GigaOM’s top 10 green stories of 2011

Which stories dominated the green GigaOM clicks in 2011? This year was filled with smart thermostats, a dream of Apple (s aapl) getting into solar, the bankruptcy of Solyndra, the efficiency of cloud computing, Google’s green data centers (s GOOG) and Tesla’s (s TSLA) Model S.

So starting with No. 10 and running through to No. 1, here are our top 10 green GigaOM stories of the year:

10. 25 battery breakthroughs for gadgets, electric cars & the grid. Innovation for batteries is struggling when compared to the progress of innovation in IT, which is a big bummer, because batteries are the pain point for mobile devices, wireless computing, and electric cars. These are 25 researchers and startups that are trying — hard!

9. Google to switch on seawater-cooled data center this fall. Google, you so crazy. The search engine giant built a data center that’s being cooled by the sea in Finland, and I reported that it planned to switch it on in the fall of 2011. It’s not very economical, but super energy-efficient — and pretty awesome.

8. Why Cyber Monday is greener than Black Friday. This post got a lot of attention because it was a headline on Google News and it irritated a lot of people. Sometimes being hated is better than being loved.

7. Photos: Inside Tesla’s Model S Alpha workshop. While Tesla came out with its Beta Model S sedans recently, we got an exclusive sneak peek of the cars when they were in the Alpha phase, and we brought you these pics.

6. The ultimate startup lesson: Knowing what mattersMarcus Tallhamn, CEO of, won readers over with his candid look at the lessons he learned by running energy software company Hug Energy. The gist: Identify your value system, and figure out what matters to you.

5. Cloud computing could lead to billions in energy savings. GigaOM readers are craving info on the energy efficiency of the cloud. This story was just a little news post about a report, but I guess it had a good headline enough to turn it into No. 5.

4. Solyndra to file for bankruptcy, lay off 1,100. Yeah, the sad tale of Solyndra comes in at No. 4. I don’t need to explain this one to y’all, but actually, I’m happy it wasn’t No. 1. (I thought it might be before I checked.)

3. 4 reasons why cloud computing is efficient. Computing power expert Jonathan Koomey penned this piece on why cloud computing is more energy-efficient than companies running their own IT and servers.

2. How Apple could revolutionize solar. I wrote this piece because I wanted Apple to add some kind of solar power to its devices, which I think could be a major game changer for solar companies. Soon after, news leaked of Apple’s solar array at one of its data centers, but not much official on any micro solar for gadgets (except for way “out there” patents).

1.. Introducing a thermostat Steve Jobs would love: NestReaders couldn’t get enough of the Nest learning thermostat, which was created by Tony Fadell, the former chief architect at Apple, who led the development of the iPod and the first three versions of the iPhone. Can it do for the boring old thermostats what the iPhone has done for cell phones? Well, it has enough buzz that the device is sold out until well in 2012.

Image courtesy of WoodleyWonderWorks.