Big Solar Project Advances, Perminova Raises $7M, Qualcomm Buys Charging Technology, & More San Diego BizTech News

11/14/11Follow @bvbigelow

A 48-percent uptick in new company formations, a funding deal, and two acquisitions made for an encouraging week in San Diego’s innovation economy. This is our roundup of tech sector news.

—The California Public Utilities Commission approved five power purchase agreements that Soitec, the photovoltaic chip maker based Bernin, France, negotiated with San Diego Gas and Electric. The five deals represent a total capacity of 155 megawatts of new solar power for San Diego, according to Soitec. As we explained in April, Soitec says its innovation, which combines concentrating Fresnel lenses and high-performance PV chips, operates twice as efficiently as conventional solar cells. Soitec plans to manufacture its solar modules in the San Diego area, creating about 450 new jobs. Building the solar facility will cost an estimated $500 million.

Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) acquired HaloIPT, a UK-based startup developing wireless charging technology for electric vehicles. Financial terms were not disclosed. The technology uses inductive power transfer to charge an electric vehicle (EV). The car parks over an electromagnet, which generates an electric field that transfers energy to the EV power system. A couple days after announcing the deal, Qualcomm said it’s planning to carry out a field trial in London that calls for establishing the wireless EV charging systems for 50 vehicles.

Cubic (NYSE: CUB), the San Diego defense contractor, conducted a series of local exercises to demonstrate new “combat ID” technology, which is intended to reduce friendly fire casualties among U.S. troops in combat. The technology integrates laser targeting with radio frequency identification tags (RFIDs) and a GPS-based system in a rifle-mounted targeting scope, according to Cubic. The RFID tag, mounted on each soldier’s helmet, transits a coded radio signal that enables users to distinguish between friend and foe combatants.

—The San Diego-based Active Network (NYSE: ACTV) paid $21.5 million to acquire RTP (also known as Resort Technology Partners), a specialized IT company in Colorado that provides online reservation and registration services for Vail and other ski resorts. The Active Network already provides Web-based registration services for sports leagues, marathons, and other recreational sports, campground reservations, community activities, and other events.

—The quarterly Connect Innovation Report counted 146 new startups in San Diego during the first half of 2011, a nearly 48 percent jump over the 99 new companies formed during the first half of 2010. The report, which provides a comprehensive snapshot of innovation activity in San Diego, also showed rising tech employment, a three-fold increase in the total value of M&A deals involving local tech companies, and a historic high for patent applications during the second quarter that ended June 30.

Connect, the San Diego nonprofit group for technology and entrepreneurship, outlined “Seven Innovation Policy Ideas to Spark an American Recovery.” The seven recommendations, which were pulled together by San Diego life sciences and high-tech leaders, were included in the Connect Innovation Report to help guide legislation in Sacramento and Washington DC.

—San Diego-based Perminova raised $7 million in a combination of equity and credit financing to accelerate development of its Web-based software for use in cardiology centers. Perminova said its cloud-based software is intended to help doctors and administrators manage their workflow.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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