Solar Thermal Energy has been losing out in the last couple of years to solar photovoltaic energy which is seeing a huge increase in demand amidst very low prices.Some of the major solar thermal energy projects in the globe have been converted into solar pv installations due to its lower costs.Some of the major solar thermal energy companies like Solar Millennium have sold their solar thermal portfolios to other companies while Stirling Power Systems has gone bankrupt.Tessera has sold its solar thermal plants which had gotten DOE Loan Guarantees in California to Solar Developers who have made these solar thermal plants into solar panel ones.However there are some companies like eSolar and Brightsource Energy which are powering ahead with their technologies and projects with backing from big industrial MNC conglomerates like GE and Areva.Their Power Tower Technologies are supposedly more efficient than the mainstream parabolic toughs that are used.
America currently has a massive number number of startups in the clean energy industry and a lot of them in the fastest growing green industry that is the solar sector.However like startups in all industries a lot of them will fail,some will sell themselves to others like Heliovolt,Ausra while a few will make it really big making a fortune through IPOs for their PE investors and owners.One or two will make fortunes for those who invest early as well like First Solar.Note First Solar despite numerous ups and downs is still up more than 450% from its IPO price five years ago.It won’t be the last either.So despite the strong competition in the solar industry where numerous companies and technologies are jostling in the more than $70 billion global market,one or two of the smart ones will become huge winners like Intel or Microsoft.So which are the solar startups which are showing the most promise.Four of them are currently leading the pack while a few others have got a reasonable chance of success as well though they need to prove more like Stion and Miasole.Some of the more hyped ones like Solyndra have gone on a slimming down mode and might make a comeback though it will be tough.There are some others in stealth mode which may become big also.But here is the list of the Four Best Solar Startups in the Solar Electronics,Solar Panels and Solar Thermal Sectors.
Brightsource Energy,the Solar Thermal Startup has been making huge progress getting high profile investors and managing a $1.37 billion DOE grant for its Ivanpah 392 MW Solar Thermal Power Plant.The Company has managed to get its billion dollar Ivanpah Project financed through equity investments from NRG Energy and Google.It is now looking set to do an IPO which would allow its Stock to List and gain further funds for expansion in USA,China and India.Note I don’t think Solar Thermal Technology is managing to compete effectively with the fast declining costs of Solar Photovoltaic Technology.However there still exists a niche area for Solar Thermal Companies and Technology.Note there are a number of Solar Thermal Companies fighting for the No.1 Position which includes giants like Siemens,Areva,Abengoa and startups like eSolar.Which one of these companies will be successful in the face of the Solar PV Onslaught is a matter of debate.However Brightsource has certainly stole a march through smart funding.Here is some facts about Brightsource Energy
Solar Thermal Technology has been facing tough competition from its sister Solar PV Technology in recent times.Despite strong government subsidies and support,numerous drawbacks have contributed to this Technology losing out to Solar PV in a number of projects in the US notably by Tessera.However a number of startups and big conglomerates continue to make huge investments in this technology.Spain and US are leaders in implementation of this Solar Technology type,however others like India and China are to building CSP plants as their energy needs continue to grow.Note like Solar PV,there are a number of different technology types for CSP like Power Tower,Parabolic Troughs,linear fresnel technology and Stirling Engines.Here is a list of the most important Solar Thermal Companies (Technology Providers cum Project Developers)
Solyndra is one of the most hyped solar starups which has managed to raise $1 billion in funding and coming out with surprisingly little for the money.Not only did it postpone its IPO but also shut down its first factory as pricess keep diving faster than it can cut costs.Brightsource Energy on the other hand seems to have a brighter future with its unique CSP technology.Also with backers like Alstom and Bechtel,it has the heavy engineering support to construct the massive 392 MW plant.Note other Solar Thermal startups like Ausra and Soliel Systems were bought up by giant engineering conglomerartes Areva and Siemens.Brightsource along with eSolar remain the only pureplay CSP companies still surviving.
President Obama declared $1.85 Billion in Combined Loan Guarantees to Concentrated Solar Power Giant Abengoa and Cadmium Tellurium startup Abound Solar.These huge guarantees is nothing new as other solar startups like Solyndra and Brightsource Energy have also received hundreds of million dollars in Loan Guarantees from Department of Energy(DOE).I had written earlier about how US [...]