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Solar Hot In Venture Capital Circles

Funding for solar-related companies has more than doubled over last year, a new report says.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — U.S. venture capital firms poured $67.7 million into the solar energy sector in the first three quarters of 2005, up from $31.4 million for all of 2004, according to the Associated Press and Dow Jones.

The new figurie is more than 30 times the amount invested in solar some 10 years ago, according to the report, which cited the National Venture Capital Association (Arlington, Va.), a trade group. It also represents more than a third of the $194.6 million invested by venture-capital firms in the entire U.S. energy industry.

Just two years ago, solar-power companies struggled to turn a profit. But now, solar panels are projected to remain tight until at least 2008, according to the report.

“Demand for solar panels in Europe and Asia has blazed ahead of the United States, with Germany in the lead,” according to the report. “But California has a waiting list and orders have spiked in states such as Arizona, Vermont, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington and New Jersey.”

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