A clean technology conference hosted scores of venture capitalists and private-equity firms looking to cash in on 100 cutting-edge companies. Drawing particular interest was First Solar, which makes solar-energy cells that could soon compete with residential utility prices, MarketWatch reports. The company also signals the sector’s dangers: Its $200 stock is up from a year-old IPO price of $20—and some observers cry bubble.
Still, “this is an area where investors see big profits," said the conference host, Pacific Growth Equities. One analyst said the level of interest in smaller firms surprised him, including one company that uses a massive microwave oven to make coal cleaner by extracting moisture. Another presented solar-paneled tote bags that charge cameras and phones.