global solar technology, performance and quality leader for solar power plants," said Yoram Amiga, CEO of SunRay Group, in a statement.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Better Place secures $350 million series B round led by HSBC Group; electric car start-up valued at $1.25 billion

Shai Agassi and the team at Better Place have done it again: almost two years to the day after announcing its first car partnership and its first country deployment in Israel, Better Place today announced that it has signed an agreement with an HSBC-led investor consortium for new equity financing of $350 million. The deal marks one of the largest clean-tech investments in history and values Better Place at $1.25 billion.

This Series B equity financing round features participation from new investors including HSBC, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, and Lazard Asset Management. These investors will join existing Series A investors including Israel Corp., VantagePoint Venture Partners, Ofer Hi-Tech Holdings, Morgan Stanley Principal Investments, Maniv Energy Capital, and Israel Cleantech Ventures, among others, as shareholders of Better Place. For HSBC, which led the round with an investment of $125 million, the deal represents one of the largest financial investments of its kind by HSBC.

As part of the deal, Kevin Adeson, HSBC Head of Global Capital Financing, will join the Better Place Board of Directors, and HSBC will own approximately 10% of the company’s shares.

“Today marks the end of an extensive process with the outcome being a decision by one of the world’s largest, most conservative banks, HSBC, to take the validating step of investing in a private company intent on bringing innovation to the trillion-dollar automotive and energy industries,” said Shai Agassi, Better Place Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “The strong investment commitment and global relationships that HSBC, Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Lazard Asset Management bring to the table combined with the continuing confidence from our original investors enables us to scale up globally and execute against our plan.”

In welcoming Adeson to the Board, Idan Ofer, Chairman of Better Place and Israel Corp., remarked, “Kevin and the entire HSBC team will bring more than just capital to the table. We expect that HSBC will help us to scale in Europe, China and beyond, and we’re already seeing the value that they are bringing to the company and the Board.”

Stuart Gulliver, Executive Director, HSBC Holdings and Chief Executive of Global Banking and Markets, said, “We believe the switch from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles will create future growth opportunities in the auto and utility industries, and we are delighted to take the opportunity of investing in Better Place to put HSBC at the heart of these developments. Better Place is a private-sector solution to the issue of infrastructure provision for electric cars and can succeed without government subsidy and without sacrificing consumer expectations for personal mobility.”

Better Place’s new board member, Kevin Adeson of HSBC, commented: “We are confident that Better Place has the technical and commercial solutions to allow for the mass adoption of electric cars in the near term. The Better Place switchable battery solution, which addresses the range limitation of fixed battery electric cars, will offer the consumer an affordable and attractive alternative to current combustion engine and hybrid vehicles. We expect the Better Place model to be widely adopted across many countries and cities, particularly in those markets with policies strongly favoring electric vehicle adoption.”

The financing allows Better Place to expand its geographic footprint while continuing to execute against its committed R&D and deployment milestones. The company intends to expand into markets where the business model economics and investor returns are optimized, notably in Europe and Asia.

Better Place says that it continues to meet its timetable for Israel and Denmark launch plans for the end of 2011 when the first Renault switchable battery electric cars hit the road. Better Place also will continue to execute against its strategy of early deployment projects in Australia and select North American markets a few months after the Israel and Denmark launches as planned.

Additionally, the company’s R&D team is currently testing each element of the Better Place solution in real-life scenarios around the world in a multi-phase cycle, beginning with the company’s managed EV network in Denmark, which began last December, and a Tokyo electric taxi project with battery switch station, which kicks off in April this year. These and other development milestones lead up to full-scale trials in the second half of 2010 and commercial launch in 2011.

Agassi added: “Our technology and solutions, together with our strong partnership with Renault, provide us at least a two-year time advantage over all other alternative energy vehicle approaches. Our solution is the only one that can scale to decrease countries’ oil consumption and significantly reduce emissions, while providing consumers with electric cars that are more convenient and affordable than internal combustion engine cars.”

“Better Place is a huge experiment in how you sell and fuel vehicles, and these investors are becoming convinced this will make money,” Rod Lache, an analyst at Deutsche Bank told the New York Times. “It is a financial validation. Now we need to see technical validation and consumer validation.”

The transaction is subject to approval by antitrust regulators and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010.

