Weekly Review October 23-29

Several exciting headlines this week point to the adoption of clean tech as a affordable and scalable solution to the world’s energy problems.

New Technology Could Double Solar Cell Efficiency” by RP Siegel on Triple Pundit
Although installed costs of solar photovoltaics have declined by over 43 percent since 1998, many who rely on fossil fuels are still reluctant to make the change to solar. Now, through advancement in the research and development of using so called “quantum dots”, several scientists at UT Austin have demonstrated how to increase solar panel efficiency from 31 percent to 66 percent, harnessing the previously illusive “hot energy” from the sun’s rays. These advanced developments and efficiency increases will likely drive down the costs, making solar energy more affordable for all.
A newly developed $60m fund by the International Finance Corporation will promote innovation in clean technology for emerging markets. Individual investments are expected to be in the range of $3 and $4 million. The fund will also support startups’ endeavors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Developing world ups ante in cleantech ‘arms race’” by Fiona Havey on The Guardian
Not surprisingly, the developing countries of the world are investing more and installing more clean technology than their counterparts in the developed countries. Specifically, China added 19GW of wind generating capacity, while India met targets of about 10GW. The Global Wind Energy Council wrote in its annual report that the demonstrated growth in wind capacity “puts an end to the assertion that wind power is a premium technology only for rich countries which cannot be deployed at scale in other markets.”
The Seventh Annual Conference on Clean Energy is happening in Boston on November 1.  The Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center and The Massachusetts Hydrogen Coalition host the event as part of Massachusetts Clean Energy Week. Our own Miguel Granier is a panelist on “Energy Solutions for Developing Countries,” alongside Sam White, Co-Founder of our portfolio company, Promethean Power. Check out the agenda for all the details, including pitch sessions and lots of exciting panels. 
Selling Home Solar Like a Cell Phone Plan” by Brian Merchant on TreeHugger
It’s no secret that the two biggest obstacles to scaling clean technologies are cost and access. TreeHugger points out that it’s important to invest in renewable energy sources but also to experiment with pricing models that will allow people at all income levels to afford and access sustainable energy. Our portfolio company, Simpa Networks, tries to combat the financial barrier by allowing users to pay for energy just as they would with a mobile phone. Watch Brian Merchant’s interview with Paul Needham, Simpa Networks founder and a new PopTech Social Innovation Fellow.

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