BYD enters Brazil with battery and electric bus manufacturing

First published on the Cleantech Investor website, July 2014

BYD enters Brazil

BYD Company Ltd is set to become the first Chinese battery manufacturer to open a plant in Brazil, in a clear indication that the country (historically a leader in ethanol biofuel) aims to adopt electric vehicles. BYD signed a contract in the presence of both China's President Xi Jinping and Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, during the BRIC Summit in Brasilia. According to Apex-Brasil President, Mr. Mauricio Borges, Brazil is at a critical point in its history when it must adopt renewable energy technologies (Apex-Brasil, the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, structured the deal with BYD).

BYD will produce Iron-Phosphate batteries in a 1.5 million square metre factory. The plant will support BYD's recently announced electric bus factory, which is being constructed in Campinas, São Paulo. The Campinas plant will manufacture the BYD ebus and will also contain a research and development facility.

The announcement brings the investment in Brazil by BYD, one of China’s largest companies, to US$400 million. BYD is backed by Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett's investment company.


Strategic investor GAF joins KPCB in $31m Series D funding for Solexel

First published on the Cleantech Investor website, July 2014

California based Solexel has raised US$31 million in equity for the commercialisation of its thin‐crystalline silicon solar modules. Investors included GAF, the largest roofing materials manufacturer in North America, alongside existing shareholders, who include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Technology Partners, DAG Ventures, Northgate Capital, GSV Capital Corp, Gentry Venture Partners and Jasper Ridge Partners. Solexel has also received investment from Sunpower. Solexel was incorporated in 2007, and has a fully operational pilot fab in Milpitas, California. It is building a 1 MW capacity manufacturing plant in Malaysia.

Solexel developed a BIPV solar roofing shingle with Owens-Corning, with support from a $13m US DoE grant. Its PV modules for the residential, commercial and utility-scale market segments are based on its ultra-thin silicon solar cell technology, which offers the performance, quality and reliability of the industry’s best-performing cells, at significantly lower cost.


tado° raises €10m from Target Partners and Shortcut Ventures

European company tado has raised €10m ($13.6m)  in venture capital funding from Target Partners and Shortcut Ventures.

tado has developed intelligent climate control solutions which enhance comfort in the home and enable households to save on energy costs. Its heating or air conditioning (AC) systems automatically adjust to users’ needs with a geo-aware app for presence detection. The tado smartphone app automatically recognizes when the user leaves or returns home and sets the temperature accordingly. The smart device can achieve up to 31% in energy savings. tado° has developed control interfaces for over 5,000 different types of heating systems. The first product, tado° Heating, was launched in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in November 2012 and in the UK a year later. It was followed by the tado° Cooling product for AC. Distribution is via utility companies and through retail partners as well as the company's website

The company, which has a staff of 40, plans to use the funding for expansion throughout Europe according to Christian Deilmann, CEO. Deilmann founded the company - which is headquartered in Munich - with Johannes Schwarz and Valentin Sawadski in 2011.

The name “tado” was inspired by the Japanese greetings “tadaima” and “okaeri” which, loosely translated, mean “I'm home” and “Welcome home”.


2014 Ashden Awards - Abundance Generation

22 May 2014

Impax Ashden Award for Energy Innovation - and UK Gold Award Winner

Abundance Generation

Crowdfunding powers a sustainable energy revolution

Abundance Generation is revolutionising the way people invest for their future. Its user-friendly crowdfunding platform lets people take control of where their money is invested by allowing them to put it directly into sustainable energy projects of their choosing. With a minimum investment of just £5, investors get a financial return and the feel-good factor of joining the growing renewable energy movement in the UK. Abundance is also plugging a gap in access to finance for small-scale renewable energy developers, so they can build more projects. So far this pioneering FCA-regulated company has helped over 1,200 people invest more than £5.5 million in renewable energy projects across the UK, with many more in the pipeline.



2014 Ashden Awards - Infosys

22 May 2014

Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings -  and International Gold Award Winner

Infosys, India

Leading the way in tackling India’s energy challenge

India’s fast-growing economy is making ever greater demands on its electric grid. Global IT giant Infosys is leading the way to more sustainable growth, decreasing electricity consumption per staff member by 44% across its Indian business campuses. Success lies in seizing every opportunity to reduce energy consumption in its existing buildings – from reducing the size of chiller plants for air conditioning, to painting roofs white to reflect the heat.

Cutting-edge design of new buildings also helps keep offices cooler and maximises natural light. With a phenomenal $80 million cut off its electricity bills, Infosys has made an unassailable business case for large companies to invest in energy efficiency – not just in India but across the globe.


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