Cleantech 'Power 10' Ranking for 2009 (Vol II)

by: Neal Dikeman

Last year I did my first "Power 10" ranking for 2008 of cleantech companies, and the response was so good we're doing it again.

I spend most of my day meeting and talking to companies in the cleantech sector. And those of you who know me know I have opinions on who is doing it right, and who is doing it wrong.

As before, this is the Cleantech Blog Power 10 Ranking of cleantech companies doing it right.

Eligibility for inclusion in the ranking requires meeting a 6 point test. Suggestions for inclusions in future volumes are welcome. The 6 point test:
1. The company is energy or environmental technology related
2. I like their products
3. The market needs them
4. The company is smart about building their business
5. I’d like to own the company if I could (for the right price, of course!)
6. It is not already one of mine (my apologies to my friends Zenergy Power)

I have included cleantech companies big and small.

  1. Sharp (OTCPK:SHCAY)– Makes the list again as top dog battling to hold its crown in solar PV. Keep on trucking.
  2. GE (NYSE:GE)– The company's M&A strategy delivered venture like returns, and it still holds power positions in wind, T&D, clean gensets, and water capital equipment. Hard to dethrone.
  3. Iberdrola (OTC:IRVSF)– Barely made the cut last year. Largest wind operator in the world now. Deserves it.
  4. First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) – Still the low cost producer in PV and growing. Smart move swapping expensive stock for the Optisolar project pipeline. Keep those factories full!
  5. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) -The only investor to merit consideration, but are a part of too many power plays in cleantech to leave off this time.
  6. DNV – Its auditors underpin roughly half of the carbon markets. In carbon, audit and verification is everything. The company's market share slipped some, but it holds its crown as the only one of the big carbon auditors yet aggressively investing in the US.
  7. Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) – The future of thin film if the company can deliver on its strategic moves. But I need to see some of its customers' production taking serious market share, or making next year’s list could be tough.
  8. Cleantech Group - The business is now definitely more than just a conference operator. Despite massive competition in conferences (long a cash cow for them), the Cleantech Group hasn't lost its footing as the preeminent brand, and now seems to be learning how to play well with others. Great job guys on both creating an asset class AND building a cool company.
  9. Bayard Group/Landis Gyr – Smart grid is the big cleantech play along with carbon and solar. Bayard, now branded around Landis Gyr, is a global Metering/Smart Grid roll up powerhouse. Bought Cellnet, Hunt, Enermet, and Landis Gyr et al.
  10. Valero (NYSE:VLO)- Texas refiner's acquisition of VeraSun and move into renewable fuels gets the nod. Now where to from here?

Honorable mention to:

Zenergy Power plc (AIM: ZEN.L), one I helped cofound. I couldn’t resist this year since the team is making hay off of fault current limiter technology we bet on in 2004, and deserves the nod. Also to Smart Fuel Cell

(XETRA:F3C.DE) – Still the most mature fuel cell company in the world by a mile. But revenues flattened in 2008 and it made no moves allowing it to stave off the newcomers to Power 10. 2009 is the make or break year. And finally to

Sindicatum– Mover of the year in carbon in 2008. Raised a warchest into the teeth of a tough carbon market. Now we’ll see what they can do with it.

Also on our watchlist for next year: Abengoa (OTCPK:ABGOF), Acciona (OTCPK:ACXIF) , SGS, Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK), SoCal Edison, Origin Energy (OTCPK:OGFGF), Ecosecurities (OTC:ECGUF), Q-Cells (OTCPK:QCLSF), SunPower (SPWRA) , Oerlikon (OTC:OERLF), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), BP, Shell (NYSE:RDS.A).

Of note, no CIGS or solar thermal this year. The list is indicative of a shift towards carbon and projects. Still no cellulosic, and I can't bring myself to add EVs to the Power 10 until somebody shows something real. Perhaps the 2013 list?

Disclosure: No positions