Lux names solar and energy storage companies among its top 10

ImprintEnergy among Lux's top 10Lux Research selects 10 companies among the thousands of clean technology businesses – large and small – that it evaluates each quarter to highlight for investors.

Among this quarter’s 10 most innovative companies are business focused on agriculture, bioelectronics, advanced materials, alternative fuels and building efficiency.  There was also one solar energy company that stood out and one energy storage business.

GlassPoint Solar and ImprintEnergy were both listed among Lux Research’s top 10.

GlassPoint has raised more than $29 million from private investors to take its solar-powered enhanced oil recovery system to market. The company has two pilot projects – one in California and one 7-megawatt installation in Oman.

There has been a lot of interest from other Middle Eastern oil companies as well, said Matt Feinstein, the Lux analyst who selected GlassPoint for the top 10 list. Royal Dutch Shell is one of its major investors.

“Something I think is really interesting about them is that they’re indicative of a broader theme in the solar industry today,” Feinstein said. “They’re not just providing electricity.”

GlassPoint provides thermal heat and steam for oil recovery. The system is designed to extend the life of an oil well that’s slowing production and to make oil recovery easier, requiring less natural gas.

“They’re looking at innovative ways of getting to oil,” Feinstein said. “That’s something I would think a lot of people would find counterintuitive to the mission of solar, but it’s a good use and a use that makes money.”

He said the company is young and rated it as “Wait and see,” which means it’s too immature yet for analysts to rate it a strong buy or not.

ImprintEnergy, while not a solar company, could have applications in the solar market. The energy storage technology is cutting edge and exciting, said Lux analyst Jon Melnick. ImprintEnergy specializes in developing low-cost thin-film batteries.

“There are certainly a number of other printed thin-film energy storage solutions out there,” Melnick said.

But Imprint has an edge on building low-cost energy storage solutions that are so inexpensive, flexible and lightweight that they become disposable. That’s another edge the company has over others, Menick said. Its materials are save for landfills and there’s no danger in throwing them away.

The technology will allow manufacturers to integrate energy storage into packaging materials.

Because it’s small, light and flexible, Melnick said the technology could easily be integrated with thin-film solar, which provides a wide array of commercialization opportunities.

“That’s why we put it in the top 10,” he said.