Clean Energy Challenge Winners Reap Big VC

Finalists from the Clean Energy Trust‘s 2011 Clean Energy Challenge have gone on to successfully raise a combined $9 million in venture funding, have grown their companies and are working to get their clean technologies into the market. The Clean Energy Trust recently announced the achievements of a handful of finalists from its most recent competition.

The 2011 top prize winner, Clean Urban Energy, recently closed a $7 million A-round led by Battery Ventures, a Challenge judge. The company, which uses software to tap into a buildings thermal mass and lower its electricity costs by a reported 30 percent, has also hired 10 full-time employees since its win.

Clean Energy Challenge, Chicago, Clean Energy Trust

image via Clean Energy Trust

Second place winner NextGen Solar  is currently completing development of its first functional prototype, the Clean Energy Trust said. The company is working on a new three-dimensional thin-film solar panel technology. NextGen Solar also presented at the Renewable Energy Laboratory Growth forum and was a semifinalist at the Cleantech Open.

The 2012 Clean Energy Challenge competition is now open to businesses and students from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Most applications will fall within five categories: renewable energy, low-carbon transportation, Smart Grid, energy efficiency and carbon abatement. Complete rules and criteria are available on the Clean Energy Trust website.

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Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.

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