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The Week in Cleantech – Oct. 22-28

TroyAult

The solar sector got a much needed lift last week as BrightSource Energy raised $80 million in a growth equity round from existing investors. The company, which pulled its planned IPO back in April citing unfavorable market conditions, said it plans to expand “geographic partnerships to build solar thermal power plants in India and Australia”, while construction at its Ivanpah project in southern California continues.

Companies in the solar sector, which generally sees most of its equity capital go to supporting photovoltaics applications, raised only $70 million in the entire third quarter as overcapacity in PV module manufacturing continues to strangle that market. In the latest examples of necessary consolidation, Bankrupt organic PV developer Konarka Technologies‘ solar cell manufacturing assets were acquired by German solar project developer Belectric, while Siemens announced last week that it would give up its solar business and focus its renewable energy portfolio on wind and hydro power.

Elsewhere in venture capital, peer-to-peer apartment renter Airbnb raised $117 million last week. The company’s platform falls under the purview of cleantech as it is one of many encouraging resource sharing. Much like car-sharing platforms that are now all the rage, renting out one’s home for short stays when they’re not there leads to improved utilization of an existing and otherwise idle asset base, which in the case of housing has the capacity to lessen urban sprawl as fewer hotel rooms are needed for city visits.

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