Solar energy isn’t the only renewable energy source that is hot in Canada. Today Siemens Canada announced they were awarded the contract to supply 124 of their SWT-2.3-101 wind turbines for a wind farm in South Kent.
Samsung Renewable Energy Inc and Pattern Energy Group LP awarded the 270 megawatt (MW) contract to Siemens Canada.
The win has several local ties for Siemens Canada as they will be producing the blades locally at their plant in Tillsonburg and CS Wind will be constructing the towers at their facility in Windsor using Ontario-made steel.
Installation of the 2.3 MW turbines is scheduled to begin later this year and the wind project is expected to be online in 2014.
While solar is still king, wind energy in Canada is steadily increasing. Canada is the world’s ninth largest producer of wind energy with 6,500 MW currently installed, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association.
Shares of Siemens were flat in early afternoon trading.
LinkedIn is paying $50M to $100M for mobile news reader’s Pulse, which is based in San Francisco. Alphonso Labs, which makes the Pulse app has raised about $10M from Redpoint Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Mayfield Fund, Lightspeed Investment Partners, NEA and Lerer Ventures. Pulse claims 20M+ users.
We met company CEO Akshay Kothari and his co-founding CTO Ankit Gupta a couple of years back when they were just starting out but already has traction despite all the media attention on their rival Flipboard. The company is not terribly big – just 26 people.
While there are a lot of users today for Pulse and Flipboard we imagine that these are tough companies for investors to hold on to. Users are fickle with readers and whose to know if another great new news reader doesn’t launch any day. So it makes sense the Pulse would want to sell at this point in it life.
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The nation’s largest retailer is continuing its goal of 100 percent of their energy being generated from renewable sources as Walmart (WMT :NYSE) announced today that they will be installing 4.7 megawatts (MW) on 12 store rooftops throughout Ohio.
Once again Walmart is turning to SolarCity (SCTY :NASDAQ) who is undertaking its first projects in the “Buckeye State”. Upon completion, SolarCity will increase the amount of solar energy generated in the state by 10 percent.
For SolarCity, today’s announcement is another solid win for a company that has installed solar panels for Walmart in California and Arizona. The combination of large-scale rooftop projects like the ones they are installing for Walmart and its core residential business should keep investors happy with SolarCity, unlike many other companies in the solar industry.
Shares of SolarCity were up .39 percent at the end of trading and Wal-Mart shares closed 2.12 percent higher.
San Francisco-based Zaranga has come out of closed Beta with a new take on vacation home rentals – the ability for renters to bid on a stay. The startup has raised funding via YCombinator.
Dynamic pricing has been a top feature that we haven’t seen on other sites, to our surprise and disappointment. It works well in hotel booking so people expect it in vacation home rentals. Our experience has been that we will often stay for weeks or a month at a vacation home rental so we haggle with various home owners by email. It’s pretty inefficient.
Zaranga looks good. The main downside is that its coverage is limited to parts of Northern California. Also, for now the company says it is focused on houses managed by property mangers and its avoiding cities.
Zaranga also recently announced that they had partnered with HomeAway.
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Sometimes it’s easier for solar companies to find a partner to develop projects for them. Canadian Solar (CSIQ :NASDAQ) seems to believe so as they are partnering with Strata Solar on 85 megawatts (MW) of projects in North Carolina.
Of the 15 projects the companies will be partnering on, the first, Fuquay Farm, is a 6.4 MW project that will be commissioned by the end of this month.
The other 14 projects will include many 6 MW utility-scale projects and a 1 MW rooftop system and a 3 MW farm.
While the entire portfolio of North Carolina projects is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013, the partnership between the two companies should last longer as Canadian Solar has invested in Strata Solar.
Normally investing in a portfolio of projects bears a certain amount of risk, as companies like SunPower (SPWR :NASDAQ) can attest to. But with the entire 85 MW scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, this looks like a solid win for Canadian Solar.
Shares of Canadian Solar were down 7.52 percent in afternoon trading.
On August 3, 2012, JinkoSolar (JKS :NYSE) was in a death spiral as the stock sank to a low of $2.01. But less than a year later the solar manufacturer is touting large deals and is up 395 percent.
Today JinkoSolar announced that they will be supplying China Three Gorges New Energy Corp. with 600 megawatts (MW) of solar panels from 2013 to 2015.
The panels will be installed in Western China. This is the first major deal since the company announced a 200 MW joint project in China and a 81 MW supply contract in South Africa in December 2012.
With a share price increase of 12.71 percent over the last year, only SunPower (SPWR :NASDAQ) has larger gain during the same time period within the solar industry with a 68.27 percent increase.
Shares of JinkoSolar were up 2.49 percent in midday trading.
Israel-based Taboola has raised $15M in additional funding for its content recommendation service. The round was led by Pitango Venture Capital; earlier investors Evergreen Venture Partners, WGI Group and Marker. Taboola has now raised $40M. Taboola does video content recommendation and you have probably seen their widgets on WallStreetJournal.com, Weather.com, Bloomberg.com and other sites. The company says it is serving 1.5B widgets per day.
In contrast to Google Adsense and other ad networks, Taboola’s advertisers are publishers that want to drive traffic to their site. So they sit between publisher A who is running Taboola on their site and is paid for that and Publisher B that is paying for traffic to its site.
Taboola competes with Outbrain, which also came out of Israel and which has raised $64M to date. We wonder why investors are so enamored of this space. We understand that Taboola and Outbrain have high margins and we understand that they have done impressive work to get on so many publishers sites, when publishers have so many other rivals for the page space.
But we are not very impressed with the technology that Taboola and Outbrain run. The talk about personalization and their advanced algorythms. The company touts its proprietary technology, called EngageRank, which it claims can algorithmically quantify how users interact with content, and predict and recommend content of interest to them, in real-time. but, especially with Taboola, what we see a lot of the time are click bait with images of Kim Kardashian’s cleavage or similar. How much technology does it take to detect a higher click through rate on that? We see that images such as the ones below don’t run on say Bloomberg.com but we wonder if most of the money being made by Taboola is via images like these that Google Adsense and others wouldn’t allow advertisers to run.
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