Related Posts:

Better Place unveils battery switch technology in Japan

Better Place applauds Hawaii's electric car legislation

Shai Agassi named to Time 100 list of world's most influential people

Better Place and Haifa to cooperate on electric car infrastructure

Better Place raises €103 million, names new Danish CEO

Better Place and Hawaii to partner on electric car project

Deustche Bank: Project Better Place has "the potential to eliminate the gasoline engine"

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

Shai Agassi unveils Project Better Place electric car

Israel to adopt electric cars produced by Renault-Nissan and Project Better Place

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Arad Technologies wins lucractive water metering deal in India

Arad Technologies, a Yokneam, Israel-based wireless water meter manufacturer, and Luxembourg-based meter maker Actaris Metering Systems were jointly awarded a deal to provide 150,000 water meters to the city of Mumbai, India according to Globes.

Citing the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, Globes reports that the deal is part of a $128 million project to install 1.2 million water meters in Mumbai, though contracts for the remainder of the project have not been distributed. Arad and Actaris, however, are expected to win the follow-on tenders, because of logistical difficulties in coordinating different meter systems and technologies in a single municipal network.

Arad Technologies—a subsidiary of Tel-Aviv stock exchange listed water measuring technologies manufacturer the Arad Group —specializes in Web-based automatic meter reading technology for municipal water networks, and also has expertise in electric and gas meters. According to Arad Technologies, its products help to reduce operating costs, allow for more accurate measurements, and increase the lifetime of meters for its customers.

According to a report in Reuters, Arad Technologies sold more than $100 million in water meters in 2008 and is developing a fly-by system using small pilotless aircraft to collect data from water maters in real time.

Arad Technologies participated in the tender through the Export Institute and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor's Foreign Trade Administration and Israel NewTech program for promoting the water technology and renewable energy industries.

Arad Technologies president Dan Winter said, "Winning this tender is a breakthrough for us, which opens a new market that is full of opportunities. Arad is in the final stages of two other tenders in India, and in view of the heavy demand, we are considering moving some production there."

Actaris is a subsidiary of Itron (Nasdaq:ITRI), which offers products and services including metering, data collection, and software to utilities worldwide in the energy and water markets

Related Posts:

India, Israel to collaborate on cleantech

Granite Hacarmel to invest in Indian renewable energy projects

Mekorot to develop water infrastructure in India

Sunday, January 10, 2010

HelioFocus raises $10m from China's Sanhua and IC Green Energy

HelioFocus Ltd., an Israel-based solar thermal systems start-up, has raised more than $10 million from China's Zhejiang Sanhua Co. and existing investor IC Green Energy.

HelioFocus announced the investment last week at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, where HelioFocus is developing its solar thermal technology to boost electricity production of existing power plants.

HelioFocus CEO Ory Zik said Sanhua, the Chinese maker of appliance components whose stock is traded on the Shenzhen stock exchange, would be not just a financial investor in the company, but will also produce some solar thermal components.

"We will be able to reduce costs and move relatively quickly to manufacturing," Zik told Reuters. "Components that can be made at lower cost in China will be produced there."

Sanhua, which will hold 30 percent of HelioFocus, will invest $9.25 million directly in the company and will acquire $1.25 million worth of shares from its founders.

IC Green Energy, the renewable energy investment arm of holding company Israel Corp, is the largest shareholder in HelioFocus with a 40 percent stake. It will invest $2.3 million in HelioFocus alongside Sanhua's investment.

The rest of HelioFocus is held by workers and management, including Sass Somekh, Co-Chairman of HelioFocus and Founder of Musea Ventures.

In 2008, HelioFocus raised a $10 million first round of financing from IC Green Energy, and the company is also a recipient of an $800,000 BIRD Foundation grant. The current investment from Sanhua and IC Green Energy values HelioFocus at $45 million.

Zik said HelioFocus, whose system converts the sun's rays into hot air to produce electricity, will release its first product in 2012 and is working on a pilot project in Israel. Funds raised from Sanhua will be used by HelioFocus to continue its research.

"We believe that the thermo-solar market will grow significantly, together with the rapid global development and ongoing legislation in the clean energy market," Yom Tov Samia, Co-Chairman of HelioFocus and president and CEO of IC Green Energy, said in a statement.

Jacky Eldan, Israeli consul general in China, said the door opened by Sanhua will pave the way for more cooperation and investments of Chinese companies in Israel.

HelioFocus' financing announcement is the latest in a series of successes for Israeli solar thermal companies. Siemens AG bought Israel-based Solel Solar Systems Ltd. for about $418 million in October 2009, AORA Solar raised $5 million in February 2009, and BrightSource Energy, which conducts R&D through subsidiary BrightSource Industries Israel, has announced a series of mega projects in the U.S. over the past year

Congrulations to Ory Zik and the rest of the team at HelioFocus!

Related Posts:

DOE awards grant to HelioFocus

IC Green Energy invests in HelioFocus

HelioFocus orders microturbines for concentrated solar power systems

IC Green Energy and Yom Tov Samia