Energy Department invests millions to accelerate high-volume solar manufacturing

A $25 million federal grant will speed the construction of a solar manufacturing plant in San Diego, in an effort to boost U.S. competitiveness.

Semiconductor maker Soitec Solar, recipient of the Department of Energy grant, will pour the funds into equipment at its Rancho Bernando-area plant. Production is set to start before the end of the year on concentrated photovoltaic modules that use optical lenses to focus sunlight on tiny, highly efficient solar cells.

A publicly traded company based in Bernin, France, Soitec entered the concentrated photovoltaics business in 2009 with the purchase of Concentrix Solar, a spinoff of the Fraunhofer Institutes, a network of publicly funded research centers in Germany.

Soitec received the largest share of $37 million in Energy Department grants designed to accelerate high-volume solar manufacturing over the next two years.

 

More on this$25 million federal grant speeds solar factory construction

 

 

More about Soitec’s CPV (concentrated photovoltaic) modules:

Soitec’s CPV modules are built on Concentrix technology. They use Fresnel lenses to concentrate sunlight 500 times and focus it onto small, highly efficient multi-junction solar cells. This technology has helped us achieve world-leading AC system efficiency increases of 25% in actual operating conditions. This is almost twice as high as the efficiency increases achieved using conventional silicon systems.

 

Click for a video description of this technologyConcentrix Technology

 

 

 

Continue reading Energy Department invests millions to accelerate high-volume solar manufacturing

Google Ventures – venture capital funding through data

A fascinating article in Fast Company profiles Google Ventures, the company’s venture capital division. Like everything the search giant does they are aiming big with delusions of changing the entire VC industry with data as the vehicle.

They start out with some interesting facts:

Despite the mythology that has built up around venture capital, it has become a slowly moldering investment vehicle. “The past 10 years haven’t been very productive,” Bill Maris points out. According to the research firm Cambridge Associates, during the decade ending last September, VCs as a class earned a 2.6% interest rate for their investors–less than you could have earned in an S&P 500 index fund. The numbers look slightly better over shorter periods; VCs have delivered a 4.9% return the past three years and 6.7% over the past five, still far from terrific.

 

 
Then they move on to insights gained through data-crunching:

Joe Kraus says that analysts have discovered research that overturns some of Silicon Valley’s most cherished bits of lore. Take that old idea that it pays to fail in the Valley: Wrong! Google Ventures’ analysts found that first-time entrepreneurs with VC backing have a 15% chance of creating a successful company, while second-timers who had an auspicious debut see a 29% chance of repeating their achievement. By contrast, second-time entrepreneurs who failed the first time? They have only a 16% chance of success, in effect returning them to square one. “Failure doesn’t teach you much,” Kraus says with a shrug.

Location, in fact, plays a larger role in determining an entrepreneur’s odds than failure, according to the Google Ventures data team. A guy who founded a successful company in Boston but is planning to start his next firm in San Francisco isn’t a sure bet. “He’ll revert back to that 15% rate,” Kraus says, “because he’s out of his personal network and that limits how quickly he can scale up.”

 

 

The article continues to describe the actions Google is taking to change the game. The most important of which seems to be bringing in ringers rather than partners, challenging the VC model at its core…

read the full articleGoogle’s Creative Destruction

The famous center of venture capital - Menlo Park, California.

 
// Thx to Guillaume SPillmann, Photo – Mark Coggins

Kickstarter project: Womanthology – massive all-female comic anthology

I read a lot of comics and it is always upsetting that there are no women creating them. There are female characters everywhere in the stories, many super heroines, and yet, nearly all the top female characters have all-male teams working on them.

It is pretty sad, and unfair.

The good news is that a few projects rumbling around are experiencing awesome success. The following Kickstarter project, one of the most successful on the site, covers this exact topic:

 

Womanthology; Massive All Female Comic Anthology!

Womanthology is a large scale anthology comic showcasing the works of women in comics. It is created entirely by over 140 women of all experience levels, including top industry professionals.

The purpose of the book is to show support for female creators in comics and media. There will be multiple short stories, “how to” & interviews with professionals, and features showcasing iconic female comic creators that have passed, such as Nell Brinkley and Tarpe Mills. A Kids & Teens section will also be included, showcasing their work, and offering tips & tricks to help them prepare themselves for their future careers in comics.

Overall, this is pretty much a huge book showcasing what women in comics have accomplished, and what we are capable of 🙂 We are also hoping that by doing this book, it will encourage a new generation of women to pick up the pencil and create!