By Michael Kanellos
Sunnyvale, Calif. The big deals are done.
Solyndra (SOLY) has become of one of the most visible investments for venture firm CMEA. The company has also landed some of the largest loans from the federal government and has filed for an IPO. Still, VCs have had to invest a couple of hundred million in the company to get this far. If a similar opportunity came up now, CMEA might not bite because of the capital intensity, said Bruce Pasternack, a partner at the firm during a panel discussion at the SD Forum taking place today in Sunnyvale.
"I don't know if we'd make a Solyndra-type investment today," he said.
Other notes at the conference:
--EnerNoc (NASDAQ:ENOC) continues to grow. The company has the largest dispatchable power plant in the country, said Gregg Dixon, an executive with EnerNoc, if you totalled up all of the company's demand response capacity. It could also be considered the seventh largest power plant.
--Being a government employee is hot. Karl Kailing, an international trade specialist with the Department of Commerce, told me that nearly everyone he's met in the past year asks him the same question. "Who do I speak to to get money?" Disclosure: Karl didn't speak at the conference. We met at lunch.
--The IPO picture isn't so bad. Pasternack said he polled a bunch of VCs. The consensus figure is five to six this year.
--Bayh Dole, the federal law that allows universities to charge for IP, must change, said Arthur Ramirez, dean of the engineering school at UC Santa Cruz.
--China is big. There are 100 plus solar fabs, 80 plus wind turbine companies 300 plus lithium ion battery makers and over 1,000 LED makers, according to HIng Wong of Walden International, the VC firm that specializes in China. "The majority happened in the last five years," he added. More on Hing's talk later.
--Osaka is pushing hard to become the green capitol of Japan, said Pat Bray of PacificVision Partners. Seven new solar plants have been built and eight more are on the way. Ten percent of the cars on the road are hybrids.